Predator discussions scheduled in Meeker

MEEKER I Following a well-attended meeting in Meeker last month, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will again offer the public an opportunity to learn about mule deer management and the White River mule deer herd, including a discussion of the effectiveness of predator management as a way to boost deer numbers.The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Fairfield Center in Meeker.“We understand the concerns about predators,” said area wildlife manager Bill de Vergie. “But, based on the information we have seen, this is not a simple, cut-and-dried issue.”Guest speaker Mark Hurley of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will discuss the results of recent attempts in that state to increase mule deer populations by drastically reducing the population of their natural predators and Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists will detail their ongoing research concerning possible reasons for the decline. Designed to analyze all potential factors, these studies indicate that severe winters, drought, predation and increased traffic from oil and gas exploration may all be contributing to mule deer declines.“We are conducting thorough research, but what we do know is that there is a decline in this herd and our goal is to do whatever we can to bring it back,” said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde.Concerned stakeholders will be given time to ask questions and discuss the issue with wildlife managers and everyone is encouraged to attend.For more information about mule deer research, go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us/ Research/Mammal/Deer/