Help wildlife; clean up your yard | VailDaily.com

Help wildlife; clean up your yard

Staff Report

This picture was taken several years ago in the Durango area. Tangled in the deer's antlers was either a hammock or a volleyball net.

With warm weather now behind us for the year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges residents to take down equipment and yard toys that cause problems for wildlife.

Recently in Durango, a young buck deer became tangled in a hammock that broke off an antler and part of its skull. A resident reported seeing the deer, but wildlife officers were not able to find the animal.

"When we looked at the antler we knew the deer had sustained a very serious injury," said Matt Thorpe, area wildlife manager in Durango.

At this time of year buck deer are especially active because the mating season is approaching. It's common for deer to get tangled in hammocks, volleyball nets, swing sets, tire swings, clothes lines, yard decorations, garden fencing, tomato cages, buckets and more. Those items should be stored for the winter or covered and secured.

"Deer can end up with almost anything on their antlers," Thorpe said. "We've even had deer with bicycles on their antlers."

Every year holiday lights also end up as decorations on the heads of deer. Lights should be attached tightly to a building, to a post or fence and not just draped over trees or shrubs, CPW advises. Hang lights more than 6 feet above the ground to prevent an unexpected disappearance of those expensive decorations.

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If you see an animal tangled in a net or decorations, please call the near CPW office or local law enforcement. Do not approach the animal or attempt to remove items. An animal does not understand that you are trying to help it and can be very dangerous in those circumstances.