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By Randy Hampton
Special to The SUN
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), in coordination with The Keystone Center, an independent facilitator, is holding a series of seven public meetings across the state this spring in order to receive feedback on a Colorado West Slope Mule Deer Strategy. The Strategy will guide agency efforts to work towards increasing mule deer populations.
Across the West, state wildlife agencies are seeing declines in mule deer populations. In recent years, mule deer populations in Colorado have decreased below the target objectives set by wildlife managers in concert with the public.
CPW is embarking on a process to bring together sportsmen, landowners, outfitters, biologists, wildlife managers, other state agencies, federal agencies, local elected officials and any other interested members of the public to discuss the issues facing mule deer and solutions. While many ideas exist, a focused effort by all groups can make a difference.
“The declining mule deer population is concerning to our agency and many stakeholders across the state,” said Chad Bishop, assistant director of wildlife and natural resources for CPW. “Due to the variety of factors that influence deer populations, we are looking for public feedback on an approach that brings together everyone’s limited resources in an impactful way.”
Public meetings are an opportunity for people to meet with agency staff, learn more about the history of mule deer in Colorado, and provide input to be considered in developing a mule deer strategy.
“We truly want to hear from sportsmen, landowners, industry, conservationists and other constituents about their current experiences with mule deer and their ideas moving forward to increase the population,” added Ron Velarde, Northwest Region manager for CPW.
The meeting for Southwest Colorado will be held in Durango on Wednesday, April 23, from 6-9 p.m. The meeting will be held at the La Plata County Fairgrounds, 2500 Main Ave.
CPW manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado’s wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation.
For more news and information about CPW, go to http://cpw.state.co.us.