Lakeway deer management plan drawing debate

(Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

LAKEWAY (KXAN) — The city of Lakeway may have a deer problem on its hands. The city is trapping and killing deer to prevent overpopulation, but some neighbors disagree with the way officials are going about it.

Lakeway has had a deer management plan in place since 1999 — created, licensed and monitored by Texas Parks and Wildlife. The plan started with 35 trap sites around the city and has since dropped to roughly 10 trap sites. During the fall and winter months every year, officials trap anywhere from 100 to 200 deer using remote nets.

“We have new people moving into Lakeway and they are starting to question some of the deer management practices,” said Jessica Alderson a Texas Parks and Wildlife urban biologist. “Deer populations can get out of control if a deer management program is not in place.”

Lakeway city officials say when overcrowded, deer can become malnourished and diseased and too many in one area can become a public safety concern causing more car crashes on the roadways.

“Even the minor accidents are significant because people have $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 worth of damages each time that a deer is hit, so we have significantly reduced our deer collisions,” said Charles Edwards, Chairman of the Lakeway Deer Committee.

The city does not officially count the deer population in Lakeway. Edwards said they stopped conducting those ten years ago because it was taking volunteers days to try and get an accurate count.

“A deer count in an urban environment is really of no validity and we’ve gotten this from 4 different sources. This started back in 2005 when they told us it was our call as to how many we actually wanted to trap,” Edwards said.

Rita and Dave Cross have lived in Lakeway for 5 years and say they used to have deer come through their yard daily, but they haven’t seen a deer in a year. Now they’re questioning whether a thinning of the herd is even necessary.

“I just don’t want the deer eliminated,” Dave Cross said. “They are part of why a lot of people move to Lakeway because we don’t want to live in a Dallas or Houston sterile neighborhood. This is the hill country.”

The couple is among several residents who say the deer management plan in Lakeway is outdated and needs to be re-evaluated. Some argue doing something because it’s always been done, isn’t a good enough reason to keep doing it.

Officials are hosting a deer management plan meeting at Lakeway City Hall on Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m.

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