Byers Canyon Shooting Range closes for the winter
HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS- In order to protect wintering deer herds, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has implemented an immediate seasonal closure of the Byers Canyon Shooting Range west of Hot Sulphur Springs.
The range will remain closed until deer move toward higher ground in the spring, which typically occurs in early April.
“We close the shooting range each year when deer are pushed down from higher elevations by deep snow,” said DOW Wildlife Technician Doug Gillham.
The closure gives deer in the region undisturbed use of the land on and around the shooting range property.
Colorado’s winter snowfall typically forces deer to lower elevations around the state. This seasonal migration puts the cervids at higher risk for problematic encounters with humans. Because most of Colorado’s human populations live at lower elevations, deer are more likely to be hit by cars during winter months. Deer are also more likely to be harassed by domestic dogs when they are closer to human populations.
Winter is a stressful time for wildlife. Forage plants provide less nutrition during the winter months, so animals spend a majority of the day eating or searching for food. By closing the range, deer can feed freely and are not forced to expend crucial energy to avoid people in the area.
Having good winter range available to deer is also important for area residents. Wintering deer that journey onto private land in search of safety and forage can cause problems for ranchers and homeowners. Haystacks and flower gardens can be quick targets for the hungry animals.
The Byers Canyon Shooting Range, which is owned and operated by the DOW, is popular with sportsmen, especially prior to and during big game hunting seasons.
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