Colorado Deer News

... a proposal by the Southwest Colorado Cycling Club that would add 25-30 miles of trails ... disturbing wintering grounds for mule deer... Seasonal closures may be part of the new regulations to protect winter-deer habitat...

... The Walker Ranch conservation is one of the largest, most successful such projects, creating a buffer against development along more than 20 miles of the Fort Carson boundary ... habitat for the ferruginous hawk, scaled quail, burrowing owl, Cassin's sparrow, mule deer and pronghorn antelope...


... In less than a one-mile stretch in northwest Colorado, dead elk litter the ground...  deer and elk struggle through the deep, compact snow... one of the more severe winters we've had in at least the last 10 to 15 years ...

Game Animal Management Efforts Give Mixed Results April 7, 2016 Colorado, Pagosa Daily Post
... Deer and elk hunters in Colorado ... Nearly $2 million from these fees support wildlife management and public land conservation in the state each year...  “If you can find synergies between management for hunted species and conservation for biodiversity, we would be more effectively and holistically managing the land.” ...

Snowed in  April 3, 2016 Colorado, April 4, 2016 The Daily Sentinel
...  Velarde and the Northwest Region field staff earlier this year reported seeing deer, elk and pronghorn trapped by deep snow...  going to see some mortality in some older does as well as some fawns and calves ... despite its ominous start, won’t be remembered as being as difficult as the memorable winters of 1983-84 or 2007-08...

How BLM Regulations Are Made—and Why It Needs to Change April 3, 2016 Colorado, Field and Stream 
...  in the recent draft environmental impact statement for the agency’s White River District in western Colorado, which has been the scene of expedited oil and gas permitting, the BLM claimed the local mule deer herd numbered 106,000 ... “Colorado Parks and Wildlife had recent research showing the herd was actually around 43,000,” ...

Colorado land preservation: Racing to save nature amid growth March 29, 2016 The Denver Post
... Colorado land groups recently locked up 86,000 acres, racing to save nature amid a boom in population growth and development... e 1,840-acre North Park Registered Herefords Ranch, near Walden, which has run for more than 100 years in an area where elk, deer and moose thrive...

The shambled state of Front Range wildlife rehabilitation March 12, 2016 Colorado, Daily Camera
... The killing of this fawn in Boulder County is indicative of the shambled condition of wildlife rehabilitation in the Front Range. The fact that there are no rehabilitation facilities in the Front Range that are licensed to treat deer is a tragedy...

2 deer possibly poached near Hanover, Colorado  March 1, 2016 Colorado, High Plains Journal
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking information on a possible poaching ...  report of two dead deer that had been dumped along Hanover road in eastern El Paso County...  killed on, or around, Jan. 13...

Illegal hunts on the rise in Colorado February 19, 2016 FOX31 Denver
... A southern Colorado outfitter accused of running an illegal big game hunting operation appeared in court recently on charges he lured deer and elk to a ranch in Las Animas County by feeding them..

Popularity of antler hunting leads to restrictions February 18, 2016 Coloradi, Post Independent
... “Shed Wars” is a television show ... “follows the stories of five of the best shed hunting teams in America ... Winter wildlife ranges in those areas have become islands surrounded by a growing number of humans, who are venturing into those ranges to recreate, potentially increase the stress on animals during an already difficult time ...

... Ranchers are feeding elk to help them survive, and deer are foraging for scraps that are left behind ...

Popularity of antler hunting leads to restrictions February 14, 2016 Colorado, Post Independent 
... Winter wildlife ranges in those areas have become islands surrounded by a growing number of humans, who are venturing into those ranges to recreate, potentially increase the stress on animals during an already difficult time ...

Two Deer Possibly Poached Near Hanover, Colorado February 8, 2016 The Prowers Journal
...  two dead deer that had been dumped along Hanover road in eastern El Paso Count ... around January 13 ...  Operation Game Thief hotline: 1 (877) 265-6648...

     Capture and translocation are important tools for managing and studying large ungulates. Although widely used, many established field practices cause fear and stress in subject animals that can hamper overall effectiveness and safety...  For extended tranquilization (during transport and overnight holding), adding a sustained-release haloperidol formulation provides calming effects for at least 24–48 h. In our assessment, appropriate and adaptive use of these tranquilizer combinations benefits captured animals without impeding management or research goals

Boulder animal control officers free deer stuck in hammock February 5, 2016 Colorado, Daily Camera 
... Animal control officers and city Open Space and Mountain Parks rangers were able to get the deer's antlers out of the hammock and the animal ran off apparently unharmed...

Video from Boulder Police Department of a deer stuck in a hammock in the 800 block of Cypress Drive on Feb. 1, 2016


... a possible poaching incident after two dead deer were recently dumped in eastern El Paso County ...

Deer and elk aren't enjoying epic snowfall as much as people are February 4, 2016 Colorado, Vail Daily News 
... If heavy snowfall continues through the month, then Colorado Parks and Wildlife may have to launch a feeding program to ensure animals can weather the winter...

Panel OKs bill allowing hunters to dress in pink February 4, 2015 Colorado, The Daily Sentinel 
... The measure, sponsored by Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and Rep. Yeulin Willett, R-Grand Junction, is intended to help encourage more women to get involved in hunting, and even spur a whole new line of hunting clothes as a way of boosting the economy...

... “Within days of it being completed we started having evidence of deer using the overpass on a daily basis,” said Cowardin.  Images released to CBS4 show deer using an underpass built last summer. New 8-foot fences surround the corridor for miles...

... the new wildlife fences have mostly been successful in keeping deer and other wildlife away from a stretch of roadway between Silverthorne and Kremmling that has seen many wildlife-vehicle collisions over the years.  Connell said footage from game cameras shows many deer are starting to get used to using new wildlife underpasses and overpasses ...

Moose gets caught in backyard swing of Colorado home January 27, 2016 Colorado, Colorado Springs Gazette
... After several difficult hours in its predicament, CPW officers were able to subdue the moose long enough to cut the rope. Appearing relatively unharmed although significantly stressed from its ordeal, the moose first charged its rescuers before running off...

Disturbing video of a bull moose with its antlers caught on a backyard swing is a prime example of the hazards of attracting wildlife to a residential area. - January 26, 2016



Parks and Wildlife votes to ban release of Mexican, gray wolves in state January 16, 2016 Colorado, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
... The resolution was a symbolic move because the issue still resides at the federal level where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is facing a court-ordered mandate to save wolves, an endangered species...


Hunters, conservationist debate mountain lion numbers January 15, 2016 Colorado, Aspen Daily News
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) estimates that there are 5,000 to 7,000 mountain lions in the state... Keefover said habitat loss and lack of nutrition are the largest factor in mule deer population decline, adding that oil and gas activity is claiming vast amounts of mule deer habitat each year...

Time for winter wildlife watching January 13, 2016 Colorado, Loveland Reporter Herald 
... A number of wildlife species remain active in the winter at Rocky Mountain National Park, such as elk, mule deer ... "We have a herd of about 500 to 600 elk that travel between Pinewood Reservoir and Flatiron Reservoir during the winter," ...
 

Deer rubs his antlers at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies January, 2016


Wolf recovery impact debated in state, valley January 2, 2016 Colorado, Aspen Daily News
... Jonathan Lowsky, wildlife ecologist and principal of Basalt-based Colorado Wildlife Science, said ... “The elk would just hang out like cows and eat every willow sucker that came up ... Now that wolves are back, the area is robust. It completely changed the habitat. Songbirds, beavers, otter, and fish have all tremendously benefitted because the elk can’t just sit there and chow down... ”

Thirsty moose and deer cooling off in deer lakes near Lake City, Colorado. A brave little deer followed suit and joined the moose, walking right into the water to the right of where the moose was! Wish everyone could get along as well as these two.. - December 20, 2015


... the first of 24 wildlife underpasses recommended for the 20-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 160 between Bayfield and Durango...  intended for mule deer and elk. These animals require large structures ... about $7 million ... once (the animals) get south of 160, there’s a lot of tribal land that’s basically open ...

Just a small sampling of my morning in da Estes Park 'hood...:-) - December, 2015 Colorado


Hunters And Conservationists At Odds Over a Charismatic Cat December 2, 2015 Colorado, Colorado Public Radio
... cougar hunting has its share of critics who prefer to call it "trophy hunting" ... also people in the state that don't particularly like mountain lions and believe that they cause problems as far as game damage and conflicts with...deer management ...


Attempts to Repopulate Mule Deer November 23, 2015 Colorado, WesternSlopeNow
...  mule deer numbers should be at 600,000 when currently they've counted about 400,000 ... "It's important that we maintain habitat connectivity and decrease fragmentation to wildlife across the state," ... figured out highways could be one of the things creating a loss for the population...


Hunting safety in crosshairs after fatal shooting November 12, 2015 Colorado, The Coloradoan
...  two recent shooting-related fatalities on Colorado’s public forest lands ... have intensified the conversation about the safety of recreational shooting and hunting.  In September, a 14-year-old boy bow hunting with his father on Grand Mesa on the Western Slope was killed by an errant rifle shot from a Minnesota hunter. In July, a 60-year-old man camping in Pike & San Isabel National Forest was killed by an errant bullet from a recreational shooter...

A mule deer buck grazes and drinks from a bird bath in a Parker, Colorado, neighborhood, November, 2015.


Colorado Hunters Cashing In on Sage-Grouse Protections November 5, 2015 Public News Service
... "For a wild, free-ranging deer and elk herds, the habitat that these sage grouse live in is the winter range for these big-game animals," says Ingram. "The limit of what is the carrying capacity for big game is the winter range." ...

Big game hunting pours massive money into state, regional economy October 25, 2015 Colorado, Glenwood Springs Post Independent
... Colorado will see more than a quarter million licensed elk hunters this year... Elk hunting is still Colorado’s top big-game draw. Hunters have a 22 percent success rate, Parks and Wildlife found. Mule deer hunters are successful more than 50 percent of the time...

... Colorado state wildlife officers are temporarily withdrawing a proposal that sought to boost mule deer populations in popular hunting grounds in and around Westcliffe by allowing hunters to kill more mountain lions...

... Parks and Wildlife agents from four different states, including federal agents, are trying to reduce the poaching problem around the region... Agents from Utah, Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado, including Federal Agents will be set up for 36 hours straight ...

Forest Service does simultaneous controlled burns October 14, 2015 Colorado, KOAA.com
... the fire is even good for the forest itself, including the animals.  "Elk and deer do like the open ground to come in and graze.  Then the birds of prey benefit as well because they can see prey on the ground.  It benefits all wildlife," ... 

CPW relies on science and process, mountain lion October 11, 2015 Colorado, The Daily Sentinel 
... For many years, sportsmen and CPW have been concerned about the status of mule deer populations ...The proposal calls for a reduction in lion densities with subsequent assessment of potential changes in deer survival and recruitment in this area, while concurrently monitoring the lion population. Current information suggests a growing lion population of 3,500 to 4,500 animals statewide...
..
Hunting’s allure fades October 9, 2015 Colorado, m.durangoherald.com 
... the younger generations are just not pursuing the sport, according to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife report from May.  The report showed the number of hunters declining steeply from a high of about 363,000 in 1998 to about 281,000 by 2012...

... Colorado Parks and Wildlife is looking to increase deer populations in four game management units north of the Arkansas River ... by allowing hunters to kill more of the big cats that prey on them ... conservation groups, who say that oil and gas development, habitat loss, disease and competition from elk and livestock are bigger threats to mule deer ...

Craig, Officials seek deer poacher near Craig September 29, 2015 Colorado, Summit Daily News
...  injuring a high-quality mule deer buck with an arrow approximately Sept. 9 or 10, near the city of Craig.  The four-point buck had a distinctive ‘kicker’ on the right branch of its 30-inch rack and was often seen in the vicinity of Woodbury Park and Cedar Mountain Village near Craig...

To Avoid Running Out Of Hunters, Colorado Is Bringing More Women To The Sport September 29, 2015 KUNC
... Without expanding the population of people who hunt, “what we were going to do is we were basically going to run out of hunters,” said Jim Bulger, CPW’s outreach and education director. Running out of hunters means the agency would also run out of cash ...

Mountain lion plan merits public scrutiny September 25, 2015 Colorado, Boulder Daily Camera
... The best available science is clear: in order to thrive, mule deer, elk, and bighorn sheep need adequate room to roam and plenty to eat, and not be heavily hunted. In several recent studies, researchers found that killing mountain lions (or coyotes) did not benefit mule deer because their populations were limited by other factors including habitat loss or fragmentation, hunting, poaching, fire suppression ...

Man Told Bird Feeders Have To Go September 23, 2015 Colorado, KKTV 
...  he got a certified letter in the mail saying he was intentionally setting out food for big game, like deer... when he tried to talk to wildlife officials, they told him the bird feeders themselves are not illegal, but if any seed hits the ground, then there's a problem...

Energy firm praised for funding wildlife research September 23, 2015 Colorado, Business Times of Western Colorado
...  mitigation techniques recommended by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and implemented by energy companies have worked in reducing effects on deer... included placing numerous wells on one pad rather than spreading them over a larger area, providing strategically placed wildlife seclusion areas and creating buffer zones ...

New trail will close for winter September 16, 2015 Colorado, Cortez Journal
... The nonmotorized Overlook trail will pass through habitat identified in the 2013 San Juan Land and Resource management plan as "winter concentration" areas for mule deer and elk...

Killing Mountain Lions to Grow Mule Deer: Colorado's Planned Cull Is Ill-Conceived and Unscientific September 15, 2015 Huffington Post
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife is attempting to push through a controversial "study" that would involve killing significantly more numbers of mountain lions (Puma concolor) in hunting units in a portion of Colorado over a five-year span to see if they can increase the mule deer population ...

Craig, Mule deer illegally shot with arrow in Craig last week September 14, 2015 Colorado, Craig Daily Press
   Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are asking the public for help in identifying the person or persons responsible for shooting and injuring a high-quality mule deer buck with an arrow approximately Sept. 9 or 10, in the southwest side of the city  ...  It survived the initial wound but was euthanized by CPW ... Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648

Colorado offers variety, options, ease for hunters September 12, 2015 Colorado, Craig Daily Press
... In Colorado, a deer or elk with four points on each antler would be referred to as a four-point buck or bull ... whereas the same animal would be called an “eight-point” in the east ... It’s also standard practice in Georgia ... to count the brow tines or eye guards in the total number of points ...

More Mountain Lions Could Be In The Crosshairs Next Year September 10, 2015 Colorado, CBS Local
... The proposal was prompted by the decreasing mule deer population in Colorado. CPW believes the main cause of the decrease is mountain lions.  “We do have evidence that there has been extensive predation in this area that’s why biologists and researchers selected this as our proposal,”  ...

Deer steer clear of energy rigs September 9, 2015 Colorado, The Daily Sentinel 
... The study used global-positioning-system tracking data from collared deer, and one of its key findings was that deer on average stay at least a half-mile away from active drilling sites... numbers dropped sharply in the early 1990s, he said. That drop-off occurred at a time of little energy development in the basin, and was part of a larger decline across the West ...

Summit County hunting season has begun September 8, 2015 Colorado, Summit Daily News
... With a population usually ranging from 10-12,000 — and according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, a 44 percent success rate among hunters ... The two varieties ...white-tail and mule ...

Mule deer enjoys freshly mowed honey crisp applesauce for breakfast in Fremont County, Colorado. - September 6, 2015


Why are Colorado wildlife biologists apologizing for the energy industry?  September 5, 2015 Summit County Citizens Voice 
... The study showed that the region’s dwindling mule deer population shies well away from active drilling, to a distance of at least 800 meters.  … The agency acknowledged that impacts to mule deer from energy exploration are a cause for concern, then went on to say that the energy companies have also voluntarily funded research to learn more about impacts ...

Appeals court upholds Colorado poaching conviction August 31, 2015 Summit County Citizens Voice
... A convicted northern Colorado poacher will remain in prison after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last week affirming the 41-month prison sentence and fines the former outfitter received in early 2013 for illegally baiting deer and elk with salt...

Hunting and wildlife management in Colorado August 25, 2015 Journal Advocate
...  combination of on-the-ground work and computer analysis helped wildlife biologists recognize in the late 1990s that Colorado's deer population was struggling. In 1999, based on that information, the agency moved to limit the number of deer licenses every year. Deer herds recovered after that action...

Energy Production Impacts on Colorado Deer August 24, 2015 Public News Service
... A new study confirms that oil and gas production in northwest Colorado is disrupting important winter habitat for one of the nation's largest herds of mule deer... A Bureau of Land Management report on Wyoming's Pinedale Anticline drilling area found a 60 percent loss of mule deer population between 2001 and 2009 – oil and gas boom years...

Born Free: Stories from the heart August 23, 2015 Colorado, Steamboat Today
... Flag was a fawn that was picked up by a hiker ... Bye “soft” released Flag behind her home, but the deer kept coming back ... so she decided to load the animals in a trailer to take them to a refuge near Meeker ... Four years later ... I could not believe I was seeing her again and knowing that she was okay. Her mate called to her from the hillside and off she went. She came back many times that fall...


Colorado data: A 2015 deer population of about 445,000. The mild winter allowed for better survival, especially in the northwest. The 2014 post-hunt population was estimated at 424,190 compared to 391,000 in 2013.  An estimated 424,000 mule deer in 2015. The objective is 500,000 to 556,000.  Deer are generally doing well in the central and northern mountains.  Low birth rates for deer and elk in the Aspen area, a recent concern. Populations declined from 2005 into 2013.
     About 390,600 mule deer and 20,000 whitetails in 2013 and 2014.  CPW estimated the total deer population fell by 36 % from 614,000 in 2005.  Deer licenses were reduced in 2014 to help boost the population. Licenses were 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. About 461,000 in 2011, 600,000 in 2000.  Mule deer hunters have about a 50 percent success rate.  In 2014, 169,000 hunters applied for Colorado deer licenses. In 2015, 83,200 deer licenses were available, about 400 more licenses than 2014. 
     The current population is one half to one third of the herd size in the 1940's 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 success rate for the state's 74,000 hunters in 2013 was about 44 percent, about 48 percent in 2014 for 57,000 hunters.  Total deer and elk license revenues in 2013 were about $46 million.   Bucks were 77 percent of the 2014 deer harvest. 
    Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), caused by misfolded proteins, was first detected in 1967 at the Colorado Division of Wildlife Foothills Wildlife Research Facility in Fort Collins among captive deer held in a pen next to sheep with Scrapie, also a prion based disease. In the 1980's it was found in wild mule deer and elk in Colorado and Wyoming. Through the 1990's it spread to Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Oklahoma,Nebraska, and Montana.
     The 2014 post hunt elk population was estimated at 280,000, about 264,000 in 2013, about 280,000 in 2012, down from the peak of about 305,000 in 2001. More than any other state, a managed decline.  Elk hunters have about a 22 percent success rate.
    The pronghorn post-hunt estimate for 2014 is 73,000 up from 66,000 in 2013 and at about the state objective of 67,000 to 76,000.
     The moose population was estimated at 2,400 in 2015.  Colorado's moose population was repopulated stating in the 1970's.  In 1978, state wildlife officers transplanted 24 male and female moose from Wyoming and Utah into North Park in the northern part of the state. By 2012, the breeding population of moose in Colorado was estimated at 2,300.
     The 2015 bear population is estimated at 17,000 to 20,000.
     During the mid to late 1800's, populations of deer, elk and other species were decimated to feed miners and settlers during the gold rush.  Colorado established a wildlife protection agency in 1879 to set limits and seasons on hunting.
     The mountain lion population is estimated at 3,500 to 4,500 in 2015.  Another estimate at 5,000 to 7,000.
      Wolves were nearly exteriminated by the 1930s with the last kill reported the the early 1940s.  

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 Parks and Wildlife 2015 Strategic Plan
- Colorado Mule Deer Story prepared to help understand declining mule deer populations
Colorado Mule Deer Association
Tweet on this timeline using #Colorado #Deer

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