The Elbert County commissioners discussed options for managing the county's growing deer population at their June 11 meeting.
In a letter being drafted to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, the county commissioners propose working with …
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In a letter being drafted to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, the county commissioners propose working with the agency to study the issue of growing wildlife populations in Elbert County as well as developing a program that could someday serve as a model for other communities with similar wildlife issues.
“We need to look at a plan that addresses the population and the safety issues of the western side of the county,” said Commissioner Robert Rowland. “The Department of Wildlife is willing to work with us on that.”
Commissioner Rowland, whose district is most affected by the rising deer population, has received a number of queries from constituents concerned about the proliferation of deer and the danger presented by wildlife on roadways.
Rowland said the Parks and Wildlife Commission acknowledges the increasing number of wildlife conflicts around the county but has no model to manage habitats in heavily developed areas.
“Everyone seems to agree there is a dramatic increase in the deer population in Elbert County's western side,” he said. “We are looking to manage the herd in a professional culling fashion under very controlled conditions, with a high education and a high communication level to the citizens that are affected.”
In response to the reported increase in wildlife-related car accidents and animal aggressiveness, Colorado Parks and Wildlife issued 400 additional hunting licenses for a special season in late 2013.
The C Licenses awarded in a statewide lottery permitted hunting during the last three months of the year in Colorado Game Management Unit 104, an area extending west from the town of Elizabeth to Parker Road in neighboring Douglas County.
While the county commissioners agreed that the special season in 2013 was a good start, they hope to refine the conditions in which the special licenses are issued, specifically addressing concerns about firing hunting rifles in close proximity to residences and the possibility that hunters from out of the area might not respect private property.
As a follow-up to the special hunting season, the Elbert County Sheriff's Posse participated in surveys conducted by the Parks and Wildlife Commission to count deer in prescribed areas as well as on roadways.
“The additional season did seem beneficial, and according to the Division of Wildlife, it did turn out well,” said Lt. Tony Schiefelbein of the Elbert County Sheriff's Office. “We had no record of complaints for poaching. We had no safety issues in that season.”
County Commissioner Larry Ross also proposed the county apply for a state grant to build game fences along critical roadways such as Highway 86.
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