Coors gives grain to snowbound Colo. deer
GUNNISON, Colorado – Deer facing starvation because of deep snow in western Colorado’s Basin are getting help from an unexpected source ” the Molson Coors Brewing Co.
The Golden-based brewery plans to donate more than 100,000 pounds of spent grain to state wildlife officials to help feed the herd, which numbers about 21,000.
The grain, a byproduct of the beer brewing process, will be processed into large wafers the deer can digest easily.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife began feeding deer and other big game in the Gunnison Basin last month after a series of storms dumped several feet of snow and temperatures plunged below zero.
Deer are of particular concern because they’re smaller than elk and have trouble busting through crusty snow to reach shrubs and other natural food sources. Deer also require a specific diet, so the Division of Wildlife is hauling in bags of wafers composed of wheat and other grains, dehydrated alfalfa and cottonseed meal.
“The recent snows have really put the wildlife in danger,” Colleen Reiter, vice president and plant manager for Coors, said in a statement.
The Molson Coors unit usually sells about 600 million pounds of spent grain a year to feed cattle in Colorado. The company said it is donating the grain to the Division of Wildlife at no cost.
The state is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed the herd. Biologists fear as much as 30 percent of the herd could die without help.
Hundreds of volunteers are helping state employees distribute the feed by snowmobiles and tracked vehicles.