County considers urban hunting to combat exploding deer population

Published: Dec. 7, 2017 at 6:38 PM MST
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There's talk about allowing residents to hunt deer across Colorado Springs and El Paso County.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife proposed it as one of the options to El Paso County commissioners Thursday to deal with the deer population, which they say is exploding.

Area Wildlife Manager Frank McGee said the area is looking at a population seven times higher than the mountains.

"There are 20 deer per square mile here," McGee explained. "Which compared to the mountains only have three deer per mile."

Parks and Wildlife says there are multiple options when it comes to dealing with the over population. Other areas have tried to relocate deer, but that ends up being time intensive, expensive, not always effective, and potentially fatal to the deer.

Wildlife officials mentioned sterilization, or birth control, as an option too, but just like relocation, they said it's not the most effective option to combat growth.

Officers would have to track down every doe and shoot a dart full of birth control into them once or twice per year, and if they miss some, the others will make up for the missing baby deer.

That's why they are pushing for urban hunting: asking licensed volunteers to bow hunt deer in designated areas specified within limit put in by the city or county.

That massive amount of deer not only means Springs drivers will be more likely to hit one, causing a lot of damage to the car, the deer and potentially the driver, but deer are getting aggressive during their mating season.

“Just about a month ago, we had someone very badly gored in the Black Forest area," McGee explained. "She had several puncture wounds, broke her wrists in three places, her ear was badly lacerated. Those are some of the concerns that people have with safety.”

That doesn't include the predators that could follow the deer population, like bears and mountain lions.

The county says this is at the very beginning stages of the process. The public will have plenty of time to weigh in with their opinion on what needs to happen.