Deer-feeding volunteers overwhelm DOW
By Howard Pankratz
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 01/17/2008 10:26:08 PM MST
Two bucks in the Gunnison Basin. (Joe Lewandowski | Division of Wildlife)
Colorado Division of Wildlife officials announced this afternoon that they have as many volunteers as they need for the emergency feeding of the endangered Gunnison Basin mule-deer herd.
As of 2 p.m, 250 people had volunteered to help Colorado Division of Wildlife officers feed the herd of 21,000 that has been hard hit by snow up to 4 feet deep and temperatures that have plunged to minus 35 degrees.
Joe Lewandowski, spokesman for the division, said his agency is currently assigning the 250 and that they will go into the field for the first time Friday.
Lewandowski added, however, that the division still needs to pay for the thousands of bags of specialized feed for the deer.
He said people wishing to contribute should go
Two mule-deer bucks struggle through deep snow between U.S. 50 and Blue Mesa Reservoir, 15 miles west of Gunnison. (Gary Hubbell | Special to the Denver Post)
to the DOW website — wildlife.state.co.us — and click on the donation box. All donations will be used for feed. One bag of feed costs the DOW $8 and will feed 16 deer, said Lewandowski. He said one deer consumes 3 pounds of feed per day.
The DOW hopes to feed 8,000 of the mule deer.
He said shipments of the 50 pound bags of feed are expected in Gunnison on Saturday and Monday, and that 14,000 additional bags have been ordered.
Over the past couple of days, DOW officials have said that feeding operations are rare and wildlife are provided food only when winter conditions are extreme.
"Emergency feeding of big game ungulates may be used as a last resort to reduce unusually severe winter-related mortality where the anticipated winter-related mortality exceeds 30 percent of the adult female segment of a major big game population," officials said.