COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife crews spent hours Wednesday morning rescuing a trapped deer in a Colorado Springs culvert, and they say the problem may continue as the deer population rises.
The mule deer was forced into the culvert at Pinon Valley Park in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood while sparring with another buck. One neighbor spotted the buck a few days ago and noticed it was stuck last night.
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"He didn't look right. I threw a couple of sticks and rocks near him, and the noises didn't even make him flinch," said Timothy Nimmo. "I knew he was injured, or there was something wrong with him."
The buck was found by Parks and Wildlife crews bleeding in the culvert. Ice on the ground and steep walls prevented the buck from escaping.
The wildlife team tranquilized the buck to prevent further injury during the rescue. They then administered a drug to counteract the tranquilizer and get the buck back up and walking.
But the deer wouldn't leave. It walked a short distance and came back to the drainage channel, so it had to be tranquilized again. When that didn't work, they lassoed it and slowly forced it away from the ditch to safety.
"A lot of people walk their dogs on these trails, and anything could have happened if this buck had tried to get out or if a dog went down into that [ditch] after him," said Corey Adler, district manager with the department. "There could have been a scuffle, and no one wants to see that."
While the rescue was a success, wildlife officers fear the problem will continue because of the growing deer population in the city.
El Paso County commissioners will hear a presentation from Parks and Wildlife about possible solutions to the deer crisis.