Last week, beer-making giant Coors Brewing Company donated more than 100,000 pounds of spent grain to the Colorado Division of Wildlife to help feed hundreds of mule deer that have been stranded by deep snows in the Gunnison Valley and unable to forage for natural food there.
The spent grain, a byproduct of the brewing process, is part of a larger grouping of food that will be formulated into large wafers that are easily digestible for the snow-bound deer. The Division of Wildlife made its initial wafer-drop last week and expects to deliver additional feed this week.
More than 45 inches of deep snow and extreme cold has left more than 20,000 deer in a precarious situation in the Gunnison Valley and DOW biologists believe that if the deer do not continue to receive feed the extreme winter conditions may lead to excessive winter kill.
“The recent snows have really put the wildlife in danger,” said Colleen Reiter, vice president and plant manager for Coors. “Hopefully, our donation, along with many others, will go a long way to solving the problem.”
Coors annually sells about 600 million pounds of spent grain to feed Front Range cattle. Given the urgent nature of this current situation, Coors provided the Division of Wildlife with the spent grain at no cost.
“We very much appreciate this significant contribution by Coors,” said Tom Remington, Director of the Division of Wildlife. “Coors has stepped up before to help us with our feeding efforts, and this donation will reduce the cost of feed and stretch our resources significantly.”
In normal situations, supplemental wildlife feeding is not undertaken unless the needs are unusually serious. The last time the DOW fed deer or elk on an emergency basis was during the winter of 1996.