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hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
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herd reduction in Roaring fork valley

This article is a little old but I just found it today. Things sure have changed since I moved here in the mid 80's.

The article is a little confusing but the point is clear. More people requires less deer.

If the herd was this low before they worked hard to help it recover, now they need to keep it this low on purpose.

http://www.postindependent.com/article/20100825/VALLEYNEWS/100829940

jaybe's picture
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I noticed while reading the

I noticed while reading the article that two main factors have created the drop in the deer population in this area.

(1) Fires have not been allowed to burn off old wood and underbrush so that new growth can come up to provide good browse for the animals.

(2) Dogs from nearby homes have been allowed to freely run through the area.

Both of these issues could be easily controlled if the Fish and Wildlife people were allowed to. The public sentiment toward fire is that it does nothing but destroy. Most people do not realize the positive benefits of controlled burning.

And pet dogs running wild through wildlife areas? That should never be allowed.

But rather than taking logical measures that would both improve the habitat and the deer herd, they are going to reduce the number of animals that can be in the area. That will fix the problem. Whistling

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Game Management Vs People Management

This is a classic example of managing a wildlife population for Humans sake & not for the sake of the wildlife.  The biologists have seemed to have done a good job of determining the causes of the population declines and the bottlenecks & habitat issues keeping the populations down.  It's the citizens negativity towards rehabilitation methods that keep those methods from being used. 

An expanding suburban population, all those well minded folks who just want to be closer to nature, won't believe that their little pooch would chase and harass deer foundering in the snow.  Nor will they buy into burning all those pretty bushes & trees (don't bother to ask them what type of bush or tree they're worried about) and having ugly burned ground either next to their house or along the drive to town. (Lets not forget that as browsers a strong brush/shrub component is vital to a healthy mule deer habitat).  Of course these same well minded citizens are the first to call the Wildlife managers when a group of deer come into their yard one night and eat $1,500 worth of ornamentals overnight not realizing that their personal 1 - 5 acres of heaven sits right in the middle of the deer's dinner table. 

These kind folks can't be expected to believe that critical wintering areas need to be closed off periodically and even though they have been told repeatedly why human interaction is a negative influence on stressed winter deer herds, they just can't believe it. I can imagine the disscussion (probably because I've heard it around here also); "Oh what do those biologists and scientists know anyway.  I see those pretty little deer running away through the trees all the time when I'm cross country skying with my three husky's (please fill in the right breed of yuppie dog here) and they looked perfectly healthy to me - hardly any of them stumbled or tripped in the snow!"  Even the county commissioners haven't listened - they've heard, they just didn't listen; big difference.

The end result will probably be a deer population well below the possible carrying capacity of the area, that area being in a stagnant climax habitat condition that will look pretty to the ignorant but empty of calories for the deer.

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