A dead deer found Tuesday near Honey Rock Dogs Boarding Kennel prompted concerns from some residents that a mountain lion may be living in the area near the kennel.
But, Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said a mountain lion may not have been the culprit in the deer’s death. However, he added that there’s a good possibility some are around town.
The deer was found Tuesday morning by the kennel’s owners, Ed and Shannan Koucherik, and was picked up by DOW personnel near the intersection of 12th and Rose streets.
Hampton didn’t rule out the possibility a mountain lion was involved, but said there were no tracks or other signs that a lion killed the animal.
“We could tell if there were some tracks and things like that,” Hampton said.
The deer was the second found dead in northern Craig in three weeks, but Hampton said the other incident appeared to involve dogs.
Despite that, a lion still could be in the area, Hampton said.
In the winter, the animals become more prevalent in lower elevation river valley areas as they follow herds of deer and elk.
“Because communities are located in these same areas, mountain lion sightings and reports do increase this time of year,” Hampton said.
If a mountain lion is spotted around town, residents are encouraged to call the DOW office in Meeker at 878-6062, or the Colorado State Patrol.
“There are mountain lions around the Craig area, undoubtedly,” Hampton said. “If one behaves aggressively, if one makes a habit of being in town, we’ll respond.”
The DOW didn’t have any figures on how many mountain lions could be in the area, citing the reclusive demeanor of the animals, and that their home territory is vast.
“It’s impossible to guess with any kind of accuracy how many lions are in a particular area,” Hampton said.
Hampton said mountain lions are generally nocturnal and usually out between dusk and dawn.
“If you’re out during those hours, be alert,” Hampton said.