Developed Predator Management Plan to Save Mule Deer

CPW’s Piceance Basin Predator Management Plan topic of public meeting, Aug.16


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Due to a variety of factors, including habitat fragmentation, disease, development, increased outdoor recreation and predation, mule deer populations remain below objective in parts of Colorado, primarily in the state’s largest mule deer herds in the Piceance Basin. To reverse the downward trend, Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers continue to implement the agency’s West Slope Mule Deer Strategy, approved by the CPW Commission in 2015.

CPW developed the strategy after an extensive, statewide public outreach effortthroughout 2014, gathering input from sportsmen and interested members of the public concerned about declining mule deer populations in Colorado and across the Western United States.

One component of the strategy is predator control in areas where where mule deer populations remain below objective. Beginning in 2017, CPW researcher Chuck Anderson will begin a three-year study 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 Anderson.

According to Anderson, the predator control study will take place in May and June, just before and during the fawn birthing period. He adds that 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 adds that 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.

Who: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
What: Piceance Basin Predator Management Plan – Public Meeting
When: Tuesday, Aug. 16, 6 p.m.
Where: Garfield County Fairgrounds – South Event Hall


CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.

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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast. 

Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.

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