Glenwood Springs summit will explore mule deer decline

Staff report

if you go

What: Summit on mule deer population

Where: Glenwood Spring Ramada Inn

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Cost: Free and open to public

A Western Slope Mule Deer Strategy Summit will be held Saturday in Glenwood Springs to discuss strategies to stabilize and increase deer populations.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held at the Ramada Inn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided. The event is being held by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Keystone Center.

The statewide, post-hunt deer population was estimated to be 408,000 in 2012. That is well below the population objective range of 525,000 to 575,000.

On the Western Slope, the estimated population was just over 300,000, or more than 100,000 short of the objective. Population declines also have been experienced in the White River National Forest.

A 2004 report, produced by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Mule Deer Working Group, concluded that habitat loss, declining habitat quality, weather, population management, predation, disease and interactions with elk all influence mule deer populations.

A draft of the Western Slope Mule Deer Strategy will be released at the meeting. It will be a guide for the wildlife division’s effort to boost populations. The organizers welcome public review and comment on the plan.