Wednesday, January 31, 2007

COLORADO NEWS: Deer Hunt in City of Alamosa

The city of Alamosa declared open season Tuesday on town deer, a population that officials say has become both too abundant and aggressive.

The town's first deer hunt - up to 30 licenses, five at a time, to be issued on antlerless animals - will run through February on the front nine of the golf course and on a 1,300-acre ranch held by the town as a wildlife preserve, City Manager Nathan Cherpeski said.

The hunt allows for archery and shotguns, but no rifles (errant bullets would travel too far). The town is handing out maps for hunters and any members of the general public who might want to avoid those areas. And hunters who receive licenses must go to a local instructor to qualify as an accurate archer or shooter.

"Our deer population is causing car accidents and property damage," Cherpeski said. "Two pets have been killed, small dogs - killed in their own yards. The deer stand 20 feet away (from people) and are not afraid. ... Twenty or 30 mill around the high school campus."

The Colorado Division of Wildlife consulted on the managed hunt, which has been under consideration for a few years, but the division is letting the town run it.

"It is within their jurisdiction," DOW spokesman Joe Lewandowski said. "The division will be keeping an eye on it. That number (of licenses) will not significantly check this deer population."

Cherpeski said that if 30 mule deer does are taken, it will only slow the population growth, not stop it. Officials have been unable to do a hard count of the deer because the population is scattered and mobile, but they estimate 500 to 1,000 are in town or on the outskirts.


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