Craig City Council pauses on deer issue
- By Brian Smith
Craig City Council member Terry Carwile thinks this is a “wait and see” time for
the council concerning the city’s deer population.
After receiving a letter written by the Colorado Division of Wildlife in
response to Craig Mayor Don Jones, Carwile thinks it would be wise for the
council to pause its activities concerning management of the city’s deer
population to see if the organization would follow through with the message of
The response letter, sent to Jones in early December, stated the DOW “remains
willing” to respond to the sick, injured and aggressive deer in the city.
“Our officers are trained to take quick, effective action to protect public
health and safety,” DOW Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde wrote in the
letter. “This has been part of our wildlife officers’ core responsibilities for
many years and will continue to be in the future.”
Carwile said the city council needs to “encourage the public, really those who
are having a problem, to step forward, call and let’s just see how the division
Jones agreed with Carwile, adding there would likely not be a hunting season or
mass trapping, relocating or killing of the deer.
He hopes a newly passed ordinance prohibiting the feeding of deer and other big
game in city limits and increased awareness of the DOW’s ability to deal with
aggressive deer on a case-by-case basis will help curb issues.
“That’s the best way to do it,” he said. “They’re the keepers of the wild
Jones acknowledged some criticism has been placed on the DOW for response times.
He remains unsure if continuing to work with the DOW will help reduce that
“Until we start getting calls … who knows?” he said.
Jones said he was pleased, however, that the DOW offered to host educational
meetings and other outreach strategies to understand deer conflicts and
hopefully prevent them.
“Anytime we can get education, (that’s) perfect,” he said. “I know that the
division has volunteered to help us do that. They have done that through some
brochures they have already given us.”
However, Jones was unsure if free educational classes, like those previously
hosted, would attract residents.
“Four years ago when we did this, we gave four or five classes on what to plant,
what not to plant, what kind of sprays are out there, and I think the most they
had in one class was 10 people,” he said.
When asked if residents might be more prompted to attend such educational
meetings considering the recent public debate about the deer, the mayor remained
“No — that is just my gut feeling,” he said.
But, Jones said “it is worth another try.”
The council, Jones said, was hoping the DOW would agree to transplant a large
number of deer from the city to another location. However, the DOW stated it
would not be “humane or cost-effective.”
“We (were) hoping they would back down from their statement and they didn’t,”
Jones said. “(They said), ‘We will not transplant any animals. We will kill
Jones was hoping the amount of public outcry about the issue would sway the DOW
on relocating the animals.
“(Relocation) is not in their policy and we were hoping that would change with
the letters, because I know they got as many letters as we did and they read the
paper and stuff and they didn’t budge off their policy,” he said. “So, they are
the biologists, they are the people that have the know-how, not city council.
So, we’ve got to look to them to know what we are talking about.
“If you agree or disagree, they are still the experts.”
Jones said he doesn’t foresee any more action from the council about the matter,
other than maybe the educational sessions.
“If people start calling saying, ‘Look, I called the DOW and it took them two
days to get here and when they got here they didn’t do anything,’ then we need
to go back and (ask) what happened or why?” he said. “I guess we need to test
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