Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the agency tasked with managing the state’s wild animals and several other outdoor activities, is urging mountain residents to take down decorations and store yard equipment that can cause problems for wildlife with consistently warm temperatures now behind us.
Recently in Durango, for instance, a young buck deer became tangled in a hammock, which broke off an antler and part of its skull. A resident reported seeing the deer, but wildlife officers were not able to locate the animal.
“When we looked at the antler, we knew the deer had sustained a very serious injury,” Matt Thorpe, wildlife manager in Durango. “Deer can end up with almost anything on their antlers. We’ve even had deer with bicycles on (them).”
During this time of the year, buck deer are especially active because the mating season is approaching. It’s not uncommon for CPW to receive calls of deer, moose and others getting caught in volleyball nets, swing sets, clothes lines, garden fencing and other yard decorations. Therefore, those items should be stored for the winter, or at the very least covered and secured.
Every year holiday lights also end up on the heads of horned animals. To help avoid the problem, lights should be attached tightly to a building, post or fence and not just draped over trees or shrubs. CPW recommends hanging lights more than 6 feet above the ground to prevent an unexpected disappearance of these expensive ornaments.
If you spot an animal ensnarled in any netting or decorations, please call local law enforcement, or your nearest CPW office. For Summit County, that’s Hot Sulphur Springs at (970) 725-6200. Do not approach wildlife or attempt to remove the items yourself. An animal does not understand that you are trying to help it and can be very dangerous in that type of circumstance.