Colorado Springs grappling with deer population problem

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Deer are taking over Colorado Springs, and it's not all fun and reindeer games.

"I would say, probably I got more emails about deer than I have about any other single issue," said Colorado Springs City Councilmember Andy Pico.

Take a drive to the west side of the city and you'll see deer everywhere, walking down the streets or making themselves at home in people's yards.

It can make for a picturesque mountain setting, but wildlife officials and city leaders say the reality is darker.

"Last year was 306 deer we picked up on various roads, of being hit by cars, being hung up in fences and so forth," Pico said.

Other problems include the increased potential for crashes -- which can leave the deer and the driver both injured or worse. Wildlife officials say there have been more reports of deer getting aggressive during mating season.

"We had someone very badly gored in the Black Forest area. She had several puncture wounds, broke her wrists in three places, her ear was badly lacerated," Frank McGee with Colorado Parks and Wildlife told 11 News last winter.

When 11 News spoke with McGee then, CPW was looking into options for cutting the deer population, which they would then present to city and county leaders.

Now, it's the city's turn to weigh these options, which they did in a public meeting Monday night. Hosted by Pico, he discussed the three main ideas the city is considering: culling -- or population thinning -- by professionals, urban hunting in specific areas under specific circumstances, or sterilization by surgery or dart.

Wildlife officials say simple relocating isn't always effective and can be potentially fatal to the deer. They have pushed for urban hunting, which they say is more effective than trying to track down every doe and shoot a dart full of birth control into them once or twice per year.

"We are not talking about having urban hunting off your front porch," Pico said. "We might get into something where if there's a large area of acreage that can be controlled, that might be something we can consider."

No decisions have been made yet. At city council's upcoming workshop May 7, CPW will give a presentation about the issue.