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Public can comment on deer management planning in southwest Colorado

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking public comment concerning future management of mule deer in southwest Colorado in the Four Corners area.

The proposed management plans are for two distinct herd areas: the Groundhog area herd which includes Game Management Units 70, 71 and 711; and the Mesa Verde area herd, which includes Game Management Units 72 and 73.

Over the last 15 years, the deer population in these two areas has declined significantly. Reasons for the decline are unknown, but a variety of contributing factors may include: drought, harsh winters, disease, predators and changing land development patterns that have changed the amount and quality of critical winter range.

The management plans which describe historic and current conditions, and biological and environmental factors that affect mule deer in these areas are posted on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife web site and can be found at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/HUNTING/BIGGAME/HERDMANAGEMENTDAUPLANS/Pages/HerdManagementDAUPlans.aspx.

Those interested — landowners, hunters, general public, land managers — are also asked to complete on-line surveys pertaining to these areas so that CPW big game managers can obtain insights and gauge opinions from the public about perceptions and opinions on mule deer and management of these animals.

The surveys can be found at: https://www.research.net/s/D24DAUplan; https://www.research.net/s/D29DAUplan. They’ll be posted through Dec. 10.

The plans are currently in draft form, so the preferred management alternatives have yet to be determined. Comments from the public will be considered as management planning continues. The final plans will go to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission for review and approval in March.

Comments can also be sent to Brad Weinmeister, Durango area terrestrial biologist, at 151 E. 16th Street, Durango, CO 81301, or brad.weinmeister@state.cous; or to Brad Banulis, Montrose-area terrestrial biologist, 2300 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401, or brad.banulis@state.co.us. You can also request a hard copy of the management plans.

This story was posted on November 7, 2013.