Hunt Area 67 Under The Gun [AUDIO]
The Mule deer population of Casper and its surrounds comes with issues that concern some property owners, while others welcome the critters in their backyard. A proposal that would allow hunting as a solution to their control was a topic at a meeting hosted by the Wyoming Game and Fish Casper Field Office Thursday evening.
Wildlife officials in Casper made clear at their public meeting that no plans are in development yet, but rather they seek input from the public on how to approach the issue of nuisance deer.
"We do get a lot of complaints about damage to ornamental vegetation and gardens. You have deer either browsing on those plants, buck deer rubbing their antlers on trees, that kind of thing."
Casper's Wildlife Coordinator, Darrell Lutz says diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease are a concern when populations rise, but game officials admit Hunt Area 67's Mule deer numbers, while a problem for some in town, remain below recommended levels. Of the 60 some people in the room one sited a recent encounter with a doe that chased his dog. Another audience member questioned whether disease is a real issue or perceived. At the meeting Game Officials presented a proposal that would move the boundaries of Hunt Area 67 opening a large part of Casper Mountain to hunting in some form.
"If we open that to hunting and are more actively doing some management on that deer herd, that's more of an opportunity for both us and private property owners to manage those numbers and also address some of those public concerns."
Several property owners present at the meeting expressed worries over public safety and private property abuse that could follow an opening to hunting.
Hunt area 67, established around 80 years ago, has been off limits to Mule Deer hunting and remains one of the few remaining Mule deer refuges in the state.
The public is encouraged to submit comments to the Casper Game and Fish office on the proposal or to share other ideas.