In an effort to reduce a burgeoning mule deer population linked to auto collisions and other public safety issues, Colorado’s second-largest city is considering using urban hunters to reduce surging mule deer numbers within its city limits. Similar programs are in place in smaller Colorado communities.
“I think we have shown over and over again you can do this with public hunters,” Frank McGee, Colorado Parks and Wildlife manager, told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Brian Mihlbachler, natural resources manager at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAF), told the Gazette that a similar program on the 10-square-mile USAF area, located about 10 miles north of Colorado Springs, is highly effective. He said there were nearly 200 deer collisions in 1988 but the latest counts are closer to 20 or 30 thanks to a program with permitted hunters accompanied by a guide.
“I think it would have to be something intensely managed, even more so than what the academy is doing,” Mihlbachler said.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that hunting, in line with the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, is both a key tool in assisting with effective state-based wildlife management and plays a key role in conservation.
(Photo source: Chris Gross)