Several deer walk through land near the intersection of Pershing Street and Sandrock Drive on Monday afternoon. Craig Mayor Don Jones said he was prompted to organize a public workshop with the Colorado Division of Wildlife after receiving a growing number of complaints about the city’s deer population.

Photo by Brian Smith

Several deer walk through land near the intersection of Pershing Street and Sandrock Drive on Monday afternoon. Craig Mayor Don Jones said he was prompted to organize a public workshop with the Colorado Division of Wildlife after receiving a growing number of complaints about the city’s deer population.

Craig City Council, DOW to address local deer population

Groups to discuss management, removal options of urban deer



A deer walks across Pershing Street on Monday afternoon in Craig. The Craig City Council and Colorado Division of Wildlife are hosting a public work session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St., to address management and possible removal of the urban deer population in city limits.

If you go

What: Craig City Council work session with Colorado Division of Wildlife about deer population in city limits

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Where: Craig City Hall, 300. W. Fourth St.

— The work session is open to the public.

The Craig City Council will host a meeting tonight with the Colorado Division of Wildlife to address what Mayor Don Jones said is a growing concern for many Craig residents.

The two groups will meet at 5:30 p.m. at Craig City Hall during a public work session to discuss several deer population management and removal options. They will also seek feedback and concerns from residents.

Jones said he was prompted to organize the meeting after receiving feedback from several residents that the deer population in Craig had become “aggressive.”

Jones said he heard reports that deer have attacked dogs in the area, leaving some residents “afraid to go out of their house.”

“That is just not right — you shouldn’t have to live in fear of your own backyard,” the mayor said.

DOW spokesman Randy Hampton said the organization is happy to meet with the city council and residents to discuss options for dealing with the population of deer inside city limits.

“As a state agency, we believe that local management is often the best approach, so what we wanted to do was work with the Craig City Council and work with the City of Craig,” he said. “So, we’re encouraged that we are finally getting this meeting put together and we can work on some of those options moving forward.”

Hampton said the DOW understands that addressing Craig’s deer population may be “controversial” for some.

“This is an issue where there is not a solution that will make everyone happy,” he said. “But, as a state agency that’s responsible for management of deer populations, we don’t necessarily need to make everyone happy. What we need to do is our job and that job is to work with the City of Craig and to address the human safety issues that need to be addressed.”

Any action by the DOW would be done in a “wise and thoughtful manner,” and with the direction of the city council. Hampton said.

“We are here to help as the Division of Wildlife, but we are not here to act unilaterally and that has really been the challenge,” he said. “We have kind of been waiting for Craig to give us what options might work best.”

Some of the options available to the city to deal with the deer include relocation of the deer, fertility control, establishing hunting seasons around the city, and killing the city’s deer, Hampton said.

However, he said the options of establishing a hunting season or killing the animals are the most effective ways of addressing the situation.

Hampton said there are several reasons why relocation of the deer may not be the most effective answer.

Research has shown, Hampton said, that when deer are relocated, they do not survive most of the time. He said there is an “extremely high” mortality rate after the relocation or deer may attempt to return to the location they were removed from, possibly dying in the process.

“Our preference, knowing that a majority of those animals are going to die in very ugly ways anyways, would be to do what is the best option — (to) put them down quick and avoid the suffering and the expense of attempting relocations,” Hampton said.

Fertility control measures, Hampton said, are often expensive and difficult to administer because they require yearly maintenance. Moreover, he said fertility control “does nothing to deal with the current deer.”

“It may prevent them from having future young, but you still have a population of deer that exists,” he said.

Also, several factors during the implementation of the fertility control measures can be “problematic” for both deer and residents.

As far as establishing a hunting area around the city for the deer, Hampton said the DOW would have to work closely with the city if the measure was considered an option.

“Obviously we’d need to do that in a safe and appropriate manner and we will explain some of those things to the council at this work session,” he said.

Hampton said the agency has heard from “frustrated” residents that the DOW has not done more about the deer problem.

“Once again, we are a state management agency, but in this particular issue, we are an advisory agency,” he said. “Managing is quite easy, but we don’t want to act unilaterally. We want to act in concert with the city and the county to make sure what we have got available as management tools fits the area.”


wellwell 6 years, 5 months ago

"the management and removal options" would make it seem that the forgone conclusion is reducing or removal of deer. There also so many that do not have problems with the deer and therfore are not vocal.

Might I guess that the deer (singular or plural) invaded a fenced backyard of a dog owner that is used for the dog and their enjoyment. The dog is properly contained and the property contains those items and plants that are more precious than those in a more public area of the property. This is the design that is used throughout urban America to enclose pets off-leash,provide privacy and keep out humans and their animals.

This is good for urban areas, but we are rural with an urban area. Our natural rural deer easily jump urban fences and graze tasty morsels of plants planted for beauty that are gourmet foods for deer. Naturally we want to protect our investment and view and have by fencing. The dog also knows that this is its environmental home and protects it by agressive barking.

Is any person or animal at fault? Is there conflict in the culture of animaIs and humans. Is there conflict in expectations of animals or humans? Can animals make decisions to avoid conflict? Can humans make decisions to avoid conflict? Can humans control animals to avoid conflict? Which animals do humans best control? Can animals of a natural environment coexist with humans and their pets? Can we/should we adjust to the natural environment of the the deer? Must we remove the deer?

All interested should attend the meeting at city hall Tuesday at 5:30pm. Do not come late. These workshops move fast, don't be left out. Be heard no matter how feel on the issue. Don't complain if you don't attend.


Ray Cartwright 6 years, 5 months ago

It is not if but when there is a conflict between the deer and some school kid on their way home. The deer are no longer afraid of any predators because they have none including humans and therefore have become the agressive.


onewhocares 6 years, 5 months ago

This whole topic is UNBELIEVABLE - the fact that it is even an issue leaves me speechless. If you are sooo threatened by the wild animals (I mean deer are soo vicious-not) WHY did you choose to live here? Some fear the danger to their children, yet have you bothered to look up how many sex offenders live in Craig?????? All should be very concerned & very furious they are allowed to walk the earth, yet you worry about the deer....OMG, move away to the city, away from the vicious animals that were here loooooonnnggg before people.


DAILYREADER 6 years, 5 months ago

Just a thought---

Perhaps we should all vote for the lodging tax and use the capital construction and tourism promotion portions to build a fence around the city with toll gates at each entrance to town. It would not only keep the deer out, but tourists would flock to Craig to see the unique solution.

The city council could then pass an ordinance to charge all tourists when they try to exit through the fence. Then maybe they would spend a few more days here, thus paying more lodging tax. Think of all the income and publicity for Craig.


wellwell 6 years, 5 months ago


Wow what an idea! Bring it to the discussion tonight at 5:30pm in City Hall. Wahoo! Finally a solution!


suchadeal 6 years, 5 months ago

The deer have not always inhabited Craig. I have lived here over sixty years and the deer have been in town for about the last 15 years only (when the City implemented the leash law). I don't believe I should have to build at least a six foot high fence to keep wildlife out of my yard--WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS. I know if I chose to live out in the County, I would, by law, have to fence the wildlife out if I did not choose to have them on my property. I have nothing against the lovely creatures, I just can't afford to feed them the bushes, trees and flowers in my yard any longer.


wellwell 6 years, 5 months ago

All Posters On This

Please come to the City Hall at 5:30pm This your chance to have Your Representatives Hear from You.


als362 6 years, 5 months ago

I suppose the city could go ahead and spend several thousand dollars to get a few deer out of a few yards so someone doesn't have to spend $20.00 of a few plant seeds.
Then in a very few months the same or other deer will be back and the city can spend several thousand dollars to remove them again.
It is pretty silly I think, for someone to even think that the deer can be permanently removed or transplanted to another area. This type of thinking makes just as much sense as the DOW and the USFWS shocking all the game fish out of the river. Just a huge waste of time and money, to accomplish nothing except fillling the pockets of those doing the transplanting. If you are not happy here, go somewhere else, don't expect us to waste tax dollars on something that will not work. I had trouble with the deer scraping my trees, but I solved that problem with a few yards of welded wire fence hung from the branches of my trees. And didn't need to bother anyone else about it, or expect the government to bail me out or hold my hand because of a few deer.
All these problems are fixable by the home owners if they will just try, and not expect the government to do everything for them. Allowing hunts inside the city limits is not an option, there is just too much risk of someone getting shot. If the city wants a grand lawsuit all they need to do is allow deer hunters inside the city limits. Hiring government hunters is too costly an option to consider, and still just as dangerous.


cag81625 6 years, 5 months ago

As I understand it, the deer belong to, and are therefore, the responsibility of the State of Colorado and not the City of Craig. I also understand that DOW, as the agent of the responsible party, is not funded by general treasury funds but solely through revenue derived by sales of hunting and fishing licenses. Therefore, unless you buy a license in this state to hunt or fish, you are not out anything for the state's agent to carry out the state's responsibility. A responsibility that includes, I would assume, a response to concerns of the citizens of the state when the state's wildlife begin adversely impacting the health, safety, or economic interests of said citizens. Is this true? Just askin'.


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