City mulls deer removal
October 27, 2010
Also at the meeting
At its regular Tuesday meeting, the Craig City Council:
• Approved, 7-0, Oct. 12 meeting minutes.
• Approved, 7-0, renewal of the hotel and restaurant liquor license for the Ocean Pearl at 441 W. Victory Way. No cause was shown for denial.
• Approved, 7-0, renewal of the tavern liquor license for the O.P. Bar & Grill at 534 E. Victory Way. No cause was shown for denial.
• Approved, 7-0, renewal of the retail liquor license for Loadout Liquors at 1800 W. Victory Way. No cause was shown for denial.
• Tabled an approval of a special events permit for the Cowboy Christmas at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig. No representation was present.
• Approved, 7-0, a resolution to support the Moffat County High School Student Council’s Every Student Will Graduate program.
• Approved, 7-0, a proclamation declaring November as Colorado Homeless and Runaway Youth Awareness month in Craig.
• Considered a request from Scott McKinney for reimbursement of street improvement costs on Steele Street, but no action was taken.
• Approved, 7-0, to award a bid for sewer main replacement to Anson Excavating & Pipe, Inc. totaling $59,500.
• Approved, 7-0, to accept the state land board sale price of sludge pond land for the wastewater department at $125,000 and purchase the 39.91 acres of land.
• Approved, 7-0, to not renew a membership with the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado for 2011.
• Heard a presentation from Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner about possible changes to the local social services department from the state level.
• Introduced ordinance No. 1009 to adopt the 2011 city budget.
• Heard a financial report for September from finance director Bruce Nelson.
The Craig City Council chambers were almost filled Tuesday with residents interested in hearing and weighing in on a proposal regarding management of the urban deer in Craig.
During a public work session hosted before the city council's regular Tuesday meeting, the Colorado Division of Wildlife presented the about 50 residents with three options for helping curb the amount of urban deer living in city limits.
After the meeting, Craig Mayor Don Jones said the council would move forward with a form of deer removal in the city, but was unsure of how the removal would take place.
"With the support that we had tonight, we'll move forward with it," he said. "We'll discuss all the options."
Ron Velarde, DOW Northwest Regional Manager, said the deer "problem" in Craig has been escalating the last several years.
Before Velarde and Bill deVergie, DOW Area Wildlife Manager, presented residents with the three options the DOW could take for removing a large portion of the city's deer, Velarde said the DOW would need community support.
"We need buy in if any of this is going to succeed," Velarde said. "We need the support of the city council, the mayor, the chief of police and obviously the majority of the support of the people in the city.
"Without that support, it is not going to fly."
The first option deVergie presented is to establish a hunting area outside of the city limits.
The hunt would be limited to private land, be by permission only and possibly be through archery hunting, deVergie said. He also said the hunt could last from the end of November through December.
"The thought is that we are hopefully reducing the number of deer in the close proximity of Craig, which then hopefully reflects on the number of deer that might be migrating or moving into Craig," he said.
The second option, deVergie said, was to start a deer trapping program. Once the deer were trapped, he said, they would be taken out of the city and killed.
The DOW would seek to place the deer traps in open spaces, vacant lots, parks and the backyards of residents who give approval. The meat from the deer would then be donated to a community food bank, deVergie said.
The third option, deVergie said, would be to find specific locations in the city to bait and attract deer at night. A team of trained marksmen would then kill and remove the deer from the city, he said.
Velarde said he hopes the city and city council would give the DOW permission to perform all three options.
"One is not going to do it," he said. "We would prefer that we do all the options … at the same time this year if we are going to make (some) impact on the deer in the City of Craig."
After the DOW has performed the three measures, Velarde said he hoped the city would establish a regular deer hunting season outside of the city.
Velarde said the DOW would not kill all of the deer in the city at one time, but rather kill 50 to 75 percent of the deer now and keep their numbers low with the regular hunting season.
One thing residents can do to help in the meantime, deVergie said, would be to reduce deer attractions, such as feeding of the deer. He said there have been reports of Craig residents feeding deer, which he reminded the audience is against the law.
Velarde said anytime deer are killed in city limits, there is controversy.
"What we are looking for is support from the city and the city council," he said. "I don't have a problem with my officers coming in here and doing this, but I think this needs to be a collaborative effort."
Jones said there are "too many" deer in the city and three dogs had been killed over the summer by aggressive deer.
Jones said he recognized there are some Craig residents who would prefer the deer remain in the city.
"But, it is not fair for the majority of people to have to worry about animals, wild animals in their backyards," he said.
Residents spoke about safety issues the deer cause to dogs, children and seniors.
However, several residents spoke against the deer removal option, advocating for consideration of other measures.
Jones encouraged residents to voice their opinions by writing the city council a letter and submitting it to Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth Street, or by using the city's website at http://www.ci.craig.co.us.