Declining deer herd to be discussed

MEEKER | The Colorado Division of Wildlife is inviting the public to a meeting in Meeker on Monday, June 20, to discuss their concerns about a decrease in the White River deer herd with Division wildlife managers and biologists. The meeting is scheduled from 6-8 p.m., at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds.
The decline in the herd’s numbers has been a major concern in the White River area as it has led to fewer licenses and opportunity for deer hunters. A reduction in deer hunting can have negative impacts on businesses that depend on hunters and the annual boost they provide to the local economy.
“We are aware of the public’s concerns and our researchers are working very hard to find some answers and solutions,” said Division of Wildlife biologist Darby Finley.
Division research projects include a nine-year management study of deer survival rates, and multiple deer research projects in various parts of the state. Also presented at the meeting are preliminary results of a new study that attempts to measure how mule deer react to landscape-scale habitat modifications and human activity due to oil and gas development in the Piceance area.
“We will have a significant amount of information for the public, but some of the research is in the preliminary stages,” said Finley. “We want everyone to know that we take their concerns very seriously and look forward to discussing the data that we have.”
In addition to the ongoing research, division managers will discuss recent habitat improvement projects funded with grants from the division’s habitat partnership program. With the assistance of these grants, private and public entities in this area will work with division wildlife managers to improve the quality of deer habitat and forage.
“Habitat improvements are a very effective way to increase forage quality for deer,” said Meeker Area Wildlife Manager Bill de Vergie. “We want the public to learn about our efforts to improve mule deer habitat in this area.”
Division biologists and wildlife managers will give presentations and will be available to answer questions and discuss the public’s concerns.
For more information about recent mule deer research, please visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/ Research/Mammal/Deer/