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Citizen input sought on deer population

Posted: Friday, Oct 26th, 2012

Indifferent to the humans nearby, deer graze in downtown Alamosa. Photo courtesy of Nelda Curtiss

Courier editor

ALAMOSA — “Should the city spend taxpayer monies to cull/kill deer in city limits?”

This is one of three questions the City of Alamosa is asking its citizenry in a survey sent out with the October utility bills. The survey may also be answered online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/73LP2QW

The survey will help city officials determine if residents believe there is a deer problem in Alamosa and what they think the city should do about it. The estimated deer population in the Alamosa vicinity is about 300.

Responses must be turned in by October 31 and may be taken to the city hall at 300 Hunt Avenue or completed online.

The first question in the survey asks if the number of deer in city limits is just right, too many or too few, and the second question asks if the deer population is causing harm. The third asks if city funds should be used to cull out the deer population.

A fourth line allows respondents to share any suggestions they have for managing the Alamosa deer population.

The introduction to the survey stated the deer discussion arose out of a public meeting earlier this year when some residents said the city should try to reduce the deer population. In early 2007 the city held a special hunt on city-owned property in the Alamosa Ranch area, but the number of deer taken was not substantial (13) while the negative publicity surrounding the hunt was. The city had to halt the hunt before it was scheduled to be over because the city was not operating under the correct license, according to City Manager Nathan Cherpeski.

In addition, to undertake another hunt would require special permission from the Colorado Division of Parks & Wildlife, which the division might not give.

The city could also hire someone to kill the deer.

The city has estimated the costs of taking out the deer at from $250-600 per deer, based on hiring a professional who would meet the wildlife department’s approval.

Other options in dealing with the deer population are leaving them alone and educating the public about living with wildlife and measures they can take to deter deer such as fencing, deer resistant plants and repellents.

Alamosa Mayor Kathy Rogers at a council meeting earlier this fall said she believed the city should do something and asked staff to bring back a plan. She suggested setting up a task force. She said she has personally come to terms with the deer in her yard, which is near the river.

Councilor Rusty Johnson said he would like to see a list of options with costs attached. Then the council could engage the public in discussions about those options.

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