TAMIU's Deer: Still at Home on the Range
Driving on Texas A&M International University's campus on a misty
Fall morning, an old cowboy song might get stuck in one's head: Home,
home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play. . . While TAMIU
doesn't have any antelope, autumn often brings a group of deer browsing
under the oak trees leading towards the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.
In fact, the deer were memorialized in the TAMIU Alma Mater, written
by Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU president: ". . . dove and deer lodge safely
by. . ." They were also the subject of this year's TAMIU Holiday
Card, which captured a group in the late afternoon sun. (photos)
Of course, deer are not the only wildlife on the 300-acre campus. In
addition, TAMIU is home to coyotes, javelinas, rabbits, raccoons, possums
and even the occasional bat...all rather surprising residents for a growing
University campus serving one of the State's fastest growing cities.
Dr. Thomas Vaughan, associate professor of biology, estimates there
are between 30 and 40 deer on the campus.
"What you see out in front of the Killam Library is a family group,
with three or four generations represented. All you see are the does and
their young. At night you might see a buck or two. I've seen as many as
three bucks in one night. They stay away from people," he explained.
He said despite appearances, the deer are not actually interested in
"People see the deer and assume they're eating grass. They're not;
they are browsers, not grazers. There are a whole lot of other things
growing in the lawn. By irrigating, we're perpetually renewing the vegetation,
making the deers' life easier. They're eating what I'd call weeds: annuals
and perennials, flowering plants. You don't see that as you drive by,"
While the deer and even the javelinas appear docile, Dr. Vaughan cautioned
that these are wild animals, and should be treated with respect.
"People need to realize that even though they appear to be tame
they're not. Deer aren't going to bother people unless they get between
a doe and fawn. They'd rather go the other way. There's a danger in sneaking
up on a group of javelinas, because they will all run in different directions.
You might get run over by one, as their eyesight is poor. They too would
rather run, but again, getting between a female and a baby can be very
dangerous," Vaughan cautioned.
While the University has no plans to control the deer population, relying
on the natural course of things to do so, Richard Gentry, Physical Plant
director, explained their presence has definitely shaped the face of the
"The plants in the Lamar Bruni Vergara Memorial garden are 99 percent
plants that deer won't eat. We adjust the landscaping to the deer, try
to make it deer proof. If we didn't do that, then the deer would eat it
and there would be no landscaping. We don't really bother the deer,"
So be sure to watch out for the animals while driving on campus and
keep a close eye on the deer before they bound off into the monte. They
are as much at home on the range at TAMIU as the buildings and the students
walking to classes.
For more information about the wildlife on campus, please contact Dr.
Thomas Vaughan at 326.2592, visit offices in Dr. F.M. Canseco Hall, room
315F or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The University will be closed from Friday, December 24 through Sunday,
January 2. Offices will reopen for Spring 2005 at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan.
3. Registration is on-going through Monday, January 10 and late registration,
with fees applied, will continue through Friday, January 14. Registration
is available 24-hours a day online at https://lasso.tamiu.edu/ahomepg.htm
Classes for the Spring 2005 semester begin Monday, Jan. 10. Registration
information is available by calling the Office of the Registrar at 326.2250.
Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests
and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information
Services at email@example.com