CPW euthanizes mother doe, spares fawns after deer attack in Craig
A Craig woman was hospitalized after suffering serious injuries in a deer attack at Sunset Meadows senior living facility.
According to a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, CPW officers responded to the senior living facility Wednesday afternoon to find a doe with two young fawns had attacked and injured an 85-year-old woman as she was walking her dog.
“Officers believe the woman and her dog surprised the animal, leading to an unusually aggressive response by the doe,” CPW’s release said.
Craig Police Department Capt. Bill Leonard said his agency responded quickly and secured the scene for wildlife authorities.
“We responded to the call initially and kind of maintained the scene until they arrived,” Leonard said.
The woman had serious injuries and she was quickly taken to Memorial Regional Health.
“She had some pretty serious injuries on scene,” Leonard said. “I know they were definitely concerned in getting her loaded and transported.”
Additional details on the woman’s condition at MRH were unavailable.
The release said CPW would be euthanizing the mother doe, but not her fawns, which will be taken to a local rehabilitation facility.
“The doe’s carcass will be taken to CPW’s Wildlife Health Lab for a full necropsy,” the release stated.
Following the incident, Mike Porras, CPW’s Northwest region public information officer, said putting down an animal in this context isn’t easy for CPW officers.
“It’s the hardest part of their jobs, but they will fulfill duty to protect the public,” Porras said.
The doe’s rare aggressive behavior, the risk that behavior poses to the public, and the need to rule out the possibility of disease were the driving factors behind the decision to put the doe down.
“Sometimes it allows us to conclude why an animal behaved the way it did,” Porras said of the doe’s coming autopsy.
Relocating animals to an isolated area away from humans isn’t always an option, according to Porras.
“In a state with a growing human population, those areas are getting harder and harder to find,” Porras said.
Even if CPW had relocated the animal, Porras said the agency wasn’t willing to risk the animal repeating its actions in the future.
“If we move this animal to an area and it has another encounter with a person and it seriously injures or kills a person, our agency is responsible,” he said.
Porras had a warning for frontier communities like Craig and Moffat County, that predators are usually waiting nearby when deer are present.
“The fact there are deer in Craig should certainly give people pause,” Porras said. “…Lions eat deer. If there are deer in the area, lions probably aren’t too far behind.”
He said it’s important for Craig residents to do their part to keep wildlife wild — don’t feed town deer and don’t approach them, either.
“Don’t feed deer and don’t feed any wildlife,” Porras said. “Don’t approach, don’t feed, don’t harass — whether for a selfie, or they think they can pet it, or they think they’re one with the animal. It’s dangerous.”
Porras pointed out Craig isn’t the only one experiencing dangerous human-wildlife interactions on a regular basis.
“It’s not just Craig,” Porras said. “There are a lot of communities in the same boat for the same reasons.”
Late last month, Jim and Gloria Matthews were preparing to embark on the next chapter of their lives.