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Deadly Deer Part 2: Solutions to overpopulation

Deadly Deer Part Two solutions to...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - More than 3,000 deer call Colorado Springs home.

Officials, including Frank McGee at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, say that is way too many deer.

"The public is at risk because of the number of animals in town," McGee said.

He said the number of car vs. deer crashes has been increasing because of the population boom.

"We water the groceries they like to eat. They're not hunted in the city," McGee explained. "So there's a lot of food available and very little pressure on them."

It's also partially our fault.

Brett Martin, who works for the city of Colorado Springs cleaning up the deer crashes, said our population increase plays a role.

"As we move up into the hills, we push them down to find a new place to eat, and people treat them like pets and leave food out for them," Martin explained.

There were more than 1,000 car vs. deer crashes just in Colorado Springs last year.

About 33 people died in animal-related crashes in the state.

That's why city, state and federal officials are coming together for the first time to figure out what to do about the overpopulation. They held a "Wildlife and Transportation Summit" to find ways to keep the roads and the animals safe.

"We have about 20 deer per square mile in Colorado Springs, but we want to be at a density around seven deer per square mile," McGee said.

So what can be done?

"About everything that can be done has been tried somewhere," McGee said. "We're using other communities for examples."

Possible solutions being discussed include: deer birth control, moving the deer, deer fencing, culling the herd, and urban fencing.

McGee said deer birth control hasn't proven very effective and is expensive: about $300-$1,000 per deer.

He said they may not be able to move the deer because many are diseased and will spread their illnesses, killing large numbers of healthy animals.

Culling the herd requires hiring hunters to remove some of the animals.

Deer fencing has proven effective, but only in the areas where the fence is. It can also get expensive to install.


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