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Feedback from public, City Council near on deer overpopulation in Colorado Springs

Third task force meeting held Friday

Public meetings on deer overpopulation coming soon in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - City leaders in Colorado Springs expect to have a series of town hall meetings next month to receive input on problems associated with the area's growing deer population.

The meetings will happen after a City Council work session scheduled for April 23.

An urban deer task force met for the third time Friday and members said they are nearly ready to receive public and City Council feedback before making a final decision on the matter.

The task force is still gathering information by studying how other communities have handled deer overpopulation and considering how to formulate a deer management plan in Colorado Springs.

"This is something many places in the East and Midwest have already addressed," said Frank McGee, of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and a task force member.  "But it's something relatively new in Western states."

McGee said the primary options continue to be establishing an urban hunt, or culling -- hiring a professional to thin deer herds -- which would cost the city an undetermined amount of money.

However, some task force members are leaning against a hunt -- citing safety concerns -- and no one has submitted culling proposals to the city a week before the filing deadline.

The task force also discussed what would be done with a large amount of deer meat produced by culling and that it likely would be donated to local food banks and soup kitchens.

For that reason, the task force meeting was held at the Care and Share Food Bank.

However, Care and Share said it rarely receives donations of deer meat, and that all donations would have to be tested for diseases -- which likely would be an expensive process.

"But if it works out, we'd love to have the meat to give to our member agencies," said Care and Share spokeswoman Joanna Wise.  "Protein is hard to come by and it's always in demand."

The task force plans to meet again on April 13.

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