Colorado Deer:  An estimated population of 419,000 in 2017, 436,000 deer in 2016, a decline in part as a result of a harsh winter. In 2015 about 445,000 deer. The mild 2014-15 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.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Colorado deer hunting data and news archive. 

Colorado Deer News

State officials look to reduce car collisions with animals November 16, 2017 Colorado, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
... a 10.5-mile stretch of Colorado Highway 9 completed in 2015 in Grand County, with the first wildlife overpass built in the state... officials have seen an 87 percent reduction in the carcasses counted along the roadway, which they've been counting since 2006. The average until the project's construction was 63 carcasses per year, mostly deer..,

Deer mating season prompts call for clean yards, caution November 14, 2017 Colorado, The Denver Channel
... pick up items that might snare the animals ... “We’ve seen bucks hung up in things like hammocks, clotheslines and plastic fencing,” ...

Public Comment Sought on Deer Management Plan November 8, 2017 Colorado, Pagosa Daily Post
... The draft plan for GMUs 53 and 63 proposes a deer population of 7,500–9,500 mule deer, with a ratio of 33–38 bucks per 100 does. To read the full proposal, visit this website... comment until November 30... [areas are located in an area on the south flank of the Grand Mesa north of the town of Delta in western Colorado]

... Federal officials will also suspend plans to kill cougars or bears there to boost deer numbers  ... had planned to shoot as many as 45 mountain lions and 75 bears in western Colorado ...

CPW looks at more expensive fees, licenses November 4, 2017 Colorado, Glenwood Springs Post Independent
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife ... has seen multimillion-dollar deficits, and it expects that to continue... doesn't have the authority to raise resident hunting and fishing license fees or park entrance fees ...

Colorado Parks and Wildlife to test for chronic wasting disease in area deer November 4, 2017 Colorado, Loveland Reporter-Herald
...  southern Larimer County ... northern Larimer County bring in their animals for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing... 

Road kill on rise in Colorado October 28, 2017 WRAL.com
... vehicles killed more than 4,600 deer on Colorado highways last year... fewer than 3,000 in 2013...

Endemic chronic wasting disease causes mule deer population decline in Wyoming.  MT DeVivo, DR Edmunds, MJ Kauffman… - PloS one, 2..017
...  We determined the effect of CWD on mule deer demography using age-specific, female-only, CWD transition matrix models to estimate the population growth rate (λ).   Mule deer were captured from 2010-2014 in southern Converse County Wyoming, USA ... 

Chronic Wasting in Colorado October 22, 2017 Colorado, Rio Blanco Herald Times
...  mule deer herds from Steamboat Springs to Grand Junction across the Flat Tops and Roan Plateau have CWD infection rates of around 50 percent of the herds. Elk herd infection rates according to the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife are 30 percent...

Planning Commission continues discussion on Raven Rock development October 20, 2017 Colorado, Estes Park Trail-Gazette
... "This development contains significant areas onsite that elk and deer will be able to walk around and in the retention ponds," ...  a study ...included a number of provisions to protect wildlife that would travel through the development... three of the 10 acres would be kept open space... no fencing or obstructions built to impede wildlife crossings... HOA covenants would outline measures to be practiced to protect wildlife...

Wildlife impacts top list of Crystal River Trail doubts October 17, 2017 Colorado, Aspen Times
... "the most significant change in the last five to 10 years is the dramatic increase in recreational pressure." He points to struggling mule deer and elk populations, as evidenced by falling fawn-to-doe and calf-to-cow ratios. "This is a very disturbing trend ...

Colorado boasts the largest elk herd in North America October 10, 2017 Colorado, The Denver Post
... over the 300,000 ...  To maintain the current level there has also been a slight reduction in the number of licenses issued. ... Warmer than normal weather over the last couple years has resulted in below average harvest numbers..,

CPW's dubious call October 10, 2017 Colorado, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
...  the agency is refusing to disclose the results of a first year of work removing bears and mountain lions from a part of the Roan Plateau for a study on the effects on mule deer numbers... it looks like it’s hiding something ...  This is public information paid for by public funds...

Wildlife on move as weather changes October 5, 2017 Colorado, Aspen Daily News
... Police Chief Brian Olson has had to destroy deer who were hit by vehicles while crossing Brush Creek Road ... A project that included partner CDOT focused on the numerous vehicle/animal collisions on Highway 9 between Silverthorne and Kremmling and resulted in the construction of under and over passes that have allowed for safer crossings ...

Colorado Parks and Wildlife considers funding mechanisms September 26, 2017 The Durango Herald
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife has not raised hunting and fishing license fees since 2005 ... bill requested would be able to peg license fees to the inflation rate ... did not pass...

Locally harvested deer to be tested for neurological diseaseChronic Wasting Disease, CWD  September 17, 2017 Colorado, Glenwood Springs Post Independent
... According to CPW, about half of the deer herds and one-third of elk herds in Colorado are infected by CWD, presenting a significant threat to the health of the cervid populations... If CWD infection rates are high enough, the population may not be able to sustain itself," ... requiring thousands of deer hunters to submit their harvested animals for testing ...

Potential epidemic affecting Colorado's deer herds September 5, 2017 Colorado, 9NEWS.com
... Chronic Wasting Disease ... can be found in half of Colorado's deer herds and one-third of the elk herds in our state ... they look a bit confused and they'll start walking in circles animals look emaciated ... Northern Colorado has most of the infected deer and elk herds...

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Releases 2017 Hunting Forecast September 3, 2017 Kiowa County Press
... according to Andy Holland, Big-Game Coordinator for CPW... the deer population has dropped from 600,000 in 2005 to 419,000 this year. Declines have been noted in western Colorado where the largest herds are located... Mule deer populations in the central part of the state are doing well ..,

This video provides statewide and regional forecasts for the 2017 Colorado big-game seasons.


BLM thinning pinyon-juniper stands near Rifle Gap August 10, 2017 Colorado, Glenwood Springs Post Independent
... will also create openings in thick stands of mountain shrubs ... This technique has been widely successful in western Colorado for improving wildlife habitat and reducing large wildfire risk. The short-term impact to the area will result in a decade or more of great habitat for mule deer, elk and other wildlife.” ... Hilary Boyd,wildlife biologist ...

Mule Deer Management Guidelines Data Analysis Unit D-3 July, 2017 (released in August), N Region, Colorado, J Yost 
...   North Central Colorado ... comprises all of Jackson County,... The reasons for this decline in deer likely can be attributed to many factors. The severe winters of 1983-84, of 1992-93 and 1995-96, 2007-08 and 2010-11 killed many fawns and adult deer. After each killer winter the herd never fully recovered. On top of winter kill elk numbers were increasing during this time period, pronghorn numbers increased substantially and moose were introduced to North Park reducing the available winter range for mule deer. Over hunting “local” deer up through the early 1970’s may have also contributed to a long term decline in deer wintering in North Park. ...

... Drivers in Colorado killed nearly 7,000 wild animals last year, resulting in two human death ... two overpasses and five underpasses on a notoriously dangerous 10-mile stretch of road between Silverthorne and Kremmling, collisions have decreased by 87 percent... 

A fawn ended up in a basement in the Green Mountain area. - July 25, 2017


Colorado Springs deer could become targets of urban hunters July 19, 2017 Colorado, Colorado Springs Gazette
... deer munching on private greenery and dying on nearby highways ... urban hunting is probably the best way to go," City Councilman Don Knight ... studies suggest 20 deer reside in every square mile of the city's southwest corner ... "My impression is that, in general, the public likes to see the deer." [Sallie Clark ... former city councilwoman] ...

Hunters give big game input to CPW  July 16, 2017 Colorado, Valley Courier
...  in the late 90s [unit E-32] ... the population was approximately 12,000-14,000... CPW increased hunting which lowered the population to roughly 4,000-5,000 elk ... Now the population is approximately 10,000 elk ... the post-season herd in Colorado. That means that the roughly 25-30 percent of elk that migrate to New Mexico aren’t counted...

Longmont Times-Call
 ...Colorado's moose population is more than 3,000 and growing ... CPW estimates the state's bear population at 17,000 and the mountain lion population at 4,500... nearly 278,000 elk..,

... The game wardens said trapping and relocating isn't the answer, and neither is using a contraceptive [see research] ...  hunting with archery equipment is allowed in city limits if a permit has been issued... The issue will be a question on a survey ... 

... The $1 million system was designed to detect wildlife,  ...  after several years of research and making repairs, the Colorado Department of Transportation has largely given up on the technology in favor of cheaper fencing and wildlife tunnels to reduce animal/vehicle collisions... 

Public input needed for elk and deer herd planning June 28, 2017 Colorado, Valley Courier
...Public input is needed to help CPW draft the management plan that will set goals for the most-desired population, sex-ratio objectives and the amount of hunting opportunity that will be available in the area for the next decade...
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife will hold public meetings in the Gunnison Basin and Paonia/North Fork areas to discuss its work on updating big-game management plans... [meetings on June 27,  July 6, August 9] 

... CPW suggested City Council sterilize the animals, trap and relocate them, or use controlled urban hunts ... After living in Colorado Springs for a long time, Richard Nichols now lives in Woodland Park. He said the deer are part of what makes the area so great.  ...

Woodland Park may legalize deer hunting within residential areas June 9, 2017 Colorado, The Mountain Jackpot
... Based on scientific counts, reinforced with data tabulated from helicopter flyovers, the wildlife officials estimated that the Woodland Park area sprouts with a population of 284 deer within a 7-mile area, which amounts to a count of 40 deer per square mile [this is equal to the target deer density for the whole state of Delaware] ...

... . In a 5-mile segment where 30 were usually found, there were just 3... The two wildlife overpasses are the first in Colorado ... 

...  buck found dead near the town of Nucla in western Colorado tested positive for chronic wasting disease ...

Predator study to proceed after judge rejects injunction May 14, 2017 Colorado, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
... A judge has declined to suspend Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s killing of bears and lions in a mule deer study while a lawsuit challenging the project plays out... The agency also is planning a three-phase, nine-year study involving manipulating lion counts ...

Wildlife management hijacked by special interests April 29, 2017 Colorado, Boulder Daily Camera
...  Comprehensive studies demonstrate that habitat loss, oil and gas exploration, and competition with domestic livestock are the major culprits for deer population decline. Unfortunately, Colorado's wildlife management has been hijacked by special interest groups...

... two projects that cleared encroaching conifers on more than 640 acres of mule deer winter range...  “CPW documented a drop in mule deer populations on the western slope of Colorado and recognized that habitat loss as well as the decline in quality of remaining habitat are key factors in this decline...

        Check out these up close photos of wildlife using new highway crossings April 18, 2017 Colorado, 9NEWS.com
... the Colorado Highway 9 Wildlife Crossing Project, is nearly complete ... mainly mule deer; 7,000 of the deer used the crossings between December 2015 and March 2016...

Predator reduction plan hits resistance April 17, 2017 Colorado,l Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
... its new Piceance project is intended to determine if predation is limiting fawn survival rates in spring and summer. It plans to have Wildlife Services remove five to 10 lions annually there over the next three years, and 10 to 25 bears a year over the same period...

... Wildlife conservation groups sued the U.S. government on Wednesday seeking to halt a plan to trap and kill as many as 120 mountain lions and black bears in Colorado in a bid to stem declines in populations of mule deer ...

... Shed antler hunting was restricted between March 3 through April 15 ... in Northwest Colorado to protect wildlife that endured a severe winter...

CPW and the oil and gas industry can't have it both ways March 16, 2017 Colorado, Boulder Weekly
... CSU scientists argued that habitat factors, like oil and gas development, are likely the largest factors limiting mule deer populations, as opposed to CPW who argued that predation from mountain lions and bears has more of an impact...

We have been seeing this male deer around Hallam Lake for over a year now (he has distinct markings above his eyes), and he seems to have a mate this year! March 15, 2017 Colorado, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies


Numbers Game March 9, 2017 Colorado, The Daily Planet
... Elk are by far the most popular animal to hunt, with 223,274 people purchasing elk licenses in 2015 ...  the state’s decreased mule deer population, which has been fluctuating below previous highs of 600,000 deer before the 1980s. While CPW estimated the population at a high of 613,450 in 2006, it has since dropped back down. Its lowest point was 390,660, in 2013; in 2015, estimates were that the number of deer rose again to 435,660...

Survival of the fittest March 2, 2017 Colorado, The Daily Planet
... the debate regarding whether Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) should be allowed to kill black bears and mountain lions ... that would help determine the animals’ impacts on mule deer populations ... In the pro-predator-control camp are government agency scientists and a wide range of hunting industry and association representatives. In the anti-predator-management circle are university scientists and many environmental and animal protection advocates ...

... the annual banquet hosted by Northwest Colorado Chapter of Mule Deer Foundation ...about 215 people attended the fundraiser dinner, a number on the rise... calculated that the night would bring in about $50,000 for the organization...

Former Elbert County deputy wanted in deer poaching case February 24, 2017 Colorado, The Denver Post
... faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges including attempting to influence a public servant, trespassing, destruction of big game wildlife, hunting without a license, illegal possession of wildlife, shooting from a public road and hunting with artificial light...

Are predators real cause for declining mule deer? February 18, 2017 Colorado, Glenwood Springs Post Independent
... “From the literature, what we’ve seen is predation doesn’t typically have an impact on the whole population,” [George Wittemyer, a professor in the CSU Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology] ... he believes that habitat treatment would be a better focus for CPW research. By habitat treatment, he means ensuring that mule deer have enough shelter and food ...

... to be tested for chronic wasting disease this year.  Hunters who apply for licenses in the Southwest, Northwest and Northeast, regions will be randomly selected to submit the animal’s head ... the state asked for voluntary submissions but too few hunters participated ...

... a mandatory chronic wasting disease (CWD) check on all deer hunted in three out of the state's four regions:  Southwest,  Northwest,  Northeast ...

'Shed Hunting' Becoming Dangerous To Colorado's Wildlife February 12, 2017 Colorado, CBS Local
... especially this spring the animals are under extra stress. They are receiving reports of people on motorized vehicles chasing elk and deer herds in hopes of collecting a fresh pair of antlers dropped by a startled animal...

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission plans to euthanize mountain lions February 2, 2017 Rocky Mountain Collegian
... Their plan, titled “Piceance and Arkansas Predator Control Plans,”... CPW is not suggesting that the removal of predators is the solution to increasing statewide deer numbers to 560,000. These two research projects are designed to evaluate the extent to which predation is limiting deer population ...
... An area that would normally get about 50 inches of snow for an entire season saw 60 inches in four weeks... a spike in road-kill ...  a baiting program to move deer and elk away from the highway.... the bait sites can quickly be converted to feed sites if weather conditions deteriorate...

Will Harsh Conditions Devastate Colorado Deer and Elk? January 26, 2017 Outdoor Life Magazine
... The last full-blown winter feeding operation conducted in the Gunnison Basin happened during the winter of 2007-2008 when a sustained period of extreme cold, combined with more than 100 inches in snow, resulted in the loss of more than 30 percent of the fawns and female mule deer. That feeding operation cost the state approximately $2.8 million...

WildEarth Guardians Sues Colorado over Plan to Kill Black Bears, Mountain Lions January 25, 2027 EnviroNews
... The Piceance Basin Predator Management Plan is a three-year strategy to kill between five and 15 mountain lions and 10 to 25 bears annually, “with higher levels possible.” The project will use “cage traps, culvert traps, foot snares, and trailing hounds for capture and a firearm will be used for euthanasia.” ...

.. moving ahead with an emergency operation to bait deer with food to try to draw them away from a highway – a project reflecting worries about deer survival after heavy snowfall and a spike in vehicles hitting deer along the highway that cuts through critical habitat...

CPW to commence 'baiting' operation January 17, 2017 Colorado, Gunnison Country Times
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW will start a baiting operation in the Gunnison Basin to move deer and elk away from roads and to counter the effects of recent snowfall ...

Summer-fall home-range fidelity of female elk in northwestern Colorado: Implications for aspen management  AM Brough, RJ DeRose, MM Conner, JN Long - Forest Ecology and Management, 2017
... We found adult female elk in the White River Study area exhibited strong fidelity to individual home ranges...  Hunting increased the distance traveled by individual elk, but did not change the center of their home-range ...

In this video, we get to see two visitors of Hallam Lake; mule deer and elk. While these animals look alike and come from the same family, they are quite different!


A Poached Mule Buck Deer Found in Northwest Grand Junction January 12, 2017 Colorado, WesternSlopeNow
... The poached deer was found in a field just off of 24 Road around 8:30 pm.  The poacher did not cut the antlers off the deer or harvest the meat... call Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648 ...

... deer was reported in Aurora & Animal Control freed him from the lights. He walked away safely!...

... deer, elk, pronghorn and bighorn sheep — are often most visible and vulnerable during the winter ... CPW asks people to understand the demands that winter places on wildlife and to minimize disturbances that stress wintering animals...

... the Piceance Basin has been the focus of research and monitoring efforts since the late 1940’s.  Data from studies performed during the 1980’s through the mid-1990’s indicated a high density population of mule deer in the basin (mean winter density = 24/mi ²).  That population began to decline sharply during the early 1990’s to about 1/3 of the previously noted levels (mean winter density=9/ mi ²) ... 

A plan to kill mountain lions and black bears to protect mule deer populations seems to overlook one primary problem: humans. December 17, 2016 Colorado


Colorado West Slope Mule Deer Strategy December 16, 2016 Colorado Parks and Wildlife
... ​Decline in frequency of severe winters recently, resulting in milder winter conditions overall, has resulted in higher winter survival rates, but deer populations have generally remained at lower levels than were evident prior to the 1990s.  ​​​​New information suggests that some deer populations in Colorado are no longer nutritionally limited by poor habitat and therefore predation may be a more important mortality factor ...

... the decision, after more than a year of deliberation and delay, has set off opposition from the Humane Society, wildlife conservation groups and outside scientists who argued killing more lions and bears is costly and ineffective...  blitzed commissioners with evidence that loss of once-vast deer habitat ...

Habitat, habitat, habitat! Carnivores are not the problem December 13, 2016 Colorado,  Boulder Daily Camera
... There are so many different things that are stressing mule deer in Colorado. Fire suppression has closed the forest canopies, and that has reduced the amount of shrubs and forbs that deer rely on; then there is increased human populations, auto/deer accidents, etc. But CPW chooses to focus on carnivores  ...

State regulators consider measure to cull deer predators December 13, 2016 Colorado, Cortez Journal
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on Wednesday will consider the proposal, which would allow for the removal of as many as 15 lions and 25 bears a year from the Roan Plateau, in northwestern Colorado. The plan would be in force for three years to see if it boosts fawn survival rates....

Don't kill predators, protect and grow habitat December 8, 2016 Colorado, The Denver Post
... contracting some of the killing to Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, a program that kills an average of more than 3.2 million animals every year ... According to numerous sources (including studies done by Colorado Parks and Wildlife) the key to survival is the protection of breeding females, access to suitable habitat — especially in the winter, and access to adequate nutrition ...

Deer Raised by Family Forced to Return to Wild December 4, 2016 Colorado, WesternSlopeNow
... found Miss Buck when she was just a fawn, injured by some barbed wire ... CPW has plans to relocate Miss Buck into natural deer habitat, but the Woodhams family is afraid she won't survive in the wild...

...  will be flying at low levels throughout the state's southeast region in order to get a bearing on how deer and elk populations are progressing compared to the agency's desired population models...

... offering a $5,000 reward for information ...

Video shows deer chasing bobcat through backyard November 16, 2016 Colorado, KSL.com
... was filming a bobcat in the yard when a deer began chasing it. The brief pursuit ended when the bobcat jumped over some shrubs and hid beside an air conditioning unit...

Boulder, Possible illegal deer shooting investigated in Boulder's Eldorado Springs November 7, 2016 Colorado, Boulder Daily Camera
... illegal shooting of a deer on city open space in the Eldorado Springs area Sunday... shot illegally and then just left to die there ...

Fort Morgan Times
... Game Management Unit No. 43 ... generates more than 20,000 big game hunting licenses every year ... That large number of licenses means people will pour into the area in search of that trophy buck or elk ...

Colorado’s wild places: Deer today, gone tomorrow? October 29, 2016 Denver Post, Sarah Reed
... increasing residential development was the most important factor associated with declining mule deer populations across western Colorado... as nearly 2.5 million acres of deer habitat was converted to housing between 1980 and 2010, the number of fawns per adult female deer declined by 23 percent. We found that expanding energy development was also associated with decreases ...
     Killing bears and cougars isn't ideal, but the data is important October 28, 2016 Colorado, The Denver Post
... hiring specialized contractors to kill bears and cougars in the Roan Plateau and Arkansas Basin areas to help the dwindling mule deer population in the area ... research has indicated that it isn’t habitat encroachment from the oil and gas industry causing the decline, and at this point they aren’t sure what the issue is [this statement is not true, see research below or at this link] ...

... The statewide population is 110,000 short of the 560,000 deer that wildlife managers deem optimal for the state... CPW hasn’t taken a position on a federal Bureau of Land Management plan to allow up to 15,000 new oil and gas wells on prime deer habitat in northwestern Colorado...

... There are currently 31 wildlife underpasses (and/or overpasses) across Colorado ... Sometimes, we can utilize culverts or bridges that are already in existence ...

...a “predator control” push aimed at saving fawns... The National Wildlife Federation, a hunting and conservation group, emphasizes habitat loss and fragmentation as a primary cause of the decline of Colorado deer. And state biologists have determined that oil and gas drilling in deer habitat is hurting the ability of deer to recover...

Rocky Mountain Deer Forecast for 2016 October 11, 2016 Colorado, Game and Fish
... Andy Holland, Colorado Parks and Wildlife big game manager, told me the current deer population is about 436,000... deer herds seem to have survived the winter in good condition....

Energy development is not impacting survival of deer in Piceance October 9, 2016 Colorado, Glenwood Springs Post Independent
... Ongoing research in the Piceance Basin indicates there is little to no negative impact on mule deer survival from energy development, according to a leading researcher with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  That message, conveyed last week at a Garfield County Energy Advisory Board meeting ... “It does alter their behavior,” ...


...  deer was spotted Aug. 24 drooling and spinning in circles ... because testing is expensive, no other diseases were looked for at the lab in Fort Collins, so it’s unclear why the animal displayed unusual behavior...

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Public Meeting September 15, 2016 WesternSlopeNow
... Colorado Parks and Wildfire want public input regarding a proposal to kill mountain lions and black bears, in response to declining mule deer populations... For those who cannot attend the meeting, but still want to offer input, send an email to dnr_cpwcommission@state.co.us.

A young Mule Deer in Colorado Springs get help from a flock of Magpies who are eating parasites off his back. - September 13, 2016 Colorado


Change the focus of mule deer strategy September 9, 2016 Colorado, Boulder Daily Camera
... two flaws with Colorado Parks & Wildlife's (CPW) mule deer strategy ... CPW lightly mentions habitat improvements but heavily weighs on the "control" of predators... a person can only get on this board by executive order by the governor, not by a vote; this policy needs to be abolished! ...

CPW sees opportunity in latest mule deer study August 25, 2016 Colorado, High Plains Journal
... A negative relationship between residential development, oil and gas development and certain weather conditions and early winter recruitment of mule deer fawns (annual December doe:fawn ratios) was reported. As residential development increased, the association of decreasing early winter recruitment of young mule deer was about twice that of other factors like energy development or weather factors...

Never use pellets to fight pellets August 25, 2016 Colorado, Durango Telegraph
... It is illegal to shoot deer that are eating landscaping in Colorado. At minimum this would be wildlife harassment and could be considered unlawful hunting...   Permanent fencing around the plants to keep out deer is likely the best long-term solution.  Electric fencing could be set up on either a permanent or short-term basis...

Euthanized deer to be tested for chronic wasting disease August 24, 2016 Colorado, The Durango Herald
... A deer that was “acting strangely” was euthanized Wednesday in Durango, and is being sent as a precautionary measure to test for chronic wasting disease ... ound the animal covered in ticks and it was approaching people, so the decision was made to euthanize it...

The delicate balance of managing wildlife August 24, 2016 Colorado, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
... State wildlife officials want to reduce the number of bears and cougars in a 500-acre area of the Roan Plateau to see if survival rates of mule deer fawns improve... fawn weights going into winter have improved... But deer populations remain at about a third of what they were before a big decline in the 1990s ...

CPW to host license fee meeting Wednesday August 21, 2016 Colorado, Steamboat Pilot & Today
... CPW anticipates budget shortfalls, which could be offset by increasing resident license fees. The last increase occurred in 2006 after legislative approval the year before. Since 2009, CPW has cut or defunded 50 positions and cut $40 million from its operating budget...

Predator pushback August 21, 2016 Colorado, The Daily Sentinel
... “Our deer population has really, really crashed,” ... The latest estimate of Colorado’s mule deer population is just under 450,000 ... The agency says the most significant decline has been in northwest Colorado’s Piceance Basin, home to the state’s largest migratory deer herd... deer populations remain at about a third of what they were before populations plummeted in the 1990s ...

Proposed predator control study stirs strong opinions August 18, 2016 Colorado, Craig Daily Press
... mule deer population ... in the White River National Forest are down almost 50 percent from peak numbers roughly 25 years ago... The proposed Piceance Basin study involves monitoring fawn survival in two adjacent areas over three years. One of those areas, a small summer range on the Roan Plateau, would have controlled predator removal before and during the fawn birthing period in May and June...

... Colorado’s highest population estimate occurred in 1983, when deer numbers reached an estimated 625,000 and today the population is under 400,000... In the case of northwest Colorado, some suggest that on-going oil and gas development could be the cause in the recent deer decline. ...

Developed Predator Management Plan to Save Mule Deer August 11, 2016 Colorado, Mia's Motivations
... One component of the strategy is predator control in areas where where mule deer populations remain below objective. Beginning in 2017, CPW researcher Chuck Anderson will begin a three-year study to monitor the results of predator control on the Roan Plateau. To learn details about the project, the public is invited to a discussion with CPW officials at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, South Hall, Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m...

Colorado will kill bears and lions to boost deer herds August 9, 2016 Summit County Citizens Voice
... Colorado wildlife managers say they are set to start a three-year study on whether killing bears and mountain lions can help boost deer populations in the northwestern part of the state, where hunting is a big part of the local economy...

ll work and no play wouldn't be much fun. Although working traffic for an hour, this herd of 100 or so Elk was fun to assist as they crossed Trail Ridge Road. Tundra Guardians at work!! - August 8, 2016 Colorado


Moose flourishing in Colorado August 7, 2016 Aspen Daily News
... moose are now estimated to number around 2,550 in Colorado. That figure is up from 2,400 in 2014, and is the result of numerous reintroduction programs, the first of which began in the late 1970s in the North Park area near Walden...

Chronic Wasting Disease discovered in one deer in Montrose County July 28, 2016 Colorado, High Plains Journal
... Colorado Parks and Wildlife says it found a deer that was infected with Chronic Wasting Disease just east of the city of Montrose in Game Management Unit 65.
The deer, found last spring, died on private property ...

Gray wolves expected back in Colorado July 26, 2016 Glenwood Springs Post Independent
...  the last known gray wolves in Colorado were killed by about 1940... Wolves once fed on Colorado’s​ vast herds of bison, elk and deer, supplemented by rabbits, rodents and carrion, according to CPW...

Rise in fawn deaths evens out good years; all other game thriving July 25, 2016 Colorado, Rio Blanco Herald Times
... the amount of snow that fell throughout Northwest Colorado... an increase of 10 to 15 percent in still-born deer and fawns that just didn’t survive ... That’s pretty much attributable completely to the heavy snows ... The elk are doing just fine ...

... landowners in the agricultural industry and sportsmen who do not welcome competition with another predator in securing elk or deer each hunting season. On the other are those who champion the wolf and its right to be in its prior location and desire a return to a historically more realistic and native ecosystem... Colorado Parks and Wildlife remains opposed to a (wolf) reintroduction ...

Increases in residential and energy development are associated with reductions in recruitment for a large ungulate HE Johnson, JR Sushinsky, A Holland, EJ Bergman… - Global Change Biology, 2016 Colorado
... Using linear mixed models, we found that increasing residential and energy development within deer habitat were correlated with declining recruitment rates, particularly within seasonal winter ranges. Residential housing had two times the magnitude of effect of any other factor we investigated, and energy development had an effect size similar to key weather variables known to be important to ungulate dynamics. This analysis is the first to correlate a demographic response in mule deer with residential and energy development at large spatial extents ... western Colorado ...

Chronic wasting disease discovered in deer east of Montrose July 21, 2016 Colorado, The Durango Herald
... Chronic wasting disease has been introduced to Southwest Colorado ... Southwest Colorado has evaded it until now ... Chronic wasting disease has been detected in 77 of Colorado’s 186 game management units...

The Colorado firefighter seen on video rescuing a baby deer talks to CNN's Piers Morgan. July 21, 2016 Colorado


Three charged for poaching large deer in Colorado July 21, 2016 Colorado, Colorado Springs Gazette
... Poaching a deer with an antler spread of 22 inches or more can add $10,000 in penalties over the standard fines under the "Samson Law" in Colorado.

Houses, drilling take toll on deer July 19, 2016 Colorado, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
... a study by Colorado Parks and Wildlife ... biologists have watched deer ranges get encroached by new homes, roads, and gas and oil wells, at the same time as deer numbers have declined... Housing had more than twice the magnitude of effect of any factor investigated ...

Grace stalks a dangerous mule deer during her safari to Evergreen Colorado. No dolphins were harmed during the making of this video. July 19, 2016


... The fee increase would be the first for CPW since 2006 ... would increase the cost of a regular fishing license to $50 and adjust the cost of hunting licenses for the rate of inflation. According to a flier distributed at the meeting, the proposed cost of an elk license would be $88...

Wasting disease found in deer July 12, 2016 Utah, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
... found in a deer that died this spring near Montrose ... first time a deer infected with the disease has been found in southwest Colorado...
... Wasting disease has been present in northern Colorado, for many years. It has also been found on the plains and in some areas of central Colorado... 

Fawn euthanized after being adopted by Cheyenne family July 9, 2016 Wyoming, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle News
... Animal Control believed the fawn was the offspring of a doe that had been killed by a car nearby, and an Animal Control officer helped the family retrieve the deer to keep temporarily, as the agency didn’t have a place for the fawn... KGWN-TV did a story on the family caring for the deer, and that’s when Game and Fish came in ... said Lucky had to be euthanized...

Fort Morgan, Deer causes commotion in Fort Morgan June 24, 2016 Colorado, Fort Morgan Times
... the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife confirmed to the Fort Morgan Times that the deer was fine following its rescue from the pit, with the wildlife officer having "pulled it out and let it loose." ...

... demanding that public land management policies in the Roaring Fork Valley be scrutinized to ensure recreation isn’t trumping wildlife preservation...  The entire Roaring Fork Valley is summer range for mule deer.  The BLM plan acknowledges that the Crown is elk winter range and includes some areas of severe mule deer winter range...

On Tuesday night this week, a wayward fawn ran inside a Colorado man’s home and hid in his bathtub. The man reportedly had just freed the baby deer from being caught in a fence when it ran through the open door of his home in the town of Evergreen and hopped into the tub. After two Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies checked the fawn for injuries, they wrapped it in a blanket and set it free outside, where it reportedly scampered off, hopefully to reunite with its mother. - June 16, 2016 Colorado


Deer-culling program gets extended June 13, 2016 Colorado, Elbert County News
...  the Elizabeth Board of Trustees voted to continue the town’s Deer Management Program for another season.  Initiated in the fall of 2014, the program that allows limited hunting of deer within designated areas inside the Elizabeth town limits ...

... 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

Colorado data: An estimated 419,000 deer in 2017, down from about 436,000 deer in 2016, in part as a result of a harsh winter.  In 2015 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.  
     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. 
     History  Hunters reported abundant mule deer in the 1870's [see page 7]. The current population is one half to one third of the herd size in the 1940's and far below the pre-settlement numbers. A recent peak in 1950 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. The recent peak estimated at 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.
     Elk  An estimate of nearly 278,000 elk in 2017, may be over 300,000.  The 2014 post hunt 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 was 73,000 up from 66,000 in 2013 and at about the state objective of 67,000 to 76,000.
     The moose population above 3,000 in 2017, estimated at 2,995 in 2016, up from 2,400 in 2014.  Colorado's moose population was repopulated starting 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.  Moose forage on willows and wetland plants and depend on Colorado’s riparian areas.
     Bear  An estimate of 17,000 in 2017.  The 2015 population was 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 of about 4,500 in 2017.   Estimated at 5,000 to 7,000 in 2015 by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  Estimated at 3,500 to 4,500 in 2015 by MountainLion.org.  
      Wolves were nearly exteriminated by the 1930s with the last kill reported the the early 1940s.  Wolves are in neighboring states and may soon be seen in Colorado.  To report a siting to CPW, use this form.

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

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 

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

Draft SCIF Mule Deer 2