In the past week I have almost hit two of these beautiful creatures with my car… mule deer. One rainy evening it was a very adorable, but confused fawn; once I slowed to a stop it just stood in my headlights… true “deer in the headlights” look.
Living in this area, and much of Colorado (well, and other areas) we run the risk of wildlife in our communities. Because we are so close to the mountains and have treed communities like Black Forest, Erindale, Broadmoor and others, we are at risk for much of the year… or the wildlife is at risk if we’re not aware / catious!
In Black Forest we have mule deer, coyote, fox, squirrels (at least two different breeds, including black “Abert” squirrels), rabbits, a couple bears… last year there was even a moose. It is VERY unusual for moose to live at this altitude, so it was strange to have one here and in the Douglas County area just north of here.
The west side of Colorado Springs sees even more wildlife. I’m not sure I’ve ever shown houses in Peregrine, Broadmoor Bluffs or Skyway without seeing deer. There are most of the animals listed above on the west side, plus more bears, and add mountain lions and big horn sheep to the mix. For the mountain lions especially, pet owners are cautioned to keep pets, like small dogs and cats inside at night! Broadmoor Bluffs, Mountain Shadows and other west side neighborhoods post caution signs when widelife has been spotted in the area. The bears are especially dangerous just before and after hybernation when they are particularly hungry. They even make their way into dumpsters and even stores (as we’ve seen on rare occassion on the news). The bears and mountain lions will climb trees. The only black bear I’ve seen in town was off W. Woodmen Rd, pretty high in a tree on a 3 acre property. He didn’t want to deal with us, but if there were baby cubs invloved it might have been a different story!
In all areas, keep watch for deer crossing the road, particularly at this time of year when they have fawns and in the fall at dusk when they are very active. A friend once told us, when the Air Force relocted him here they told him during a local orientation, if you see a deer dart across the road don’t watch him trail off… watch for his buddy and his buddy’s buddy behind him. They normally travel together. In our neighborhood they travel in small groups of 6-10, however right now they seem to be just a doe and her baby(ies) or a bunch of individuals. If I can figure out how to imbed video in my blog, we had the awesome experience of 7 mule deer bucks “rutting” last fall as they establish the hierarchy of the herd. DO NOT approach these animals!! While they can seem harmless and will most frequently run from you, our neighbor’s dog was gored by a large buck’s antler, when he obviosuly felt threatened…. they will challenge each other.
Living in the heart of town, don’t think your immune to this wildlife. In 1999 my mom’s car got hit by a deer near Circle and Fountain / MLK bypass… he jumped the car next to her and hit the front left side panel of her car. There are creeks and natural habitats that course through our city, creating avenues for deer and other critters to come into the city.
Now, out east, you have to be aware of the coyote and fox, especially if you want to protect your cats and chickens at night. Let the rabbits and ground rodents be their prey! There are also large herds of antelope that roam the prairie in eastern Colorado Springs and from here to Texas and Montana. These are general much more slow moving creatures, and since they are out in the open they are easier to spot as opposed to the deer that often dart from trees and bushes into roadways. Watch for antelope especially in the areas along Black Forest Rd, Woodmen Rd, Marksheffel… and any home shopping out east to Falcon, Calhan, Ellicott, Ramah, even south of Fountain.
As a friend used to tell us… Stay Alert, Stay Alive… important advice for you and the wildlife at risk (however I don’t think they’re reading this blog).