Three deer cross Pershing Street in Craig on Monday. A work session with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Craig City Council presented Craig residents with three options for removing a large portion of the city’s deer. Some residents implored the city council to take action on the deer problem, while others stood against the action, instead advocating for consideration of other options.

Photo by Brian Smith

Three deer cross Pershing Street in Craig on Monday. A work session with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Craig City Council presented Craig residents with three options for removing a large portion of the city’s deer. Some residents implored the city council to take action on the deer problem, while others stood against the action, instead advocating for consideration of other options.

Craig City Council seeks input for deer removal plan

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Write to the Craig City Council:

• Residents can submit letters to the Craig City Council on how they would like the council to address deer removal in the city by dropping them off at Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St., or by e-mailing city manager Jim Ferree at jferree@ci.craig....

A Tuesday work session with the Craig City Council and Colorado Division of Wildlife didn’t turn out the way Craig resident Shannan Koucherik expected.

Koucherik said she was hoping for more of a dialogue between interested residents and the two organizations during the meeting on how to manage deer within city limits.

However, a day later, Koucherik said she is still trying to understand the meeting.

“We felt kind of blindsided when the DOW spoke and said, ‘This is what we are going to do — it is this or nothing,’” she said.

The DOW presented three options Tuesday for helping curb the number of deer in the city.

Those options include establishing a hunting area and season outside city limits, trapping and killing deer, and/or having a team of marksmen come into the city to kill deer at night.

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

Koucherik said she understands some residents’ concerns about the safety of seniors and children, but she believes there are other ways to solve the issue.

“I felt like it was all decided before the meeting, and I felt as though the options that they said … are killing, killing and killing,” she said. “My husband and I both, I guess, are sadly resigned to the fact that the powers that be have spoken.”

Koucherik said she is also concerned the manner in which the deer could be removed would be “not totally humane.”

“I am sitting here looking out my living room (window) at my woods thinking, ‘we are going to lose the deer that have become our friends over the last eight years,’” she said.

The meeting was also attended by residents who commended the city council for their actions and implored them to move forward with deer removal.

One such resident was Lorrie Butler, who said she would be “very happy” if the DOW removed a large portion of the city’s deer.

Butler said “something needs to be done” considering the “aggressive” nature of the deer.

“They don’t back down from me,” she said. “I can go out in my back yard swinging the broom and they do not back down. They’ll stand there (and) look at me like, ‘You crazy lady, I’m going to get you.’”

The deer, Butler said, have prevented her from having a garden in her fenced backyard for three years. She said a deer attacked her poodle, which resulted in a “very large vet bill.”

Butler said she has lived in Craig since 1978, but didn’t start seeing deer inside city limits behave aggressively until about five years ago.

Craig City Council member Gene Bilodeau said he was glad to see the number of interested residents who attended the work session.

“Regardless of what people may think of (the) DOW, at least in my mind, they are the experts,” Bilodeau said. “What they presented as options, in my mind, are what our options are.”

Bilodeau said the council should take action to curb the deer problem, considering the potential safety risks to residents.

“To me, it has always just been, ‘That’s where I live,’ and ‘That is what happens,’ and so I have just coped with it, if you will,” he said of living with the deer in Craig. “But, being on the city council, I guess the biggest issue that is a concern for me is (safety).”

Bilodeau said the city council is hoping residents will submit their thoughts about a possible city deer removal plan.

The council would then take resident comments into consideration before making a ruling on the DOW’s recommendations, which could come as soon as the next council meeting Nov. 9, he said.

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said the city is also working to draft an ordinance to increase the punishment for feeding deer in city limits, something the DOW said could help reduce the number of deer coming into town.

Ferree said the ordinance could include an increase in fines.

“The point is the $68 is not enough of a deterrent,” he said of the current fine.

City council member Ray Beck said he was pleased with the feedback the council received Tuesday.

“We are going to get mixed emotions about it, but I think doing nothing isn’t the right answer,” he said. “I think it behooves the city council to move forward.”

Beck said he considers residents’ safety to be the biggest factor when addressing the deer situation.

“It is time we step up and take the DOW’s recommendations because I think this could lead to a more serious problem,” he said. “We don’t want to be in a position where someone gets hurt, even though we all like the deer.”

Comments

leterbuck 4 years, 1 month ago

This is just more over riding the publics opinion and desires!! Welcome to doing whatever so desires of the Goverment!! They do not care, they just do whatever they want to. “We felt kind of blindsided when the DOW spoke and said, ‘This is what we are going to do — it is this or nothing,’” Said Shannan Koucherik. The DOW is good at Blindsiteing..

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justthefacts 4 years, 1 month ago

Quote: "I realized that Eastern thought had somewhat more compassion for all living things. Man was a form of life in another reincarnation might possibly be a horsefly or a bird of paradise or a DEER. So a man of such faith, looking at animals,might be looking at old friends or ancestors."

William Orville Douglas

Comment: Now what if the eastern thought is right, and we never gave consideration to that idea? Who's grandma did the DOW just take out?????

Fact: Squiirrels do more damage in the city than the deer. ( Call out the Squirrel sharp shooters!!!) We are in danger.

Fact: Two birds craped on my deck this morning because the neighbor feeds them. ( Where are the Bird Police when you need them?)

Question: Can the Deer Police search your back yard for deer food if they have probable cause? X2 Can they confiscate your food?. ( How many grams of deer food do you have grandma?) x3 How many years in jail will Judge Peck sentence you to?

Last Quote: " The great teachings unanimously emphasize that all the peace, wisdom, and joy in the universe are already within us; we don't have to gain develop, or atain them. We're like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight. We don't need to imagine trees, flowers,DEER, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we really are." ( How lucky we are to have these things?)

Just The Facts to fawn over

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als362 4 years, 1 month ago

In my opinion attempting to remove the deer from the city makes just as much sense as removing the game fish from the river. It serves a very few people, fills the pockets of those doing the removing, and has little effect on the overall scope of things.
There will always be deer in town just because of the location of this town and there will always be pike and bass in the river because it is such great habitat for them. So if we start killing, trapping, or relocating the deer then we have 2 programs ongoing in this communtiy that waste time and money.

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Colette Erickson 4 years, 1 month ago

Kill the deer that are here now and more will come to replace them. Deer are a fact of life here in NW Colorado. Get over it and learn to live with it.

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als362 4 years, 1 month ago

I don't need to attend a meeting to understand what the facts are. And to know that any attempt to remove the deer will ultimately fail. It will prove to be a waste of wildlife, a waste of time, and a waste of tax dollars.

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Harlan 4 years, 1 month ago

I disagree als362. If you did not attend the meeting you do not know the facts. You speak of a waste of tax dollars. Both of the first two suggestions from the DOW cost the citizens of Craig zero dollars. The third is a shared price. We manage the wildlife outside of the city limits and we need to start managing it within the city limits.

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als362 4 years, 1 month ago

To Harlan; You don't get anything from any government agency for free. It is just not possible. Money does not grow out of the ground or float from the skies. Anything that the DOW does will indeed cost tax dollars. The only way this deer removal will not cost tax dollars is if those that want the deer removed pay all of the costs associated with that removal effort. Then after these people see the deer return very shortly, which they will. Then they will finally realize how futile this activity truly is. Anytime the food supply is as great in town as it is, the deer are going to be here in the numbers that they are at this time. When the food supply is restricted from these animals then they will leave on their own.

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wellwell 4 years, 1 month ago

Harlan,

I did attend the meeting. I was glad it was not open to audience comment until background was given. Listening I did gain more understanding. One of the things that surprised me that 3 options were given. At the summation by the Regional Director? of the DOW closed the options by saying he wanted all options carried out to have it done correctly. That is not called an Option - that is call a Plan.

That is an odd way to try to have the community to come together, to buy in; to offer options that the audience listening think about which option then close it off by saying All Options. Sorry the listening that I had gone thru was lost, my confidence in the speaker was lost.

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justthefacts 4 years, 1 month ago

Fact: I have seen some people in this town shoot a bow.

Fact: Robin Hood they are not!!!

Fact: Archery should not even be an option, that is far more dangerous than the deer.

Just The bullseye Facts

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Harlan 4 years, 1 month ago

To Just the facts - the proposed archery hunt would take place 1 mile OUTSIDE of the city limits. To als362 - The DOW in NOT funded by taxpayer dollars.

I live WITHIN the city limits and I want my tax dollars spent in this way. This is not a popularity contest for deer. We all love them - in the wild. This has become a pulbic safety issue.

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justthefacts 4 years, 1 month ago

Fact: Elk live in Estes Park year round,

Fact: Tourist flock to Estes Park year round to see the Elk.

Fact: Since the Elk herds have been decimated in N.W. Colorado, Craig could now become " Deer City USA" instead of "Elk Hunting Capital of the World".

Fact: Tourist would flock to Craig to see the deer. Others would come to live among the deer.

Fact: Economic development at it's best, no need for a lodging tax.

Comment: SAVE OUR DEER!! SAVE OUR DEER!!! SAVE OUR DEER!!!.

Wake up City Council, you are killing prosperity, and I mean that literally.

Save Our DEER!!!

Just The straight shooting Facts

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als362 4 years, 1 month ago

Purchasing a hunting or fishing license is just as much a tax as any other you can think of.
If this is how you want the dollars spent then you and you alone should be responsible for removing those deer you want removed. Don't force me to pay to get rid of something I want to keep and am having no issue with.
If you feel so endangered you should move to another place where you will feel safer.

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Neal Harkner 4 years, 1 month ago

Tourists are gonna come to Craig to see the deer? That one gave me a chuckle. From where might I ask? Baggs? Meeker? Rangely? They certainly aren't going to drive 3.5 hours from Denver out into the high desert in the middle of BFE to see mule deer.

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als362 4 years, 1 month ago

To xrsareus: Very well stated! I agree with you 100%. I have taken steps to protect my trees as well. Just last night there was a very nice 4X4 buck in my yard that I enjoyed looking at and taking pictures of. I think if people don't want to be around these deer then they need to go somewhere that the deer are not. To harkner ; The post above yours is discussing hunters not tourists. Yes hunters do come to Craig to see the deer and elk.
I am also certain that some people just driving through are impressed by the population of wildlife in this area.

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als362 4 years, 1 month ago

I just looked at the web site for the City Of Craig. Wouldn't you know it right on it in 2 places there is an image of an elk. I seems very strange to me that the city feels it OK to usurp the wildlife when the wildlife serves their purpose. Then turn around and say they want to remove the very animals that make the city what it is and provide for a large percentage of the tourism dollars that the city claims it wants to promote. I believe that the city needs to get on one side of the fence or the other. I can assure you that stradling a fence will get you nothing but a sore back side.

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Nadja Rider 4 years, 1 month ago

Elk are not deer! You really want to invite elk into downtown Craig???

Of course there's a place for wildlife here, and that's outside of town! The wildlife does wander into town, but we have too large of a population of DEER that have made themselves comfortable in yards. They are not domesticated animals and they are getting diseased from living in town.

This idea that people are doing something unnatural by wanting to manage the deer population in town is simply ridiculous. Maybe YOU need to move to Boulder or better yet California, where they want to live with all the wild critters in their backyards, and then complain when they attack or do damage.

Nobody said they wanted to remove ALL the deer, but their numbers in town do need to be curbed and managed in an ongoing manner.

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David Moore 4 years, 1 month ago

Maybe we should vote on it, add it to the ballot for next election(too late for this one). I'm all for als362's idea, make those who want them gone pay for it, why should I pay for something not affecting me. I am not bothered by the deer, they come, they go, they eat, they leave their poop, no big deal...and we have a lot of them in our neighborhood. My wife was sitting out on the porch swing last month and had one come within 3 feet of her. Despite startling it, the deer ran off, it did not charge or "stare her down". Dogs that get stomped are a threat to them and if out in the county, the dog would be shot, not the deer. Don't want your little dog stomped, don't let it out to bother or "sic" the deer. Craig is known for it's wildlife and while most would not travel here just to see the deer and elk, visitors from big cities enjoy and are amazed by them, they don't have wildlife in their backyards like we do. On that note, if you hunt the deer and get rid of them, Craig will need to take the entrance sign down with the Elk on it, don't want to be hypocritical or confuse the visitors now do we? I ride my bike all over town and encounter them many times, they run, they don't charge me or "stand me down". If you threaten them they have a right to "stand you down". While out riding with the kid one day I did see some lady putting feed in buckets out by a tree on the corner of 7th and Taylor, the deer came in droves, this is why they are here, easy food source. High fines for feeding would curb that. If a Sonic was built out in the middle of nowhere and gave out free food, you can bet a small town would pop up around it sooner or later. If you feed the deer and don't make them forage on their own, of course they are going to hang around, why wouldn't they? My summation as to why they are here is that too many people feed them, consciously or not. By having delicacy style flowers and plants you are inviting them to come over for dinner, if you feed them, well, your part of the problem as much as the deer are. I am against the hunt, of any kind, simply because I don't want to see some kid, or adult, on the operating room table with an arrow in their chest or from a bullet wound from some "marksmen" who missed. If they are going to hunt them on the outside perimeter of town, fine, just not inside the city or neighborhoods. Common sense is obviously not ruling with this notion, then again, when does it in this town?

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als362 4 years, 1 month ago

To nadja: To start with I am not complaining about the deer, but it sounds to me like you are. I don't want or need to lower the numbers for any reason. Yes I would love to see Elk in Craig, in fact before the walmart store was built a sizable herd wintered there for many years. If you are the one that doesn't want the animals in town then you should move somewhere that doesn't have any animals.
As for myself I am very happy to see them here. Leave them alone. This was their property long before we moved in. If anyone should leave it should be the humans. Any attempt to lower the numbers of deer in town will fail because the food supply here in town is so much better than outside the city limits. Shortly after some of the deer are gone, others will take their place.

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Neal Harkner 4 years, 1 month ago

als362 - I was referring to justthefacts point:

Fact: Tourist would flock to Craig to see the deer. Others would come to live among the deer.

Unfortunately that's what's called an opinion and not a very convincing one.

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justthefacts 4 years, 1 month ago

Fact: The following people want your Deer killed:

Mayor Don Jones, Council persons: Terry Carwile, Joe Herod, Jennifer Riley, Ray Beck, Byron Willems.

Call the steel store, the College, the Chamber of Commerce, the sporting good store, the Hospital, the fire store and the retirement association!!!! The deer must be saved.

Fact: Home phone numbers for the Council members are in the phone book.

Fact: The City Manager can supply the same.

Call out the National Guard, or your deer are DEAD, DEAD, DEAD.

Just The raging, raving, Facts

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wellwell 4 years, 1 month ago

Justthefacts,

Well, often I've read your posts. I find your callname way over the top when it is mostly your opinion and not fact. Make your callname justmyopinion and it would have more crediblity.

Often your statements are not fact.

I agree with some of your position on the deer question, but if you overstate and do not have the true facts you can hurt the cause to not harm the deer. You, through statements of facts and lining up with justthefacts callname, become open to ridicule. Indeed I agree with those that brought up your posts and their negative opinions of your silly posts.

I have talked with many of the of the council one on one and due the their position on the council I respect that they represent the people that they serve. They have represented what was given to them by way of Senator White and another representative whose name I forgotten. This meeting was held in the American Legion approx. 2yrs ago. The DOW was called in to hear the problem of deer in the area and as I remember most of the discussion was of deer and elk in the rural areas, but city deer may have been discussed also.

The outcome of this meeting was apparently a pressure on the DOW to come up with a solution. During the period following this meeting calls to the mayor and council were increasing to the point that the mayor and council needed to represent the citizens.

My facts are of those council members that I talked to, most were saying that they personally have no problem with the deer and respect their nature, All did say they are concerned with safety of the citizens. This, to me, is a proper response of a representive form of the council to represent above their own personal feelings.

These are the facts as I know them. Note the words "apparantly", "as I remember", and etc. are used when it I'm making an opinion or unsure of facts.I stated what hear from a direct source. I don't want to make hearsay, opinion, or my desire into Fact.

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gatoronskis 4 years, 1 month ago

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam and the DEER and the antelope play...........

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mocam10 4 years, 1 month ago

Really people of Craig USA? This is all we have to worry about? What about the people who are cooking meth and selling it to our kids? The people that don't have jobs...the homeless man that was living in the park behind my house! This is all that the town of Craig has to worry about. Personally I think people will complain about anything. I have lived here my whole life and the only thing that I can't stand about the deer is how they help themselves to my garden...but you adjust.

May I remind you of all the animals that have died or become extinct because people had a problem with them. This happens all over the world, you just have to let mother nature do it's thing.

*Don't change my words....in no way am I saying that the deer are going to become extinct and I am not against hunting...but maybe they should stop worrying only about the deer and start worrying about more important things.

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xrsareus 4 years, 1 month ago

Crabapples , That's one of the problems. I watched the normal gang of 6 deer roam the "hood" last night at dusk. Same time, same routine. Go to the place across the street, clean up the apples that have fallen, jump the fence and dine on the apples that have fallen off of my trees, jump the fence and go to the next. I wonder how many more apple tree's have been planted in the last 10 years around town that might be attracting them? Are we planting flowers that we never did before that they like? Are we growing veggies that we couldn't before? Are the deer smarter than before? They realize easy food and a safe place to stay. These things could all add up in the increased number of animals. Just a thought. PS I still love seeing them. I don't want them to leave.

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