Lakeway deer management in spotlight again after video surfaces

Ashlea Beck says a few weeks ago a giant deer net showed up near her Lakeway home.

And last Thursday her two daughters saw something they weren’t meant to see. “I was inside and my oldest daughter ran inside and said ‘mommy mommy they’re hurting the deer,’” Beck said.

Her cell phone camera was rolling.

“My youngest daughter who is 8, she’s very sensitive to that kind of stuff so neither of them wanted to sleep in their own beds they’ve been sleeping with me since,” Beck said.

Lakeway City Manager Steve Jones told FOX 7 by phone they hire a contractor to trap whitetail deer and take them to a processor near San Antonio. The meat is given to charity.  

“One thing I did say to the City Manager when I talked to him, I said ‘the least you could have done was knock on my door and say hey we’re moving a trap here, do you have any young kids?’” Beck said.

The Lakeway City Manager says last fiscal year there were about 90 deer vs. car collisions in Lakeway so deer management is a way of keeping the population down.  

Texas Parks and Wildlife confirmed to FOX 7 that Lakeway’s procedure is above-board.

But there is a growing number of Lakeway residents who want to find another way. Rita Cross is with a group called Citizen Advocates for Animals. She believes the deer suffer under the plan.

“Well they’re being traumatized and inhumanely treated and then the sad thing along with that is that they will lie on that trailer maybe 7, 8 or even 9 hours,” Cross said.

Cross has really been getting the word out about Lakeway deer. Using grant money the group has put up a big billboard that says “inhumanely trapped and killed.”

“We felt that was our right to do that, we’ve not had any complaints from the city. They know that it’s our first amendment right,” Cross said.

Cross says she is hoping the city will consider conducting a deer census.

She says she sent letters to Council members in December.

“Can we just end the trapping for next year and then we’ll put a committee together and then we will do some research of what other cities are doing in this they handle their...with humane treatment...and not one of them answered me,” Cross said.

“I feel like my kids are now going to have that image in their minds, those sounds and you know the imageries and things are going to be in their head for a long time,” Beck said.

The City of Lakeway says they could trap the deer and relocate them but they say there really is no where to take them. Texas Parks and Wildlife told us there are about 4 million whitetail deer in the state, that may have been an option in the past but not anymore.