DEER, WILDLIFE GOVERNANCE, AND PARKS AND RECREATION
I am an animal-lover and enjoy the abundant wildlife the city has, including our deer population. I also understand the need for keeping the deer population in check, as the overcrowding of deer can cause numerous problems, including:
Declining Deer Herd Health
All deer are property of the state of Texas and any deer-control measures have to be approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The current TTP (Trap Transport Process) plan in place has been suspended for one year. I have received input from people in support of both sides of the argument when it comes to deer population and trapping. I am for humane treatment of all animals and understand how difficult it is to see an animal in pain. I have personally experienced such a scenario when one of the fawns got stuck in a fence at my home. The baying was heart-wrenching to say the least. Luckily in my case, we were able to get the fawn out of the predicament and he joined the herd without any other problems.
There are a number of measures that have been allowed by the TPWD and the city has tried a number of such measures in the past, including hunting, sharpshooting trapping and translocating, euthanizing, fencing, fertility control, and predatory reintroduction.
Unfortunately, as per my research to date, most of the above are either impractical or cost-prohibitive to be used. Uncontrolled growth of deer population in urban areas can result in significant risks to the community. Apart from the risk of serious vehicular accidents, overcrowding can result in malnourished and diseased deer that can be of great risk to the city residents. I also remember the plight of the deer herds during our drought years when they had scarcity of not just food, but even water. In my personal opinion, controlling the deer population is a necessity to preserve our lifestyle and reduce enhanced risks to the residents. I also understand that much progress has been made in some of the measures listed above since our TTP plan was put in place.
I intend to consult with the experts in the area to find the most humane means of controlling the deer population in the city. I am willing to weigh the balance of increased costs if that is the case and consult with the community prior to coming to a decision that I can support. I will ask the right questions to become more informed and if I conclude that this is a subject that needs a public referendum, then I would support that such a question should be put to the residents of Lakeway.
Lakeway residents enjoy our green spaces, hiking and biking trails, parks, and water activities. It is one of the notable characteristics of our city and as per a recent survey by the Parks and Recreation department, it is of high importance to the residents. I will support the preservation, maintenance, upgrade and expansion of our green spaces. I will do so with due consideration to any fire risks associated with having extensive vegetation, though, as we all recall the experience a few years back in Bastrop and Steiner Ranch area. I plan to support a study conducted by our Parks and Recreation department with informed citizens in the community and fire control experts to ensure that we keep our green spaces and take measures to keep us safe from catastrophic events like wildfires.
Do you have thoughts on this issue? I'd love to hear them. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org