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Once again, a wounded deer running loose in The Pinery neighborhood has sparked concern with homeowners about the legalities and safety of hunting in the neighborhood.
In December, neighbors reported seeing a deer with an arrow in its side roaming through yards. This isn't the first time a wounded deer has been spotted in The Pinery, and community members are at odds with how to deal with the wildlife that some consider beautiful and others consider a nuisance.
The Pinery is a community near Highway 83, south of Parker. It lies in unincorporated Douglas County, and some homes include multiple acres of land.
"We have been out to The Pinery on a couple of occasions and haven't been able to find a wounded deer," said Matt Martinez, district wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "The last thing we want is for an animal to suffer."
The Pinery area is included in the game-management unit, which allows the issuance of several hundred licenses for various hunts, including archery, muzzle-loaders and rifle hunts. The combined hunting seasons run from August through the end of December — meaning there shouldn't currently be any hunting of deer.
According to Martinez, because The Pinery is in unincorporated Douglas County, hunting on private land is legal during the season, as long as the homeowner practices proper safety measures. Unfortunately, deer sometimes are not killed with the first shot of an arrow, and if it flees the property can be difficult to find, he said.
Martinez said there is no Colorado law saying that hunting on private property is always legal. He recommends each homeowner check with their city or county regarding laws on their property. Unincorporated Douglas County does allow hunting on private land as long as the proper licenses are in order.
Max Fry, Pinery resident and deer lover, said there is no easy answer to the dilemma of deer in the neighborhood.
"We've addressed this before a few years ago, and did what we could about some immediate problems," said Fry. "Some people wanted to see all the deer killed because they saw them as a nuisance. I love the deer and I love having them around. Just don't feed them and give them their space."
Pinery HOA president Bob Husson said the HOA has worked closely with the Douglas County Sheriff's office, as well as Colorado Parks and Wildlife, to help residents deal with the issue.
"This isn't a new issue, but it's just come up again. This deer could have been shot here, or it could have wandered here from somewhere else," said Husson. "The sheriff's department said they are always looking at things from a safety perspective, and if anyone in The Pinery is concerned about unsafe hunting activity, to call them."
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