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Colorado wolf ballot may have enough support

Colorado wolf ballot may have enough support

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Colorado wolf supporters are a step closer to getting their wolf reintroduction effort on the 2020 ballot. Earlier this week, backers of the controversial ballot initiative that would allow voters to decide on whether wolves should be reintroduced to the state, provided 211,093 signatures to state officials, The Denver Post reports

Historically, wolf restoration efforts follow federal protocol with state wildlife managers going through the required steps outlined by the Endangered Species Act. If this ballot proposal is approved, this would be the first time that voters would determine a state’s wildlife strategy. As goHUNT previously reported, Initiative 79 specifically requires “the parks and wildlife commission, after holding statewide hearings and using scientific data, to implement a plan to restore and manage gray wolves.” It would also require “the commission to fairly compensate owners for losses of livestock caused by gray wolves.” 

Those in favor of the reintroduction say that “introducing what likely would be a few hundred wolves across 17 million would help restore ecological balance” through a better predator-prey ratio for “out-of-kilter deer and elk herds,” according to The Denver Post. However, opponents of the ballot proposal say that reintroducing wolves to the state won’t result in a harmonious existence. And, they’ve hired former Colorado natural resources director and Club 20 business group president Greg Walcher to help them put an end to the ballot proposal. Walcher says that “unlike lynx, moose, prairie chickens and other previously seeded species…[wolves]… ‘simply cannot peacefully coexist in a state with almost 6 million people."

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While the number of petition signatures should be enough to validate the ballot proposal, over the next month, Colorado elections officials will be working to validate at least 124,632 of those signatures, which is the number required under the state ballot initiative process. According to The Denver Post, Colorado Secretary of State Office staff members will collect a random sample of 5% of the signatures submitted this week and compare the names and addresses to those on the voter registration rolls. In order to make it to November 2020 election ballot, 90% of the signatures must be valid.

“They’d be introducing the Canadian gray wolf, which is larger and much more aggressive than the wolf that we had here,” said Denny Behrens, co-chair of the Colorado Stop the Wolf Coalition. “We don’t believe it’s fair to bring that Canadian wolf down here into Colorado. We’ve got almost 6 million people here. It’s going to be conflict from Day One.”

Behrens points out that “funds for the ballot initiative have come from ‘out-of-state radical environmental groups.’”

“The majority of Colorado does not want the wolves,” said Behrens. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife has put forth resolutions saying no wolf reintroduction. So why are we going to circumvent the professional wildlife managers? It is absurd.”

15 Comments

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Brandon S. - posted 3 weeks ago on 12-31-2019 09:52:16 am

Coming from a sportsman that has lived in Wyoming and Idaho where wolves have all but destroyed wildlife populations and a person that hunts Utah and Colorado every year, this is a terrible idea. Colorado has been taken hostage by outside influences mainly from CA. They destroyed their state and are hell-bent on destroying Colorado as well. Join this fight. Once they win, Colorado hunting will never be the same and neighboring states like Utah will see wolves in their mountains as they know no boundaries.

They like to use the myth of wolves only take out the sick and weak. Maybe in their liberal utopia but in real life wolves take out everything and anything including livestock and domesticated pets in addition to the valued wildlife of the state. We already have predators to take out the weak and sick (and healthy and strong) as well as hard winters.

Colorado has the largest elk herd in the world. Plan on those numbers plummeting fast. A couple hundred wolves, as they plan, will multiply exponentially and these killing machines must eat. However, they often don’t just kill what they eat but also kill just to kill. Numerous stories of smaller herds laying out in a snow-covered flat dead with nothing but wolf tracks left in the snow have come from other states. Colorado will join that list.

Proponents for wolf introduction want to hear the “majestic howl” and view the “beautiful species” from afar. Most don’t spend but a summer camping on the weekends in the forests of Colorado. They don’t deal with the effects of wolves on a daily basis like sportsmen, outfitters, ranchers, and many citizens in rural areas. This will affect businesses that rely on income that hunting produces. Let’s face it. The herd numbers of deer, elk, sheep, moose will drop. Fewer numbers of big game animals will equal hunter frustration and fewer opportunities that will, in turn, force these hunters to find other states to hunt and game producing revenue will decrease. Introduction of wolves negatively affect most everyone not living in Aspen, Vail, or the Front Range.

I can’t imagine what the many high/top preference point hunters will face when they finally draw the long-awaited tag only to quickly find out the herds have been reduced and the big bulls/bucks are fewer and far between. A few years ago, a very hard winter took its toll on the Gunnison deer herd (as well as others around the state) and the units have been slow to recover. Add wolves to that equation and herds could realistically become decimated with no hopes of returning. I am positive those point holders that will eventually draw never thought that they would also be competing with another apex predator but that could become reality and it will affect all big game species/herds throughout the state and negatively affect ALL resident and nonresident hunters regardless of how many points he/she has. This is a fight worth fighting.

Luckily, I live in a state that allows me to hunt wolves. That may happen in Colorado eventually as well. However, that is many years down the road and many, many animals taken from a herd in the process. Idaho isn’t the same since wolves came a knockin’ and I fear that Colorado will NEVER be the same if the Canadian Wolf is introduced into the state. www.stopthewolf.org

Arron J. - posted 3 weeks ago on 12-29-2019 06:04:58 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Introducing the Canadian wolf (please stop using the phrase "reintroducing" or allowing the anti-hunting groups from getting away with that) is equivalent to introducing an invasive species. I hope this gets taken to federal court as the Endangered Species Act covers "native" endangered species, not introducing invasive species that were never in Colorado to begin with.

michael h. - posted 1 month ago on 12-18-2019 10:15:22 am
Tijeras, NM
goHUNT INSIDER

Unless they're going to put up a fence around the entire state, boarder states should probably also have a vote. When these bigger grey wolves move from CO into NM and AZ they will destroy or breed out the mexican grey wolf populations the doggy lovers have been working so hard to reintroduce.

Greg W. - posted 1 month ago on 12-18-2019 08:34:03 am

I can't imagine where the writer got the idea that I had been hired by opponents of this ballot measure. I expressed my opinion about it in a couple of newspaper columns, and nobody on either side paid me to do so. I do not work for anyone in this campaign, and am not being paid to tell people that this is a terrible idea - which it is. Wildlife should be managed by trained professionals. not by ballot initiatives. Greg Walcher

Brandon M. - posted 1 month ago on 12-17-2019 04:05:10 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

There is a reason that the wolves were almost eradicated in the past! We can stop this if we do our part and get the word out! Talk to your friends, use social media, do whatever you can to donate. This is going to come down to voting in the 2020 election so we have hope.

My co-worker said he was at a dog park in Stapleton and the pro wolf folks were at it trying to get signatures....They are targeting liberal non-hunters in the city and they are thick.

Greg B. - posted 1 month ago on 12-15-2019 08:42:55 pm
Alamosa, CO
goHUNT INSIDER

I was born in Colorado and have lived here my whole life. I hunt and am a rancher. Unfortunately the liberals on the front range (south of Pueblo to north of Ft. Collins) controll the states votes. I hate to say it but this is going to pass. I have donated to stopthewolf.org but Im afraid it wont help. Im not saying for others to give up, but be prepared for it to pass. They have already banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds so hopefully no one ever gets attacked by a pack of 11 or more. This state is a shell of its former self thanks to the liberals that have moved here and outside infulence. I would love to hear some possible options to combat this above and beyond donating to stopthewolf.og. I love Colorado and cant stand the direction it is headed.

Nicholas K. - posted 1 month ago on 12-15-2019 04:17:50 pm
Quarryville, PA
goHUNT INSIDER

This is so much more than Colorado. If the activists succeed in getting done what they want to do by bypassing the actual wildlife agencies and wildlife conservation groups like the RMEF, you can bet similar things will start in many other states. I'm from Pennsylvania and I just donated to stop the wolf in Colorado. We must not let this pass.

Michael G. - posted 1 month ago on 12-15-2019 03:14:19 pm

Colorado, has always been known as The Land of Opportunity, with wolfs in the area, that will be no more. What is Colorado going to do when its been a draw / preference point state for decades, for the sportsmen/sportswomen when the wolfs reduce the population of the game animals. Is Colorado, willing to give all the sportsmen/sportswomen all their money back for the preference points they have acquired. Colorado, can be looking at a huge loss of revenue from resident hunters and nonresident hunters alike. It took Idaho many years before they opened a wolf hunting season. Science has not learned to leave mother nature alone; she takes care of her own. If science worked then why do we have foundations like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation and Big Horn Sheep Foundation, just to mention a few. The sick or injured animals will eventually pass, that animal will feed many species that roam Colorado mountains, it DOES NOT need wolfs to do so. Elk and Mule deer historically migrate to their winter lands which consist of farm agriculture land , when the wolfs follow and start killing livestock, Colorado will have to start paying the farmer for that livestock, that can turn out to be a huge number, Wisconsin pays out $250,000.00+ for livestock and domesticated animals. Farmers already have a tough time making ends meet, so now Colorado, is going to give him/her more. Is Science going to pay that bill? Its food you eat!
A wolf kills/harvest to feed its self, then moves on to its next animal, not finishing its previous harvest, were a mountain lion covers its harvest and comes back to it.
Idaho, has 1.6 million people, were Colorado has 6 million people, there will be problems that Colorado is not thinking of. Idaho also has the Frank Church, were wolfs can live and not interfere with people, were Colorado has NO mountain range that big. If science, worked out so well, then why does Idaho have a $1000.00 bounty on the wolf (F4WM.org). Science also has not done so well for Wisconsin; they spend out over $500,000.00 to the residence for destruction the wolf causes. Wisconsin, also has a huge decrease in sportsman tax along with harvest success. Is science going to pay all these numbers back? Man seems to have more concrete then naturally forests, every state is losing lands to concrete as lands turn into concrete, where are they going to live.
HELL, TO NO ON WOLFS IN COLORADO! Science has failed multiple times in different states.

Chad W. - posted 1 month ago on 12-15-2019 05:58:31 am

Take it from a long time Idaho resident...don't let this happen! I've hunted Colorado for 20+ years and have lived there, the hunting would NEVER be the same...

Tyson C. - posted 1 month ago on 12-13-2019 12:16:23 pm
Lincoln, NH
goHUNT INSIDER

aj c literally everything you've written is false and based on misinterpretation and subjective bias.

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/scientists-debunk-myth-that-...

aj c. - posted 1 month ago on 12-13-2019 08:40:15 am

Wolf attacks on humans are nearly non-existent, maybe 2 in the last 100 years or so? And even those are questionable predation situations. Hunters need to balance the needs of allowing nature to exist as an important ecosystem by itself instead of acting as one big supermarket for harvesting meat. Apex predators remove the sick/weak from the system, hunters usually target the big/strong, which may have led to situations like wasting diseases and other illnesses spreading throughout the herds. Apex predators control their populations through competition, as well.

Dean K. - posted 1 month ago on 12-13-2019 06:44:44 am
goHUNT INSIDER

This is crazy...and I live in California, so I know crazy first hand. Game management should be done by science, not the ballot box

outdoorsmanx10
Joshua Z. - posted 1 month ago on 12-12-2019 01:09:42 pm
Denver Co
goHUNT INSIDER

This is crazy. Then CPW would have to pay to compensate for damage the wolves do is just insane. Go to stopthewolf.org and donate.

Ron J. - posted 1 month ago on 12-12-2019 10:01:00 am
Denver, CO
goHUNT INSIDER

Help by going to Stopthewolf.org and donating. This should be an all hands on deck moment for everyone who hunts and recreates in the state of Colorado.

Nicholas K. - posted 1 month ago on 12-12-2019 09:53:44 am
Quarryville, PA
goHUNT INSIDER

This is insane. So called animal lovers hate hunters more than they love the animals they claim to care about.