March 1, 2021

Who’s Footing the Bill? Colorado Sportsmen Push for Equity in Gray Wolf Introduction

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Rocky Mountain States Senior Coordinator and Internal MARCOMM Liaison

Colorado made national headlines in November of 2020 when Proposition 114 – Introduction of Wolves – passed with 50.91% of the votes while counties voting to pass the measure represent roughly 10% of the state’s total acreage. Essentially, the passage of Proposition 114 expanded the purview of Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to include the introduction of wolves onto the Western Slope by the year 2024 and continued species management. However, Proposition 114 did not identify any specific funding, making sportsmen and women very nervous about impacts to existing CPW programs. That is where House Bill 1040 (HB 1040) comes in.

Sponsored by Colorado’s Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Jeni Arndt and Caucus member Rep. Perry Will, HB 1040 would require that funding for the implementation and future management of gray wolves comes out of the General Fund revenue, not CPW’s current budget which is predominantly funded by sportsmen and women dollars. According to HB 1040’s fiscal note, initial costs to implement the program in accordance with the plan outlined by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission are anticipated to be between roughly $868,000 and $1,007,000 for the first two fiscal years alone. Without identifying alternative source(s) of funding, CPW will be forced to divert critical sportsmen’s dollars away from on-the-ground conservation projects and priorities which would negatively impact both game and non-game species. 

Current CPW revenues are derived primarily from hunting and fishing license revenues. Being that support for Proposition 114 predominately came from urban and suburban areas, it is only equitable that the cost of wolf introduction and management be shared evenly amongst all Coloradans through appropriation of General Fund revenue.

After hearing from the bill sponsors, expert witnesses and public comment, a committee vote on HB 1040 was carried over to Wednesday, March 3 by the House Energy and Environment Committee. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation stood alongside Colorado sportsmen, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and the Governor’s Office and submitted a letter of support for HB 1040.

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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