To the Editor:
Concerning "Petition proposes deer hunt in city": This is a terrifying thought for obvious reasons, but mostly I am appalled at the lack of compassion for these animals. I can truly sympathize, as deer eat my shrubbery as well. These animals are not eating junipers and twigs the size of my thumb because they taste good.
These creatures are starving.
Look around, everything they normally eat is covered with snow, and now that snow is crusted and difficult to paw through. Deer need food, both for their own needs, as well as for unborn fawns. They also need shelter from the weather and from predators. Humans make all these things difficult to find when they arrive on the scene and wildlife adapt as best they can. Landscaping provides wildlife with plants above the snow, as well as protection from the wind.
Sorry, but Craig is country. It's a short drive to the edge of town and the city still has many open areas within the city limits that provide some measure of wildlife habitat. The outlying areas are building up rapidly as the town grows and people build pretty houses outside of town to catch the pretty views. If you were to consider subdivisions with names like "Wildlife Estates" they also want to live with wildlife. Subdivisions on the outskirts of town and developments, like the Walmart and new movie complex, destroy habitat and move animals out of their native range by their sheer presence.
If wildlife belong in the country, take a drive out County Road 7 and look at the dead deer on the side of the road, animals left to die hanging in fences because of improper maintenance and the amount of new fencing that is often woven wire -- a death trap for fawns -- or built so high the sole purpose can only be to exclude wildlife. The face of agriculture is not wildlife-friendly in these areas. Add to this all the new energy development and you will see habitat fragmented and destroyed.
The arguments about safety are total nonsense. Anyone who drives in northwest Colorado will tell you there are far more animals hit on the highways and county roads than in town. Anyone who lives here can tell you where to find deer after dark, it's simply a matter of being aware. Younger drivers are a far greater hazard than deer and they should learn to obey speed limits in town, hang up their cell phones and pay attention. Deer are a potential hazard like pets, kids on bikes or pedestrians -- pay attention.
Safety of children in parks at night? Deer are not predators. If you are worried about deer, you have no idea what goes on in parks at night.
Judging from the traffic stopped at the new Walmart site this week to watch the elk, some of us enjoy living with wildlife and donËt want them shot in our front yards. This is one of the reasons we live here. If you want to hear gunshots all night, move to East L.A.
We plow up the native vegetation to make pastures and parking lots, snare their young in fences, run over them on the highway, and still expect to shoot them every fall, but we begrudge them some bushes or a mouthful of tulips. I'm embarrassed for you.
Editor's note: This letter was edited for length.