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Colorado Springs Debates Urban Deer Hunting Program

The deer population in Colorado Springs is exploding, so city council is addressing the issue. One of the options on the table is urban deer hunting.

Colorado Springs, Colorado, has an urban deer problem. The area's deer population is around 10 times bigger than it should be.

"Typically in the rural, forested areas of the state, we see two to three deer per square mile. That's the norm and what we consider healthy," said Bill Vogrin, of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Vogrin said that southwest Colorado Springs contains around 20 deer per square mile.

As a result, the deer are raising havoc with urban folks' landscaping and causing an increase in automobile accidents. Last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation recorded 169 deer-vehicle accidents in the Colorado Springs area.

Members of city council intend to speak with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to discuss potential remedies.

CPW District Wildlife Manager Frank McGee indicated that urban deer hunting may be the most viable option.

"There are things that work, and there are things that cost," HE said. "Hunting is effective, and it doesn't cost."

Other municipalities have employed urban hunting programs and have had success, but many residents remained vocally opposed to such measures.

Ogden Dunes, Indiana, was one community that undertook an urban hunting program to control its exploding deer population. Chief of Police Jim Reeder raised both pros and cons about the program.

"I think the town made the right decision, it took care of our deer problem, but politically it was a mess here for about three years," he said. "Personally, I wouldn't want to go through it again."

Other options to control the population are available, such as trapping and either chemically sterilizing, euthanizing, or relocating deer. Each offers mixed results and generally gets costly. McGee also said about half the deer authorities relocate end up dying anyway.

The city would most likely only consider bowhunting rather than firearms as the most viable and safest option. Additionally, the city has a limited budget and hiring hunters can cost up to $350 per deer killed. Regulated urban hunting, on the other hand, is essentially free, and much of the meat would go to people in need.

Still, there's some disagreement within the council regarding the potential program. Dialogue is expected to continue, although there are no signs of an immediate decision.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.