Craig City Council pauses on deer issue


Where to call

Where to call about aggressive, sick or injured deer:

• The Colorado Division of Wildlife encourages Craig residents who encounter sick, injured or aggressive deer to call the Colorado State Patrol dispatch center at 824-6501. An on-call DOW officer will be dispatched to respond as soon as possible.

Craig City Council member Terry Carwile thinks this is a “wait and see” time for the council concerning the city’s deer population.

After receiving a letter written by the Colorado Division of Wildlife in response to Craig Mayor Don Jones, Carwile thinks it would be wise for the council to pause its activities concerning management of the city’s deer population to see if the organization would follow through with the message of the letter.

The response letter, sent to Jones in early December, stated the DOW “remains willing” to respond to the sick, injured and aggressive deer in the city.

“Our officers are trained to take quick, effective action to protect public health and safety,” DOW Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde wrote in the letter. “This has been part of our wildlife officers’ core responsibilities for many years and will continue to be in the future.”

Carwile said the city council needs to “encourage the public, really those who are having a problem, to step forward, call and let’s just see how the division performs.”

Jones agreed with Carwile, adding there would likely not be a hunting season or mass trapping, relocating or killing of the deer.

He hopes a newly passed ordinance prohibiting the feeding of deer and other big game in city limits and increased awareness of the DOW’s ability to deal with aggressive deer on a case-by-case basis will help curb issues.

“That’s the best way to do it,” he said. “They’re the keepers of the wild animals.”

Jones acknowledged some criticism has been placed on the DOW for response times. He remains unsure if continuing to work with the DOW will help reduce that response time.

“Until we start getting calls … who knows?” he said.

Jones said he was pleased, however, that the DOW offered to host educational meetings and other outreach strategies to understand deer conflicts and hopefully prevent them.

“Anytime we can get education, (that’s) perfect,” he said. “I know that the division has volunteered to help us do that. They have done that through some brochures they have already given us.”

However, Jones was unsure if free educational classes, like those previously hosted, would attract residents.

“Four years ago when we did this, we gave four or five classes on what to plant, what not to plant, what kind of sprays are out there, and I think the most they had in one class was 10 people,” he said.

When asked if residents might be more prompted to attend such educational meetings considering the recent public debate about the deer, the mayor remained skeptical.

“No — that is just my gut feeling,” he said.

But, Jones said “it is worth another try.”

The council, Jones said, was hoping the DOW would agree to transplant a large number of deer from the city to another location. However, the DOW stated it would not be “humane or cost-effective.”

“We (were) hoping they would back down from their statement and they didn’t,” Jones said. “(They said), ‘We will not transplant any animals. We will kill them.’”

Jones was hoping the amount of public outcry about the issue would sway the DOW on relocating the animals.

“(Relocation) is not in their policy and we were hoping that would change with the letters, because I know they got as many letters as we did and they read the paper and stuff and they didn’t budge off their policy,” he said. “So, they are the biologists, they are the people that have the know-how, not city council. So, we’ve got to look to them to know what we are talking about.

“If you agree or disagree, they are still the experts.”

Jones said he doesn’t foresee any more action from the council about the matter, other than maybe the educational sessions.

“If people start calling saying, ‘Look, I called the DOW and it took them two days to get here and when they got here they didn’t do anything,’ then we need to go back and (ask) what happened or why?” he said. “I guess we need to test their policy.”


Lawspecialist 6 years, 3 months ago

Ok, ok, I got it. I don't really care if there are deer around or not, but the situation has revived a memory. Some time ago (years) there was a raccoon in my yard. My dogs were making a huge fuss and when I identified the animal I called the police department who in turn called animal control. A dow officer showed up some hours later. I showed him where the animal was and in front of myself and my two small children, he went back to his company vehicle, grabbed a baseball bat, walked over to the raccoon, bashed it in the head, picked it up, blood dripping and all, and put it in the back of his truck and left. How's that for a "test of their policy". Geeze


Frank Estey 6 years, 3 months ago

Geeze, wonder if a person can kill a deer with a baseball bat, in/out of season, in their own back yard. We might be able to show a little Initiative with our own do it yourself DOW solution... take a deer by the horns and bash em to death with a bat.


Colette Erickson 6 years, 3 months ago

Don Jones and City Council: What part of "cruel and inhumane" don't you understand? Did you hear the DOW when they told you that relocation, for a variety of reason, would result in the death of most of the relocated animals? Realistically speaking, a sharp-shooter, resulting in a quick, clean death, is the most humane option. However, folks would have to see it, that's for sure. Probably not real PC. Your relocation theory is merely "out of sight, out of mind" and a real "cop out." If you don't believe the DOW, do some research - there are plenty of stats out there on the results of relocation of various wildlife, not least of all the mortality rates associated with the incredible stress capture places on a prey animal such as a deer. Really, it would be so lovely if you could get educated prior to expressing an opinion.


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