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Photograph courtesy of: Kathy Layton

New Castle is surrounded by mountains which are home to a variety of wildlife. Mule deer and elk wander into town each winter. Mountain lions, black bear, coyotes, bobcats and the occasional moose live nearby.

Each fall this wildlife draws hunters to the New Castle area; they also present challenges for residents and visitors. Most of us appreciate the way we can share our environment with animals, but that only succeeds if common-sense guidelines are followed:

  • Homeowners should protect young trees from deer and elk with fencing or nets.
  • It is illegal to allow dogs to chase or otherwise harass wildlife.
  • Never feed wildlife or allow edible trash to accumulate outside. Bird feeders and pet food are powerful attractants.
  • Never approach wildlife, no matter how tame they seem. Bears, elk, mountain lions and even smaller creatures can be dangerous.
  • When hiking, be alert for signs of the presence of animals. Carry a loud noisemaker to frighten them off.
  • Photograph wildlife from a safe distance with a powerful lens.
  • When driving (especially in winter) be on constant lookout for wildlife near the road.
  • Never get near newborn or young wildlife (including birds). A protective parent will be nearby.
  • Don’t allow small dogs to roam free.

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, in most situations, people and wildlife can coexist. The key is to respect the wildness of wildlife. “Wildlife” is just that — wild. Most dangerous and potentially harmful encounters occur because people fail to leave the animals alone. Wildlife should not be harassed, captured, domesticated or — in most cases — fed. Intentional or inadvertent feeding is the major cause of most wildlife problems, and it is illegal to feed deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn, and elk in Colorado.

For more information, regulations and advice, along with information about specific species, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.