The Craig City Council examined Tuesday a letter Craig Mayor Don Jones drafted for the Colorado Division of Wildlife regarding recent discussions about managing the city’s deer population.
The letter is an update, of sorts, as to what options originally presented by the DOW are still being considered by the city council, have been eliminated or need to be further examined in order for the council to rule on them.
The letter is also a result of last week’s Craig deer committee meeting, which fostered several concerns and ideas about the DOW’s recommended plans for removing a portion of the city’s deer.
Jones addressed the letter to DOW Regional Manager Ron Velarde and said he sent the letter Wednesday after a few minor revisions were made.
“Public sentiment suggests that the majority of the citizens do not perceive a deer population problem,” Jones writes in the letter. “However, a strong contingent of deer population control advocates exists. So much so, that a strategy to cull the herd of sick and aggressive deer is needed.”
However, Jones outlines in his letter that the council no longer considers the mass trapping and killing of deer to be an option. The letter states, however, the city would consider a trapping and relocation of the deer, if possible.
“Although your Nov. 9 letter addressed the DOW’s hesitation to relocate aggressive deer, can the DOW provide a more in-depth explanation to satisfy the inquiries of the public?” Jones writes in the letter to Velarde. “More specifically, compare and contrast the relocation of deer with the DOW’s relocation efforts with moose and other animals such as aggressive bears.”
In the letter, Jones writes dealing with sick and aggressive deer on a case-by-case basis is the “last existing option” for the council to consider.
Jones also requested more information from the DOW about dealing with the deer individually.
“Is the DOW willing to delegate an individual to respond to calls from citizens regarding sick and aggressive deer?” Jones writes in the letter. “If yes, what is the anticipated response time? Will it be same day, or due to limited resources, prevent a relatively immediate response (such as) within 24 hours?”
Jones writes that once the DOW provides information on dealing with deer on an individual basis, the city council would be able to move forward with “its design of a strategy acceptable to the majority of this community.”
The letter also includes the mayor’s thoughts on the options not being considered by the council any longer and those the council would like more information on.
The city council “does not approve, and will not allow the use of sharpshooters,” Jones writes.
The mayor also requests more information on the option of creating an archery hunting season and area outside city limits, and asks how “successful such a hunt would be to control the deer population within city limits.”
Jones addresses the issue that the city cannot “direct” what happens outside of city limits, and suggests the DOW consult with the Moffat County Commission before approving such a hunting season.
“Furthermore, the council recommends that it and the DOW determine a safe buffer zone between the proposed areas and existing city limits to alleviate any concern from citizens that a special archery hunt would endanger community members,” Jones writes in the letter.
The mayor also asks the DOW if there are any other solutions that have been used around the state or region to “combat deer.”
The letter also asks if the city can partner with the division to sponsor a series of “educational seminars” to demonstrate techniques and available products residents can use to discourage deer from entering their property.
“The more information the council and deer committee can review and communicate to Craig’s citizens, the more likely a consensus will be reached for an acceptable deer population control strategy,” Jones writes in the letter.