Colorado Springs mulls deer cull with ur­ban hunt

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By The Den­ver Post

Colorado Springs could wel­come ur­ban hunters if city lead­ers agree with state wildlife of­fi­cials that hunt­ing could re­duce car crashes and im­prove pub­lic safety. But the pro­posal is a stark con­trast to other state ef­forts to protect deer.

The Gazette re­ports Colorado Parks and Wildlife of­fi­cials have met with con­cerned res­i­dents and law en­force­ment dur­ing the past year about the threat deer pose.

CPW area wildlife man­ager Frank McGee said he has met with four city coun­cil mem­bers and dis­cussed us­ing an ur­ban hunt­ing pro­gram like those in some ru­ral Colorado com­mu­ni­ties to con­trol the deer. An­other op­tion could be to re­cruit sharp­shoot­ers.

Wildlife of­fi­cials ear­lier this month rec­om­mended ur­ban hunt­ing in Cañon City, which could join Sal­ida and Buena Vista in al­low­ing deer hunt­ing in city lim­its. La Veta and Alam­osa also in­vite hunters. For a fourth year, Elizabeth will is­sue per­mits to archers to thin the deer herd.

Colorado Springs an­i­mal rights sup­port­ers Diane Freed and Tinya Duffy told the Gazette they were as­tounded by the idea.

“I can­not imag­ine al­low­ing firearms in the city lim­its. People can’t just be go­ing around and be like, ‘Oops, I missed, I hit your win­dows.’ That’s ridicu­lous,” Freed said.

But a hunt­ing pro­gram at the Air Force Academy has dra­mat­i­cally re­duced the num­ber of deer-auto col­li­sions from nearly 200 per year to 20 or 30.

Wildlife bi­ol­o­gists have raised concerns about de­clin­ing deer pop­u­la­tions statewide.

In December, CPW com­mis­sion­ers voted unan­i­mously to em­bark on a $4.5 mil­lion preda­tor-con­trol ex­per­i­ment to kill moun­tain lions and bears in an ef­fort to boost the deer pop­u­la­tion.

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