Environment: Why are Colorado wildlife biologists apologizing for the energy industry?


Mule deer populations in northwest Colorado have taken a bit hit from energy development

‘Just pointing fingers at the energy industry is not a helpful solution to this difficult issue’

Staff Report

FRISCO — A recent study showing that energy development in northwest Colorado significantly affects wildlife habitat drew national attention, and a curious reaction from Colorado’s wildlife agency, which seemed to be apologizing on behalf of the energy industry.

The study showed that the region’s dwindling mule deer population shies well away from active drilling, to a distance of at least 800 meters. Deer displayed more nuanced responses to other infrastructure, avoiding pads with active production and roads to a greater degree during the day than night.

When they added up the impacts, the researchers found that the responses equate to alteration of mule deer behavior by human development in more than 50 percent of the critical winter range in the study area during the day and over 25 percent at night. Continue reading

Colorado: Mule deer summit set for Aug. 9

Colorado mule deer.

Colorado mule deer. bberwyn photo.

State biologists to unveil plan aimed at bolstering deer herds

Staff Report

FRISCO — After studying the decline of Colorado mule deer populations for the past few years, state wildlife biologists are ready to unveil a new strategy aimed at stabilizing an bolstering deer numbers. Western Slope residents will be able to get an early look at the plan during the upcoming Aug. 9 mule deer summit in Glenwood Springs.

The event is free and open to the public. CPW and The Keystone Center invite public review and comments on the West Slope Mule Deer Strategy draft as it serves as a guide to future CPW efforts to increase mule deer populations in Western Colorado.
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Declining populations spur Colorado mule deer strategy summit

Stakeholders to help hash out a plan in facilitated meeting format


A Colorado mule deer near Missouri Creek. Photo courtesy Kim Fenske.

By Summit Voice

*More Summit Voice mule deer stories here

FRISCO —Colorado wildlife managers are trying to develop a strategy to confront the continued decline in the state’s mule deer population. To get some input on shaping a plan, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in coordination with The Keystone Center, an independent facilitator, is holding a series of seven public meetings across the state, including three in the northwest region during May. The resulting strategy will guide agency efforts to work towards increasing mule deer populations. Continue reading

Colorado: Wildlife experts to offer update on mule deer studies

Mule deer in winter. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Mule deer in winter sagebrush habitat. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say they want feedback from public

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With several extensive research projects on northwest Colorado mule deer populations under way, biologists say they want to update the public on those efforts. A long-term trend of declining populations has spurred several studies, as scientists look at predation, food supplies and energy development as possible factors.

To discuss their findings so far, wildlife managers are inviting the public to a presentation with biologists, researchers and wildlife officials, Wednesday, May 29 at 7 p.m. at the Mountain Valley Bank, 400 Main Street in Meeker. Continue reading

Colorado: ‘Trophy hunter’ sought for questioning


Wildlife officers say mule deer carcass was left to rot in a dump near Granby with its head cut off

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — State wildlife officials are asking the public for help in tracking down a trophy hunter who left a headless mule deer carcass in a dump site along the Colorado River, a few miles west of Granby.

The carcass was discovered March 20, but based on evidence at the scene, wildlife officers believe the deer was harvested legally during last year’s hunting season, but never skinned and prepared for human consumption as required by law. The condition of the carcass suggests it was dumped only days before it was discovered.

Leaving the meat to waste is illegal in Colorado.

“This was a waste of Colorado’s wildlife resource, and we take it seriously,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife district wildlife manager Scott Murdoch. “It appears that the person who did this hung the animal after it was killed months ago, but never got around to actually preparing it for consumption.” Continue reading

Colorado: Can predator control stem mule deer decline?

Why is Colorado's mule deer herd declining? PHOTO COURTESY COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE.

Public invited to Aug. 15 information session in Meeker

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado wildlife researchers say the deer herd in the northwestern part of the state is shriveling due to a perfect storm of severe winters, drought, predation, and increased traffic from oil and gas exploration.

The decline has spurred some talk of predator control, which could mean increased hunting of mountain lions and coyotes. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials will approach that and other topics related to the state’s mule deer herd at an Aug. 15 meeting at the Fairfield Center in Meeker ( 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., 200 Main Street). Continue reading

Morning photo: High Country bliss

Summit Voice readers share a few pictures

Kim Fenske reports that the road to the Missouri Creek trailhead has been repaired by the Forest Service after a washout and sent us a few images from the Missouri Lakes Basin.

SUMMIT COUNTY — The high country is melting out, but there’s still plenty of snow and ice up high, according to Kim Fenske, who recently hiked into the Missouri Lakes Basin. Today’s photo essay features some reader shots, and we’d love to see more, so if you have images you’d like to share on Summit Voice, email them to bberwyn@comcast.net.


Kim Fenske is a former wilderness ranger, firefighter who has hiked thousands of miles in the Colorado mountains. He has served on the board of directors of Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.

Fenske has authored several hiking books filled with hundreds of photographs of Colorado wildlife, wildflowers, and scenery. His books are enjoyed by thousands of outdoor enthusiasts. His current electronic book titles are published on Amazon for Kindle, as well as Barnes and Noble for Nook. Search for these titles: “Greatest Hikes in Central Colorado,” “Holy Cross Wilderness Area,” and “Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.”

Marmots in the Colorado high country. PHOTO BY KIM FENSKE.

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