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Colorado wildlife officials consider killing wild animals for study

Posted at 9:54 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 00:47:41-04

Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife believe the mule deer is disappearing in Colorado.

Their studies show the mule deer population is down by about 100,000.

Some animal activists are horrified by a proposal to kill up to half of the mountain lions and black bears in some parts of the state to study the impact on mule deer.

“It would be really unfortunate if we saw dependent mountain lions and dependent bear cubs starved to death if their mothers were killed,” said Colorado Humane Society Director Aubyn Royall.

Royall believes the purge is just a ploy to increase the number of deer for hunters.

“If we reduce the hunting of mule deer then their populations won’t be in decline,” said Royall.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say that’s not completely true, but the state has to look out for all citizens.

“It’s really important for people to understand that wildlife is for everyone in Colorado, and absolutely we are financed and we get a lot of our fees from hunters,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife public information officer Jennifer Churchill.

Churchill says the state has spent years studying why the number of mule deer is plummeting.

“This is the next step in that process to determine is the predators. Are their predators coming in and taking the young fawns so those animals aren’t going into adulthood?” said Churchill.

Under the plan, a set number of mountain lions and black bears in the Piceance Basin and Upper Arkansas River Basin would be killed.

Colorado Wildlife officials would then compare what happens there to other areas left alone.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife say listening sessions like the one held Monday could change the final plan which will be decided in December.

The study could also lead them to change the way hunter permits are issued for  mule deer, bears and mountain lions. 

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