DOW to discuss declining White River deer herd

Public invited to participate in Monday meeting in Meeker

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If you go …

What: Division of Wildlife public meeting on White River deer herd

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Monday

Where: Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds, 700 Sulphur Creek Road, Meeker

— The meeting is open to the public.

On the ‘Net:

For more information about recent Colorado Division of Wildlife mule deer research, visit wildlife.state.co.us/research/mammal/deer/.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife invites the public to a meeting Monday in Meeker to discuss concerns about a decrease in the White River deer herd with DOW managers and biologists, the agency reported in a news release.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds, 700 Sulphur Creek Road.

The decline in the herd’s numbers has been a “major concern” in the White River area, the DOW reported.

The decline has led to fewer licenses and opportunities for deer hunters, the agency stated. A reduction in deer hunting can have negative impacts on businesses that depend on hunters and the annual boost they provide to the local economy.

“We are aware of the public’s concerns, and our researchers are working very hard to find some answers and solutions,” DOW biologist Darby Finley said in the release.

DOW research projects include a nine-year management study of deer survival rates, and multiple deer research projects in various parts of the state. Also presented at the meeting will be preliminary results of a new study that attempts to measure how mule deer react to landscape-scale habitat modifications and human activity due to oil and gas development in the Piceance area.

“We will have a significant amount of information for the public, but some of the research is in the preliminary stages,” Finley said. “We want everyone to know that we take their concerns very seriously and look forward to discussing the data that we have.”

In addition to the ongoing research, DOW managers will discuss recent habitat improvement projects funded with grants from the DOW’s Habitat Partnership Program. With assistance of these grants, private and public entities in this area will work with DOW wildlife managers to improve the quality of deer habitat and forage.

“Habitat improvements are a very effective way to increase forage quality for deer,” said Bill de Vergie, Meeker area wildlife manager. “We want the public to learn about our efforts to improve mule deer habitat in this area.”

DOW biologists and wildlife managers will give presentations and be available to answer questions and discuss the public’s concerns.

For more information about recent mule deer research, visit wildlife.state.co.us/research/mammal/deer/.

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