January 18, 2021

Sportsmen Must Have a Say in Colorado Wolf Introduction

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator

On January 7, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a comment letter to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission), urging the Commission to take its time with the implementation of Proposition 114 – Introduction of Wolves on the Western Slope – to ensure a comprehensive, inclusive and robust plan is created utilizing the best available science, while also including due deliberation and substantial input from sportsmen and women.

The voting results of Proposition 114 are yet another clear example of Colorado’s growing urban/rural divide. Despite strong opposition from the sportsmen’s community and rural residents who are the most likely to be directly impacted by wolves on the landscape, Proposition 114 passed on the 2020 ballot with 50.91% of Coloradans voting “yes” and 49.01% voting “no.” Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is now responsible for the introduction of wolves into Colorado’s Western Slope by the year 2024. The inclusion of sportsmen and women in the implementation planning process is intricately tied to the overall success of the project.

Furthermore, as evidence from other states has shown, wolf introduction will require a significant monetary commitment outside of CPW’s current budget. Therefore, CSF requested that funding to implement Proposition 114 should come from the Colorado General Assembly, and not from wildlife dollars generated by sportsmen and women that is already earmarked by CPW for other conservation and wildlife management priorities.

The sporting community, including CSF, originally opposed the initiative because sustainable and effective wildlife management is accomplished through science-based decision making by wildlife-management experts. The presence of wolves will likely cause conflict with humans and animals that currently live in the state.

Wolves are known to prey on livestock and wild game herds, such as elk and deer. Livestock depredation will cost the state and taxpayers considerable amounts of money in compensation to impacted farmers and ranchers. Additionally, depredation of deer, elk and other wildlife populations will likely have a negative fiscal impact on CPW’s ability to generate revenue for other species and habitat conservation priorities.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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