Craig resident Dave Watson contends something needs to be done about the “problem” with aggressive deer in Craig before it is too late.
“Sooner or later, I know what it is going to come down to is not if, but when a kid going home from school or out playing … or an elderly person is going to get attacked and gored to death,” he said.
Watson, who serves on the Craig City Council’s deer committee, said he was pleased with the results of a Thursday meeting between the four-person committee, council member Jennifer Riley and mayor Don Jones.
The group met to discuss how the city council should move forward with a three-tiered deer removal plan recommended by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Riley said.
Watson said he liked the notion of dealing with the aggressive deer on a case-by-case basis, and is also in favor of looking into trapping and relocating them to different areas — two things he said the committee addressed in its recent meeting.
“I don’t know why not,” he said of relocating the deer. “The DOW transplants antelope, transplants moose (and) transplants elk, why can’t they transplant the deer somewhere else?”
Riley said the committee’s meeting also produced a strong message that the city council should consider slowing talks about the DOW’s proposed deer removal plan.
The committee agreed the options as the DOW presented them “were not acceptable,” said Riley, who serves as the committee’s chairwoman.
Riley said the committee would like more specific information on the three DOW options and to consider other potential options for managing the city’s deer.
The committee also agreed the sick, injured and aggressive deer “needed to be dealt with” in the city limits, Riley said.
“So, we are going back to the Division (of Wildlife) to ask them what else they can provide us in the way of service to deal with these animals,” she said.
Jones said he is writing a letter to the DOW as a result of the deer committee’s meeting, but said he did not want to release details of the letter until it has been finished.
Jones said the letter would also need to be approved by the city council before it is sent to the DOW.
The city council is also scheduled to hear a report from the deer committee at its regular meeting today. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be at Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth Street.
Riley said the committee would recommend the council not take action on the deer proposal until more information is gathered from the DOW.
“We need to know what our options are for dealing with deer on a more case-by-case basis,” she said. “… If (the DOW) can’t, or aren’t willing to come to us with something alternative, where do we go?
“People have problems and concerns with specific deer, and how are they going to be addressed?”
Riley said at least one of the three DOW options for dealing with the deer is still on the table.
The first option, which is a proposed archery hunting season and area outside of city limits, “could still be considered,” Riley said.
“But, we need more detail about the proposed areas and timeframes,” she said of the hunting area. “That doesn’t seem to be as big of a bone of contention with people as options two and three.”
Option two, Riley said, is a “blanket” trapping and killing of a “large number of deer.” But Riley said such an action might not deal with the sick or aggressive deer.
Riley said the “majority” of Craig residents are “not happy with that option.”
The third option, which entails bringing in sharpshooters to kill a portion of the deer at night, is “completely off the table,” Riley said.
“That is something that the city is not willing to entertain at all,” Riley said.
Riley said the committee would like to have more information on trapping the deer on a case-by-case basis and if the deer could be relocated.
“I think there are going to be a number of questions posed by the mayor on behalf of the committee, including, ‘Tell us again, can we relocate? Why not?’” she said.
Craig resident and deer committee member Dean Gent said he felt the meeting was productive.
“I think we probably confirmed what both sides wanted and tried to come to a meeting of the minds,” he said. “I don’t know if we did that, per se, but that is what we tried to do.”
Gent said he was pleased the committee was advocating for further consideration of trapping and relocating some of the deer out of city limits.
“That is what I wanted to do all along,” he said. “I think that the Craig citizens will accept that and we would be working on the problem.”