Group petitioning Lakeway to change 'inhumane' methods of managing deer population

They're called Citizen Advocates for Lakeway Deer. Rita Cross is hoping city council and the people of Lakeway will listen.

"Today we want to shed light on what our city has been doing to the deer for over a decade with a behind the scenes look at bait, trap and kill," Cross said.

Shot anonymously, the video appears to show a group of men netting a deer and sawing off its antlers.  Cross says the video was shot in Lakeway.

"It's very upsetting to me.  It was hard for all of us to watch when we first looked at it," she said.

The City of Lakeway says the area was overpopulated with deer in the early 90s so they've been managing the population this way for the past 15 years. Even though they sometimes will trap and relocate, the city says trapping the deer and sending them to be processed is the most practical and effective method.

The city hasn't seen the video so they can't comment on that but they sent a statement that says in part:

"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."

But someone in the video says it's not a harmless practice.

"Any animal that gets a net dropped on them, any animal that gets its horns cut off, any animal that gets picked up and put in a trailer upside down that's traumatized you know?" said someone in the video.

The city has said 500 is an acceptable number of deer. Rita Cross thinks the actual number of deer in town is way below that anyway.

"I'm assuming that they're just killing without any knowledge of how many numbers of deer we have just for the sake of continuing the procedure as they've always done in the past," Cross said.

"I know I've seen this going on for 10 years and Lakeway is still covered with deer," said someone in the video.

With their petition the group is hoping the city will agree to a scientific census of the deer and if they really are overpopulated.

The group's Sandy Futterman wants the city to use more humane methods like sterilization.

"We think that we can do better.  And that's really the bottom line, we can do better," Futterman said.

The City of Lakeway has said sterilization is cost-prohibitive.  But the group is saying local vets have agreed to help pro-Bono. 

Here is Lakeway's full 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.

 

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