LAKEWAY, Texas – The City of Lakeway has a guideline to trap and process deer in order to keep the population under control, but members of a local group claim to have video showing the process is traumatic to the animals.
Rita Cross with Citizen Advocates for Lakeway Deer (CALD) said she believes the process of trapping the deer and cutting off its animals is traumatic.
"It's very upsetting to me, it was hard for all of us to watch, when we first looked at it in our group. One lady refused to look at it. It was so upsetting. One lady cried,” Cross said of the video.
Cross and other CALD members put together a petition, which calls for two demands:
- Find a way to control the deer population in a humane way that doesn't trap and kill the deer,
- Push for a deer census to calculate the population of deer in this community.
Cross said if there are still too many deer in the Lakeway community, there are other non-lethal methods such as sterilization.
"There are people who care enough about these deer, they will bend over backwards, to get this census done and get the sterilization done,” she said.
KVUE reached out to the City of Lakeview. Officials said overcrowded deer can become starved and carry many diseases.
The city sent the following statement:
“The City of Lakeway cannot comment on a video that we have not seen. However, Lakeway must follow Texas Parks and Wildlife Department guidelines to maintain our deer population.
“While the city considers trapping and relocating to be a viable option when available, it currently traps and processes deer as the most practical and effective method of deer population control that most closely approximates nature.
“Our permit with TPWD requires that for human and deer safety, antlers must be removed from all male deer that are transported from the trap site to the processing facility.
“According to the state, white-tail bucks produce and shed antlers annually. There are no nerve endings in the antlers. Cutting the antlers is like cutting human hair.
“The city’s deer management program has been successful in achieving manageable deer populations for more than 15 years. In addition, it is considered by Texas Parks and Wildlife, and independent wildlife biologists, as one of the most successful urban deer management programs in the state of Texas.
“For more information on our program, we encourage the public to visit www.lakeway-tx.gov/deer.”
Some Lakeway residents told KVUE off camera that they agree with the city’s methods. Others said they actually enjoy spotting the deer in their community.
“Magically enough, I’ve seen as many as 25 or 26 on the golf course when walking nine holes, it’s a wonderful experience,” said Andrew Villacon.
Members of CALD were seen holding up signs Tuesday evening, saying “Let Bambi Live,” and “Keep Bambi Alive.” They have gathered more than 1,100 signatures to push for a non-lethal way to control the deer population and a deer census.
They plan to speak at the Lakeway City Council meeting about the video and present their petition at city hall.