Colorado Deer News

... Hunting licenses in the state have decreased six to ten thousand every year...  idea is to increase resident hunting license fees which haven’t changed since 2006, that would bring in four to ten million dollars a year...

These hikes aren't healthy for wildlife December 2, 2014 Colorado, The Durango Herald
... People entering wildlife winter ranges add to the stress and people with dogs even more ...  Dogs off leash put tremendous pressure on deer and elk ...


Endearing deer endure winter December 1, 2014 Colorado, Boulder Daily Camera
... In 1947, no resident white-tailed deer populations were reported in Colorado. However, human activities, such as farming, plus the increase in cottonwoods and other vegetation along rivers, have favored the spread of white-tails from the East ...

... 16 of the 18 leases issued on the top of the plateau will be canceled, effectively protecting about 90 percent of its 38,000 acres of federal land — and the bulk of the plateau’s sensitive resources — from future energy development... crucial mule deer and elk habitat ...

... Throughout Colorado, deer are entering the mating season and residents are reminded to put away equipment in which big game animals can become tangled. Residents are also asked to be careful how outdoor Christmas decorations are hung.  On Nov. 8, a large mule deer buck got stuck in the ropes of a batting cage at Durango High School. Fortunately, a passerby saw the deer and alerted Colorado Parks and Wildlife. A wildlife officer sawed off the animal's antlers to set it free...

Colorado Parks and Wildlife seeks poachers November 24, 2014 Colorado, Mountain Mail Newspaper
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are asking the public for help in finding the person responsible for killing and abandoning two doe mule deer off U.S. 24 approximately 2 miles east of Wilkerson Pass in Park County.  The incident occurred on the evening of Nov. 1, the opening day of third rifle season...

Colorado deal protects most of wild plateau from drilling November 21. 2014 Colorado, Deseret News
... Most of the wild and gas-rich Roan Plateau in western Colorado will be off-limits to drilling under a compromise announced Friday ... Deer, elk, mountain lions, bears and falcons live among its forests and open terrain...

Habitat and herbivore density: Response of mule deer to habitat management  EJ Bergman, PF Doherty, GC White, DJ Freddy - The Journal of Wildlife Management, 2014
... Total deer densities varied between 20–84 deer/km2 in southern study units and 4–12 deer/km2 in northern study units. We did not observe a consistent pattern of higher deer density on advanced treatment study units despite it being the primary hypothesis of the study. We observed a wide range of variation in deer density among years...

Why you should support hunting in Colorado November 18, 2014 Colorado, The Denver Post
...  Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives little revenue from the state's general fund to manage our fish and wildlife resources ... Around 40 percent of the agency's funding comes from hunting and fishing licenses, 15 percent comes from sales taxes on hunting related equipment ... 

Hunter cited after deer shot near Red Rocks November 18, 2014 Colorado, Denver Channel ABC News
...  A couple of hikers at Red Rocks were shocked to see a hunter shoot a deer at the park last week... Morrison Police showed up and cited the men for illegal hunting in a Denver Park...

CPW pitches plan to bring back deer numbers November 12, 2014 Colorado, The Durango Herald
... The mule deer numbers are in decline in Western Colorado and all across the Western U.S... Eight-foot fences have to be built along the highways to help funnel deer to the underpasses. The department plans to start with underpasses beneath a highway in Grand County. U.S. Highway 550 from Montrose to Ouray and along U.S. Highway 50 from Gunnison to Monarch pass are also slated for construction...

Colder weather should benefit elk hunters in fourth season November 12, 2014 Colorado, The Denver Post
... Elk populations peaked in the state in 2001, with an estimated population of 305,000. Game managers have since identified a lower objective for the elk population and have intentionally been drawing down the population for the past 15 years to a more manageable 264,000... Deer populations throughout the central mountains and plains have been strong ... but the declining mule deer numbers in western Colorado ...

Testicular Lesions and Antler Abnormalities in Colorado, USA Mule Deer:  A Possible Role for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus   KA Fox, B Diamond, F Sun, A Clavijo, L Sneed… - Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 2014
... Antler abnormalities of deer and other cervids often result from testicular lesions and decreased levels of testosterone, inhibiting normal cycles of antler growth. Affected males have antlers with retained velvet, numerous short, misshapen points (“cactus bucks”), and failure to shed these abnormal antlers annually. In Colorado, we observed a high occurrence of “cactus bucks” in mule deer ...  Although the role of EHDV infection remains unconfirmed, the association between testicular and epididymal lesions and presence of EHDV RNA in the affected tissues suggests that cactus buck antlers may be a sequela of EHDV infection....

... a stretch of Highway 9 north of Silverthorne ... 550 animals have died after being hit by cars and trucks in the last nine winter seasons, or about 61 a year.  More than 90 percent of those deaths are mule deer ... a private donor started the push ... building two wildlife overpasses and five underpasses in just over 10 miles of the road ...



Wildlife behavior to change with the weather November 3, 2014 Colorado,  Aspen Times
... Lower temperatures will encourage the local deer and elk populations to begin their move to lower elevations ...  there are already some deer and elk in the Aspen area, but the temperatures have been so high and the weather so dry that the real migration to lower elevations hasn’t kicked in yet...

Elizabeth, Town explains plan to cull deer October 31, 2014 Colorado, elbertcountynews.net
...  it did remove a restriction prohibiting the discharge of bows within designated areas inside the city limits and allowed a select number of bow hunters to hunt on city property ... estimated deer inside the town limits on any given day at 100 ...

Prescribed burn planned on Basalt Mountain October 29, 2014 Colorado, Aspen Times
... The prescribed burn is intended to promote growth of vegetation that will provide an improved food source for wildlife and create habitat conditions that will encourage wintering deer and elk to stay in the area rather than move to lower elevation on private lands, where they can be a nuisance...

Two New Mule Deer Foundation Chapters Formed in Colorado October 29, 2014 Colorado, AmmoLand.com
... The Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) now has an even greater presence in Colorado thanks to the formation of new chapters in Loveland/Fort Collins and Woodland Park.  The new chapters will help MDF work with the state to strengthen mule deer populations and improve habitat...

Colorado big-game hunting season structure approved October 28, 2014 Aspen Daily News
... the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the 2015-19 five-year big-game season structure ... More than 400,000 hunters come to Colorado each year, contributing more than $561 million to the state’s economy... The big-game season structure through 2019 is unchanged for deer, elk and moose. But, muzzleloader season for pronghorn will now open on Sept. 21 ... 

Sportsmen seek room for wildlife amid drilling push October 21, 2014 Colorado, Environment Energy Publishing
... in the 1980s ... Mule deer were plentiful in the Piceance Creek Basin between Rangely, Meeker and Rifle, numbering upward of 30,000 animals ... mule deer numbers are only half as large ... As deer numbers shrank, oil and gas companies -- aided by new drilling technologies and rising demand -- boomed... fragmented habitats, fouled mountain air and more traffic...
... Colorado's northwest region already has seen its share of suspected poaching incidents, including a pair of flagrant violations in the Roaring Fork Valley that led to the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust offering $10,000 in reward money — on top of CPW rewards ...

When climate change comes after even the most common species October 13, 2014 Colorado, PBS NewsHour
...  the iconic mule deer, whose herds have been declining across the Western U.S. In Colorado severe winters, drought conditions, habitat loss and wildfires have conspired to drag the deer headcount down by 36 percent from 2005 to 2013. To prevent further declines, Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) recently launched a landscape-based conservation initiative  ...

Big game hunting means big money for Colorado October 12, 2014 Colorado, CT Post
... Colorado's nearly $1 billion hunting industry ... Colorado Parks and Wildlife collected $38 million in elk and deer licenses from nonresidents in 2012-2013, compared with $7.6 million from in-state hunters... Of the roughly 575,000 big-game and small-game hunting licenses sold annually, about 86,000 are to nonresidents ...

As Colorado's mule deer decline, so may conservation funding September 25, 2014 Colorado Public Radio
... by 1950, deer populations were at an all-time high. Half a century before there had been too few to hunt. Yet, experts believe the current drop is exacerbated by human factors that include increasing residential development, highway expansions drilling for oil and gas, and vehicle accidents. Additionally, some experts suggest that growing elk populations could also be why deer numbers are declining...

... Overall, we predict that debarking of small trees living in heavy snow areas should occur even at low deer densities (<10 deer/km2). Browsing on dwarf bamboo should occur at intermediate deer densities (10–30 deer/km2), while debarking of thick trees living in low snow areas should occur only at high deer densities (≥30 deer/km2). Our study shows that debarking and browsing on understory vegetation are appropriate indices for evaluating deer impacts on forest ecosystems, but that tree size, snow depth, and the type of understory vegetation should also be considered...

Poaching info sought September 20, 2014 Colorado, The Pueblo Chieftain
... The carcass of a buck mule deer, whose head had been removed, was found on Las Animas County Road 197.6 ... $500 reward ...

Wildlife Advocates Join Experts to Reverse Mule Deer Declines September 17, 2014 Colorado, National Wildlife Federation
... along with other Western states, Colorado and Wyoming have experienced decreases in mule deer populations ... The National Wildlife Federation and Colorado Wildlife Federation produced the fact sheet “Legacy in the Crosshairs: Colorado’s ‘Mule-Deer Factory’ on the Decline,” which focuses on the renowned White River Herd. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has held meetings across the state and is developing a plan to address the decreasing populations...

During my recent elk hunt in Colorado, I had a close encounter with a group of mule deer that wandered in to about 15 yards from my location. I was kneeling in the high grass behind a large pine tree watching a pinch point when I noticed movement over my left shoulder. Since it wasn’t mule deer season and I didn’t have a tag, I had the pleasure of just observing and videoing these beautiful animals. - September 16, 2014



Colorado data: About 390,600 mule deer and 20,000 whitetails in 2013 and 2014.  CPW estimates the total deer population has fallen by 36 % since 2005, from 614,000.  Deer licenses have been reduced in 2014 to help boost the population. Licenses have been reduced from 130,106 in 2007 to about 80,000 in 2014.  The post hunt deer population in the spring of 2012 was estimated at 408,000 - 418,000 deer. Colorado statistics. About 461,000 in 2011, 600,000 in 2000.  The current population is one half to one third of the herd size in the 1940s and far below the pre-settlement numbers. Causes for the decline are thought to include habitat fragmentation and decline quality, a decline of winter range from human population growth, disease, predation from mountain lions, harsh winters in 2007 and 2008, competition from elk, migration barriers, drought, and outdoor recreation.   
    The nation's largest mule deer herd in northwest Colorado has fallen from 105,900 in 2005 to about 32, 000.  A peak of 625,000 mule deer in 1983. Does make up about one quarter of the harvest.  The mule deer buck-to-doe ratio is about 31 to 100. The Middle Park deer herd of about 15,350 has been extensively studied.  The success rate for the state's 74,000 hunters in 2013 was about 44 percent.  Total deer and elk license revenues in 2013 were about $46 million.
    Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), caused by misfolded proteins, was first detected in 1967 at Colorado State University, in captive deer held in a pen next to sheep with Scrapie. In the 1980s it was found in wild mule deer and elk in Colorado and Wyoming. Through the 1990s it spread to Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Oklahoma,Nebraska, and Montana.
     In 2014 there were about 264,000 elk, about 280,000 in 2012, down from the peak of about 305,000 in 2001. More than any other state, a managed decline  About 71,000 pronghorns; 76,710 pronghorn sheep; 3,500 to 4,500 mountain lions. Another estimate for 2011 was 430,000 deer and 286,000 elk. An estimated 16,000 to 18,000 bears.

Report Poaching:  call Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648 or email a tip to game.thief@state.co.us

Other useful links:
- Colorado Mule Deer Story prepared to help understand declining mule deer populations
Colorado Mule Deer Association
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Tweets about deer in Colorado


Historical Deer Population
"Historical records testify to the original abundance of mule deer encountered by early settlers ... As a result of this large-scale harvesting, the Colorado Territory established its first wildlife protection agency in 1879 ... mule deer populations didn't fully rebound until after the dust bowl era of the early to mid 1930s. While exact numbers were not collected until the 1970s, wildlife professionals generally agree that herds reached modern highs in the 1940s, with populations between two or three times as large as the current 2012 post-hunt estimate of 420,000." John Ceballos 

Tweets about Colorado Parks and Wildlife



Mule deer captured by a helicopter for a Colorado Parks and Wildlife study

Draft SCIF Mule Deer 2