Craig City Council introduces deer feeding ordinance

Council member Riley doubtful measure would solve deer issue

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The Craig City Council introduced an ordinance at its Tuesday meeting it hopes will help reduce the number of deer living in the city.

The ordinance, which was drafted at the suggestion of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, would increase the penalties for feeding deer or other big game in the city. If passed, the ordinance would amend the care and treatment of animals section of the Craig municipal code.

“Except as otherwise permitted by law, it shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally place, deposit, distribute or scatter grain, hay, minerals or salt or other foods for the consumption by big game not lawfully held in captive,” the ordinance reads.

The ordinance goes on to define big game animals as members of the deer, elk, moose or antelope families.

“Crops and crop aftermath, including hay, alfalfa and grains produced, harvested, stored or fed to domestic livestock in accordance with normal agricultural practices shall not be subject to this ordinance,” the ordinance reads.

Police chief Walt Vanatta said there currently exists a DOW regulation against placing or scattering food for wildlife. Violating the regulation, Vanatta said, is a $68 fine.

“It is more intended towards outfitters to keep them from putting (things) like salt blocks in the middle of their pastures to attract the deer there so their hunters can shoot the deer,” he said. “It really isn’t designed from the perspective of, ‘Just quit feeding the deer because you like the deer and you think they’re hungry.’”

City Attorney Kenny Wohl said if the ordinance passed as it is currently written, the fine for feeding deer would be up to $300 and/or a maximum of 90 days in jail.

However, Wohl said the city council could rework the fine amount or number of days in jail before the ordinance passes.

Vanatta said one hitch with the DOW regulation is that enforcement of it requires a peace officer.

“So, from our point of view, if we are going to have one, we would rather have it as a city ordinance, that way our community resource officers can deal with the issue, for the most part,” he said.

Vanatta said if the ordinance passes, officers would have to investigate allegations of deer feeding like other police cases to “definitively prove” the violation.

“We have to prove they are purposefully feeding big game,” he said. “I think if a guy has a bird feeder hanging in the yard and the deer jump up and eat it, then so be it, the deer is a lucky deer.”

When asked if she thought the ordinance would help with the number of deer, council member Jennifer Riley said “it’s not going to hurt anything.”

“I think the food that the deer eat in town is not just what is put out by some people,” she said. “I made the point last night (that) they are eating crab apple trees and eating flowers. We live in a nice, lush community.

“Is it going to solve the problem? No. Is it going to hurt the problem? No. Is it going to help? Maybe.”

However, Riley said, there is a “fine line” between passing an ordinance that might mitigate the problem and “infringing on private property rights.”

“We could tell people, ‘Hey, if you don’t want deer in your yard these are the plants you can plant that will discourage the deer from eating them if you want,’” she said. “But beyond that, that’s totally up to people.”

Riley said people have a right to do what they want on their property, whether that is hanging a bird feeder or planting flowers.

“That is not considered feeding the deer,” she said. “What we want people to stop doing is putting out the deer blocks and the deer feed.”

The council member also questioned if the city council needed to pass an ordinance “every time there is some perceived problem.”

“But, in the spirit of being supportive of Division of Wildlife, I feel like it is something we should do,” she said.

Council member Terry Carwile agreed.

“It may seem gratuitous to some folks,” he said. “But, in the interest of partnership with the Division of Wildlife and demonstrating to the community that we are willing to do something, I think it is a value. But, in terms of how much value (it will have), that remains to be seen.”

Carwile said he is approaching the ordinance with a “wait and see attitude.”

“It remains to be seen how enforceable it will be, and so forth,” he said. “… In terms of doing something that is within the terms of city government’s purview, this is something that we can try.

“I think we are venturing into uncharted territory with this sort of an effort.”

Comments

justthefacts 3 years, 10 months ago

Fact: Once again the government interfering with private property rights.

Fact: A government out of control, big brother and sister (Jenny), watching over you!!!

Fact: City Elections are in April, will you vote for those eroding your rights???

Comment: You can control your local government!!!!

Just The here's to who is watching you Facts

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justthefacts 3 years, 10 months ago

Story: ( The names have been changed to protect the innocent) dum ta dum, dum ta dum ta dum. My name's Spinard my partner Comealong. We were working the day shift at the Craig PD when a call came in about a lady feeding deer on Green Street. We left imediately. When we arrived on Green Street we noticed deer at a red brick house. We contacted the woman at the address. I'm Spinard this is Comealong ,what is your name ma'am? (G) Grandma, (S) Someone reported deer being fed at this address, do you know anything about it? (G) Nope I have't seen anybody doing that. (S) What's this stuff on the gound? (G) looks like natural ice melter with corn and carrots, friendly on the enviorment you know, can't be too carefull these days, the Governor and all. ( S) Looks like deer food to me. (G) What deer? (S) The deer right there Grandma. (G) I don't see any deer. (S) The furry things Ma'am. (G) Those are my neighbors, can't a poor old lady comfort her neighbors? ( S) Where did you get the ice melter? (G) M i K (S) Don't use abrevations! who did you get it from? (G) M l K. (S) That's it Lady, you are going down town to face a $300.00 fine and 90 days in jail!! City of Craig Ordinance you know!!!.

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als362 3 years, 10 months ago

I believe an ordinance such as this is an important first step to lowering the number of deer in town. When the food supply dwindles, the deer population will aslo dwindle. I would however make the fines higher. For the first offense the fine should be $500.00, for the second $1000.00, and for the third, a week in jail.

I don't understand how some people can constantly make hateful and demeaning statements on this web site and nothing is ever done to them. Many times these people claim they are posting the facts, but many times they are just opinions. Opinions are fine but the hateful and demeaning statements are not necessary. Others that are simply defending their point of view have their posts removed and are sent threatening emails from the Craig Daily Press.
Perhaps there is someone that can explain this to me.

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David Moore 3 years, 10 months ago

While humorous, sort of, I think you're way off the mark justthe"facts". I have seen people, two that I recall(in different parts of town), blatantly pouring feed of some sort into 5 gallon buckets placed under a tree, or next to a house, or some other part of their property. The deer stand by until the first pellet hits the bucket and then they mob to the feed like they have never been fed before. Not one or two deer but 5 or 10, why wouldn't they..."FREE FOOD, NO EFFORT". Those doing it ARE the problem and need to be punished, not the deer for doing what comes instinctively and naturally. Start with the $300 for the first offense, you go on a list and are monitored more closely. Then increase it to $1000 and 24 hours community service(cleaning up deer droppings, hauling dead ones off the roads, etc...) for the second offense , $1500 and 14 days jail time for the third offense. The habitual "you can't tell me what to do "ones can just get jail time, start with 90 days, double it for each offense to follow. As an inmate, make them help those with damage caused by deer, cleaning up after them and other "deer maintenance" duties. Sort of a three strikes rule, hopefully after paying the initial $300 fine, those doing it would stop feeding the deer and not even proceed to strike two. Until you hit those outwardly and blatantly doing this with their livelihood and their bank accounts, they won't listen or heed the ordinance, you have to make it stiff enough that nobody will want to risk it. In other words, give it some serious teeth. Then, enforce it. Case closed on the feeding issue.

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justthefacts 3 years, 10 months ago

Fact: Als 362 lives in the County, Close to the City, but no cigar!

Fact: The City posters have a stake in this, Als does not!@!!

Can we hunt in Als yard? Al's 1 and Al's too would make great blinds!!! Ahhhh archery hunting at it's finest.

Just The locaton Facts about town

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calvinhobbs 3 years, 10 months ago

FROM http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/HelpDeer.htm

It is illegal in Colorado to intentionally place or distribute feed, salt blocks or other attractants for big-game animals. This problem is mainly associated with deer.

In the winter, deer herds tend to move to lower elevations closer to homes and businesses. Some people may feel the deer do not have adequate food sources in the wintertime and believe that supplementing their diets with grain, corn or hay is helpful. In fact, the contrary is true.

Feeding deer is illegal, and cause harm to the deer. These deer are being feed by the DOW due to an especially severe winter.“People who feed deer do more harm than good,” said Trina Lynch, a district wildlife manager with the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

According to Lynch, there are several reasons why a Colorado law passed in 1992 makes it illegal to feed big game animals. One important reason is that deer are the primary prey of mountain lions. “Concentrating deer by feeding can attract mountain lions well within the city limits. It may become necessary to kill these lions for public safety,” she said.

The normal feeding behavior of big game animals allows them to spread out as they graze or browse. Artificial feeding disrupts that behavior and prompts deer to crowd together in small areas where they are more likely to be chased by dogs and hit by cars.

Deer have a complex digestive system that is not adapted to digest bread and many types of hay. “Habituation to artificial feeds that do not meet their nutritional needs often results in deer that are in poor condition,” explains Bob Davies, a wildlife biologist in Colorado Springs. (Concentrating deer by putting food out can also increase stress on the deer and hasten the spread of disease.)

People who attract deer to their neighborhood also run the risk of damaging their property and their neighbor’s property. “Some people are under the impression that if they supply a food source to the deer it will prevent the deer from damaging their ornamental plants. On the contrary,” said Lynch; “it usually results in greater damage to your plants.” Lynch recommends barriers, repellents and landscaping with native plants as more effective alternatives to prevent deer from causing damage to lawn and garden projects.

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als362 3 years, 10 months ago

Once again we see that justthefacts has posted yet just another opinion. Everyone that lives anywhere near Craig has a stake in this issue. Everyone pays many forms of city taxes and no one wants these dollars wasted on futile efforts. Justthefact has very few facts in my opinion, and yes my opinion does count.

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taxslave 3 years, 10 months ago

A stroll down memory lane......Hey Mathers, yes the ones who own the bar. Did we not feed the deer years back when they were starving. Do you remember when we actually cared about anything? You threw the greatest weekend party, it cost a bail of hay to enter. They were loaded on flatbeds there in the parking lot and the guys got up in the am and fed the deer and elk. They were starving to death.

People Magazine came to town and covered the story nation wide. The Village Inn sign announced their arrival to the town. We were heros..

Too bad no one gives a rats a$$ about anything but themselves, their front yards (just dirt in disguise folks), their power over others, etc.

Mark my words here and now.....all of us will soon come to regret what we've become as a people.

America is mystery babylon, a small little fact your church forgot to tell you. Go read what happens to her. You are witnessing it live, in slow motion....that is, if you're awake and paying attention.

Pay close attention to the opening of the markets overseas this uncoming sunday night. QE2 printing starts today. A trillion bucks of "hot money". Hope all of you took my advice 2 yrs. back and got your 401's out of there.

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unbelievable6060 3 years, 10 months ago

als362 I completely agree with you about "just the facts" - those aren't facts they are just opinions. It just makes me sick when I read some of these posts. I agree with you about the Craig Daily Press taking stance with some of the things that are allowed to be posted. I feel they are direct attacks on others. I just finished reading the comments under Julie Dempsters Letter to the Editor and I can't believe how she came under attack for stating her opinion. Come on people! How awful!! DavidMoore I feel your posting is right on the mark.

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