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Deer dilemma continues in Colorado Springs

City Council considers overpopulation problem

Deer dilemma continues in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A management plan, an ordinance and a public meeting are the latest efforts by the Colorado Springs City Council to address a deer overpopulation problem.

The problem generally affects the city's west side but is also spreading east.

"When we counted last year, there were 3,000 deer on the west side," said Frank McGee, area wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  "That's ten times more than there should be.  It's not healthy for the population and it leads to disease, property damage and vehicle-deer collisions."

Bret Waters, the city's deputy chief of staff, said the city averages one fatal deer collision per day.

On Friday, members of the city council discussed the matter for the first time since receiving findings from a task force that ended regular meetings this spring.

The council is considering a deer management plan that may include allowing archery hunting in unspecified areas of the city, or culling, which is hiring a professional to thin deer herds.

"In a few weeks, we'll ask for proposals from anyone who can formulate or institute a management plan," Waters said.  "We need to determine how a plan would work, how much it would cost and how we'd pay for it."

Officials also are considering an ordinance, similar to an existing state law, banning the feeding of deer, bears and other animals.

"That's causing a lot of the deer problem," McGee said.  "People think it's good to feed deer and that deer need it, but they don't."

Parks and Wildlife said corn, apples and other fruit, birdseed and salt licks are commonly provided to deer by people.

At least once city council member hoped to have the deer issue ready for a vote next month, but Waters and McGee said they don't anticipate that will happen.

A town hall meeting, allowing the public to learn about the situation and express opinions, is scheduled for Aug. 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., in the city council chamber downtown.

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