Lakeway suspends controversial deer control program for a year

Travis County
Video of Lakeway deer trapping goes viral in March 2018

LAKEWAY, Texas (KXAN) — Lakeway City Council voted unanimously Monday to temporarily suspend the city’s deer management program for a year, starting immediately.

Lakeway’s Wildlife Advisory Committee recommended the suspension of the “Trap, Transport and Process” program at its Aug. 9 meeting.

City Council Member Dwight Haley, who serves as the council liaison for the wildlife committee, said at the meeting, “I’m very dedicated to what I consider to be one of the most difficult situations that confronts Lakeway right now.”

Haley said the city is going to get a “good” game biologist and communicate with the city “what they’re up against,” saying, “it’s that simple.”

A video of deer trapped in nets went viral in March, bringing additional scrutiny to the program.

“You could hear the screaming of the deer, and, I mean, it was very evident that they were hurt by the sounds that they were making,” said Ashlea Beck, who took the video near her backyard.

“When I talked to the city manager, she said, “I asked him how many of them are relocated, and he said, ‘None, they’re all sent to be processed.’ And so that was when I just felt sick, because I did not realize that until that moment.”

In the past, Lakeway has used a special permit from the state to keep the herd below 500.

A program to trap and relocate the deer to Mexico was approved in 1999 after the herd was seen as growing too large, becoming a traffic hazard and nuisance. Two years later, Lakeway got approval to trap and kill deer in the city as a means of last resort. It started doing so in 2003.

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