Deer issue back before Craig City Council

City receiving heavy public feedback on DOW proposal

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Craig City Council member Jennifer Riley said she expects a full house tonight at Craig City Hall when the council is scheduled to make a decision on a proposed plan for removing a portion of the city’s deer population.

“Certainly there have been a lot of people writing in the paper, a lot of people contacting us on our e-mail through the city council’s website, phone calls, people stopping me — I would imagine there will be a lot of people there,” she said.

The city council is scheduled to consider the deer removal plan proposed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife at 7:30 p.m. today at Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth Street.

The DOW’s three-tiered plan entails removing a portion of the deer inside city limits by establishing an archery hunting area and season outside city limits, trapping and killing deer, and/or having a team of marksmen come in to the city to kill deer at night.

DOW officials said they would prefer to employ all three options in Craig.

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said the city has received about 51 letters and e-mails from residents opposed to the city council moving forward with the plan, and 17 letters in favor of the plan, he said.

The city also recently received two petitions— the first with 62 signatures and another with 125 signatures — from Craig residents opposing the DOW’s plan, Ferree said.

Ferree said he expects more petitions against the plan to be presented to the city.

The city was also recently contacted via letter by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which protested the use of archery hunting as a method of dealing with the deer in Craig.

The same PETA senior cruelty caseworker that wrote the city said Monday that the organization asked its Colorado members to write to the city protesting the DOW’s plan.

Ferree said the city has received about 60 to 70 e-mails from PETA members around the state, but that number is “changing every time I am opening my e-mail,” he said.

Riley said she is not in favor of a “blanket extermination” of the city’s urban deer, but rather for dealing with aggressive deer on a situational basis.

But, Riley said she was unsure where the rest of the city council stood on the issue.

She said the council will give the issue a fair amount of time at the meeting, but is unsure if council members would make a decision or table the issue.

However, Riley said she felt a majority of area residents are against the DOW’s deer removal plan. She also said it would be wise for the council to consider the feedback it has received on the matter.

“That is my job as an elected official — to consider what the constituents want,” she said. “You have to weigh what is in the best interest of the people.

“There are people out there that think you shouldn’t do anything with any kind of animal, period. Is that in the best interest of the people? Probably not. Is taking the more moderate approach in the best interest of the people? In my opinion, it is.”

Council member Ray Beck said he was not in favor of the DOW’s proposed plan, and is advocating for the consideration of other options.

“There has got to be other things we can do,” he said.

Beck said he didn’t have a sense of what direction the council would lean at the meeting.

He estimated that residents wanting the council to leave the deer alone outnumber those in favor of the DOW’s plan 2-to-1.

“No matter what we do, or don’t do, we will probably be scrutinized for that,” Beck said. “But, we are going to try and accomplish what is in the best interest of the community.”

Beck said the deer removal plan has been a more controversial subject than he has ever dealt with while serving on the council.

“No matter how you dice it, it’s going to be a tough decision,” he said.

Council member Terry Carwile said the council would likely need to have more discussion about other deer control options before “we decide we are going to bite off on any of it.”

“From a personal standpoint, I have never had an adverse encounter with any of them,” he said.

Carwile said he is not opposed to an archery hunting season, but has “heartburn” with a deer trapping program in the city and is “apprehensive” about the “idea of shooting them in the middle of the night.”

“I have never seen an issue that’s engaged public opinion like this one in all my years of living here,” he said. “… I hear about it everywhere I go.”

Comments

David Moore 4 years, 1 month ago

51 letters & e-mails against the "plan" 187 petition signatures against the "plan" 70+ e-mails from PETA members against the "plan"(or at least the cruelty of bow-hunting) 351 Daily Press Readers opposed to the "plan" =659 of those against mass trapping, slaughter and execution of the NATIVE deer.

Against,

50 people who attended the first meeting and demanded this "plan". 17 letters/e-mails in favor of the "plan". 144 for the plan on the reader poll 1 mayor and 3-4 councilpersons in favor of it(I'm guessing, we haven't heard much from them) =215 people who want to exterminate the NATIVE deer.

If it were an election and we voted on this nonsense, the DOW/City plan, not the deer, would be exterminated. The ONLY sensible plan, as suggested by another poster, is to make those that want the deer removed pay for it themselves. Hopefully city council will see that the majority has spoken and will rule against this plan and come up with something reasonable other than outright extermination. I don't think we are against control, but we are against outright mass trapping/killing and neighborhood bow-hunting. Safety first and that method is not safe for an urban area. My suggestion is for those on the council to do some Google searching and studying of what other towns have done before making a firm decision.

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als362 4 years, 1 month ago

I have done some internet searches for "deer committees" and what I saw is that most of the cities that were listed there, are eastern cities, have a MUCH greater population than Craig, and are dealing with white tailed deer.
I did not see any rural western communities listed in any of the pages I looked at. My search for "deer committees" was recommended to me by one of the city councilman. So that must be the research they have done.

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David Moore 4 years, 1 month ago

Plus als362, those eastern states have a very high prevalence of Lyme disease which is what prompts them to take action. See this map for Lyme disease prevalence in the U.S.:

Also, their urban deer populations in some areas of those eastern states are in the thousands while we are dealing with MAYBE 400-500 here. I searched things like "urban deer management" and "urban deer control". Not once did I run across a set plan such as Craig's idea to exterminate large groups of them...they consisted of well thought out management plans to control the population, which I can agree with. Control being the keyword here. Mass trapping/killing is not control, it is a knee-jerk reaction to a minority of the towns population. Craig is stepping on the rock in deep water with both feet instead of testing it with one.

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David Moore 4 years, 1 month ago

That is a pretty good read xrsareus, even though it is 16 years old. Still makes a lot of sense and I encourage every single reader, poster and person for/against the DOW/City plan to read it...just substitute the town names for "Craig, Maybell, Hayden" or whatever town name fits this region. Thanks for that, good stuff.

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xrsareus 4 years, 1 month ago

I would like to hear from the DOW if anything they proposed 16 years ago worked. They must have decided the pamphlet "Too Close For Comfort: How to Avoid Conflicts with Wildlife in the City." didn't work. Sure haven't heard anything from the DOW about it. You would have thought they would have them for Craig citizens to read if their ideas work. Maybe city council members should contact some of these town and see what worked and what didn't. Learn from cities that have had the same controversies. I think a decision tomorrow is too soon. Not enough information.

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lostyermarbles 4 years, 1 month ago

They have hunting seasons to control the populations. You cannot hunt in town, so there fore.....the population is not kept down as it is out of town. So....how do you control population in town???? You guessed it....

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als362 4 years, 1 month ago

The only sure way to control the deer population within the city limits is to control the food supply.
To do this, stiff sentences must be applied against those that either choose to feed to deer with food specifically for them, or allow the deer access to the food they leave out for other animals and birds. Also people that want to have a garden, must fence the deer out of their garden. When the food supply dwindles, so will the deer population, without killing a single animal, or spending a single cent of tax dollars.

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starjumper7 4 years, 1 month ago

The assertions that exterminating deer who become a nuisance within the city are absurd. For those of you who are complaining, man has encroached upon the habitat of the wildlife, not the other way around. If you take steps that protect your yard or garden from deer invasion then, there should be no problem. But no! You want the esthetic pleasures of looking out your window and enjoying the beauty of nature (without the deer) blighting your view. The sheer arrogance is appalling. Hunting season comes around once a year, every year, and that is the only time or reason these animals should be hunted.

Learn to co-exist or find another planet in which to reside. Yeah, the animals didn't have a choice in the matter either!

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David Moore 4 years, 1 month ago

Anyone know how the City council meeting went tonight?

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wellwell 4 years, 1 month ago

DavidMoore,

The mayor gave a short history of the deer issue and stated the actual options and that city was reacting to a safety issue. All council members did not want option 3, the killing of deer by sharpshooters in the city limits. Most of the audience was was pro deer. There was alot of anti DOW talk; they did not react to a problem for days or never, they wanted all options used, one person noted that the deer were not the property of DOW, they only manage, they have no power in the city.

A committee of 2 pro deer people, 2 anti deer people and 2 council people to come up with a solution for the council.

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ccjcc 4 years, 1 month ago

They wanted no imput from the audiance tonight. I did not go to the last public forum and am not sure how many there have been prior to tonight but was disappointed that the people were silenced.

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David Moore 4 years, 1 month ago

wellwell, Thank you for that update. Interesting they would claim a "safety issue" as the reason for the slaughter idea, one would think if a human were killed or injured by one, it would then be a safety issue. I was not aware that canine assault or botany battery were safety issues. To bad they silenced the audience, might have been due to the passion surrounding this issue. Hopefully a workable solution will be suggested that will satisfy all residents.

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