Colorado will kill bears and lions to boost deer herds

Colorado mule deer.
Colorado mule deer. @bberwyn photo.

State plans predator control research on Roan Plateau

Staff Report

Colorado wildlife managers say they are set to start a three-year study on whether killing bears and mountain lions can help boost deer populations in the northwestern part of the state, where hunting is a big part of the local economy.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, mule deer populations remain below objective in the state’s largest mule deer herds in the Piceance Basin. Part of a 2015 strategy to boost those numbers is predator control, which is not a popular concept with some wildlife advocates, who believe that habitat fragmentation from oil and gas development is probably a bigger factor in the long-term decline of deer herds.

Nonetheless, CPW plans to begin a three-year study in 2017 on the Roan Plateau to monitor the results of predator control on the Roan Plateau.

To learn details about the project, the public is invited to a discussion with CPW officials at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, South Hall, Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.

“The study will monitor if mule deer fawn survival responds positively to control of lions and bears in a relatively small area on the Roan Plateau,” said CPW researcher Chuck Anderson.

According to Anderson, the predator control study will take place in May and June, just before and during the fawn birthing period. He said all predators taken will be utilized to the fullest, including distribution of meat to people that need it, and CPW will use carcasses for education.

“We remain well below where we would like to be in terms of overall mule deer numbers,” said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “There is no one reason and no silver bullet solution to this problem, but many in the public identified predator management as one factor that could yield positive results, and we agree.”

Velarde said Anderson’s research will help guide the agency’s future management efforts in other areas of the state where predation may be impacting mule deer populations.

CPW’s population objective for mule deer is approximately 560,000 statewide; however, the latest estimate puts the statewide population at just under 450,000. The most significant decline has occurred in the Piceance Basin; however, CPW managers note that some herds, including those in the Middle Park region, remain well above objective.

For more information about CPW’s mammal research, go to:


7 thoughts on “Colorado will kill bears and lions to boost deer herds

  1. What a stupid idea! If hunters with guns, laser scopes, chemical deer attractant, cammo clothes, night vision scopes, and cell phones can get a deer…tough! The State doesn’t owe them a thing. Who the hell works at the CPW anyway?

  2. It’s sickening that resources are wasted on killing animals merely so people can kill other animals. The idea of doing whatever it takes to improve the economy is taking down life on the planet – including humanity.

  3. We are not powerless to get CP & W to change its direction and starting to protect all wildlife. Colorado residents, contact your State Senator and Representative and express your displeasure. (Many of them are up for re-election this fall) Non-residents, contact Gov. Hickenlooper and tell him that you are more apt to vacation in a state that respects and protects wildlife. As a State agency, CP & W has to listen to direction from elected officials.

  4. Its about time! The study will show its true colors as the root of the problem with the declining mule deer herd in the west. The people against this study are also the root of the problem in this country entirely! Complain yet have no other solutions or contributions other than running their mouth about things they have no clue about. If the predators are not managed correctly they will kill all the deer and elk and they will start eating people’s pets like they do in California. Humans are taking all animals habit at an alarming rate yet the people against sound management do nothing to improve winter habitat or overall habit for these animal. Guess they are too busy playing Pokemon GO. These are the same people who move their house into the mountains where animals live and then complain that they are eating their flowers or attacking their dog. The same people that built highways blocking key migration routes of elk and deer or built ski resorts on prime wintering habitat. Its reality people! Human population is growing and taking habitat, key habitat that animals use to survive the winter. Don’t throw stones until you have an answer to the problem! Oh and its not hunting, TAG numbers have gone way down over the last decade and the herd is still in decline.

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