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No vote taken Thursday on proposed deer plan in Woodland Park

(UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 20)

The Woodland Park City Council found that it wasn’t ready to vote on a deer management plan after a packed three-hour meeting Thursday night.
Council members spoke for an hour about the plan, then heard two hours of public comment before deciding to table the matter until the next meeting Oct. 3.

The meeting, which started at 7 p.m. and ended at midnight, was standing-room-only with more than 150 people in the halls and even outside the council chamber to hear the matter.

Public comment revealed that most residents support receiving more education about how to control the city’s deer population, and many oppose establishing an urban archery hunt within city limits.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said earlier Thursday that a hunt, if approved, could happen for the fall hunting season but there appears to be little public support for it.

Part of the plan includes installing solar-powered flashing deer crossing signs — costing $2,500 each — in key areas of the city but officials haven’t determined how many signs are needed.

(PREVIOUS STORY: Thursday, Sept. 19)​​​​​​

Colorado Springs has yet to come up with a plan to manage its deer population, but now Woodland Park is considering one.

The Woodland Park City Council will discuss and hear public comment on a deer management plan during the council’s meeting that starts at 7 p.m.

In a surprise development Thursday, Councilwoman Carrol Harvey — a member of a task force that worked on the deer plan — announced her resignation out of frustration over the process.

“I resigned from the council (Wednesday night), primarily because I felt that the management plan… had been commandeered by group whom I would call domestic terrorists,” she said. “They’re going to get their way and talk about how horrible hunting is and not give an opportunity to a group that put a lot of effort into a very well-thought-out plan.”

Harvey, who was supposed to present the plan to the council, did not return calls seeking further comment.

“I’m disappointed,” said Mayor Neil Levy. “We can’t always get what we want. But I feel that we had a balanced process. We learned all we could about lethal and nonlethal methods of deer control.”

Levy said most of the reaction he’s heard has been against a management plan.

“But with around 130 deer-vehicle collisions last year and a growing deer population, we may have to do something.”

The proposed plan includes establishing an urban archery hunt, something that Colorado Springs officials initially considered but decided against.

“There is a border around the city and some areas within the city that could be used for hunting,” said Tim Kroening, a district manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “It’s possible that some parks could be used, as well.”

Kroening said hunters will be licensed and regulated, with hunting allowed only during early morning and late night hours as a safety measure.

“Hunters will have to test their deer for chronic wasting disease,” he said. “They’ll have to take the meat and use it or donate it.”

Installing more deer crossing signs — including some with solar-powered flashing lights along U.S. 24 and Highway 67 — and conducting more public education are other facets of the plan.

During the city’s annual deer survey this spring, Colorado Parks and Wildlife found a ratio of 105 fawns per 100 does, compared to a ratio of 70 fawns per 100 does outside the city.

The town’s deer population also has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological illness that is contagious to elk, moose and other deer.

CPW says the exact number of deer within the city is unclear because determining that would be too time-consuming.

KRDO Only 2019

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