Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials expect to see a rise in wildlife-human conflict this winter. Usually, as the winter season approaches the majority of Colorado’s wildlife migrates closer to communities. This means an increase in conflicts is sure to follow. People will most likely see deer, elk, and even moose in or near their yards. Likewise, officials warn people that all those prey species may attract predators into their neighborhoods. Mesa County has already had reports of mountain lion sightings this fall. During last winter the County has twenty-two mountain lion sightings. Likewise, last month a report was made in Fruita, where a horse sustained an injury from an unknown predator.
“There was an incident over the weekend with dogs and deer in the Craig area. Nothing resulted in injuries. So many people tell me my dog would never chase an elk or deer but it happens. I encourage people even if they’re out, to keep dogs leashed.” – CPW Northwest spokesperson Randy Hampton
Human-Wildlife Conflict in Colorado
Typically the calls range from wildlife being tangled in Christmas lights to dogs attacking wildlife and/or being hurt by wildlife. Likewise, officials will see an increase in wildlife-vehicle collisions as well. Recently, officials were called to a scene in Craig, where dogs were chasing and harassing deer. CPW officials also state that people should try and keep decorations out of the reach of wildlife like deer and elk. These two species are the most common to get tangled up in yard decorations. CPW also suggest that people keep pets on a leash while on walks. Likewise, they suggest people keep pets locked up safely at night. Most predators will be out hunting at night and may try and make unsecured pets a meal.
“I always caution people to be more careful this time of year because it can lead to more human-wildlife conflict. People that have Christmas decorations out and lights on open spaces, hammocks, and sports nets … wildlife like to get tangled in those.” – CPW Northwest spokesperson Randy Hampton
If people end up having an issue with wildlife they should try and call CPW officials first. They are the best situated to take care of these issues. Most wildlife conflicts that people try to handle themselves either result in the person or the animal being injured. Please contact CPW if you have a wildlife issue.