Deer rescued from storm culvert turns focus to growing urban wildlife population

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife rescued a deer from a storm culvert near 30th Street and Centennial Boulevard on the west side of Colorado Springs, where it had been stuck for at least a day.

A neighbor called wildlife officers Tuesday, Dec. 5 after he spotted the buck stuck in the ditch.

CPW returned, checked on the animal, then returned Wednesday, Dec. 6 and the deer was still there.

"I was thinking this guy has got a 50/50 chance of not making it," Timothy Nimmo said.

Nimmo says he sees deer in the area all the time. This same buck was recently spotted hanging around some does in his front yard.

"The neighbor has video of this buck sparring with another buck and he was pushed down into this channel by this other buck," District Wildlife Manager Corey Adler said.

"I had never seen any deer down in there before and he just didn't look right. I threw a few sticks and rocks near him to see if he'd respond and he didn't even flinch so I knew there was something wrong," Nimmo said.

The stuck buck wasn't too pleased when wildlife officers showed up to tranquilize him and pull him from the culvert but they eventually got him out.

"We did see some blood but it looked like it was just on the front of its hooves like he was trying to get out and having a hard time," Adler said.

As they were corralling him into a nearby park, the deer walked right back down into the ditch.

"We kind of had to revert back to old-fashioned cowboy ways and lasso a rope around his antlers and kind of pull him out of that drainage," said Adler.

Wildlife officers led the deer to the park and released him.

"He'll probably just go sit down and relax for a while and eat some food and water after this but he should be ok," Adler said.

It's incidents like this that are worrying wildlife officers about the growing deer population in Colorado Springs, so CPW is now developing a deer population management plan for the city.

Adler says not only is it unsafe for the deer to be near cars and streets, but it's also mating season right now and deer like the buck in this case are very defensive. All it takes is one little startle from a dog or person on a nearby trail for someone to get hurt.

"Down the road, a plan is to incorporate a hunt for these deer. It would most likely be an archery hunt that will help reduce the population but also those animals would be put to use. They wouldn't just be wasted. People would get a license, hunt them, and be able to use them as meat for family and everything so it would kind of be a win-win for everybody," said Adler.

Wildlife officers say the population management plan would be much like the current one in Woodland Park.

"Some people will say, why don't we just tranquilize them and move them and we just saw today how much of an effort it was to try to tranquilize one deer and then some people would say how about birth control for some of the does, that is a very costly process. It is a very long process and I don't think people realize how much time and effort and money it would take to do that," Adler added.

In two weeks, a deer count will happen on the west side of Interstate 25 to give city leaders an idea of how many there are per square mile.

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