Hunting, conservation groups back cuts in big-game licenses to help herds recover |

Hunting, conservation groups back cuts in big-game licenses to help herds recover

Judith Kohler
The Denver Post

A coalition of hunters, wildlife advocates and conservationists supports substantial cuts in the number of big-game hunting licenses proposed for northwest Colorado and believes even deeper reductions might be needed to help herds recover from the region’s severe winter.

Reductions of more than 60% in licenses for some species in certain areas were on the table as the Colorado Wildlife Commission met Wednesday in Glenwood Springs.

Deep snows and harsh conditions caused deer, elk, pronghorns and other animals to migrate out of northwest Colorado this winter. State wildlife officials have said many animals starved to death or died when struck by vehicles while foraging for food along roads, Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers have said.

In January, a semitrailer driving east on U.S. 40 near Dinosaur plowed through a group of 35 pronghorns, CPW said. A herd of 19 pronghorns was hit by a pickup a few days later near Craig.

Eleven groups in the Colorado Wildlife Conservation Project wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to the wildlife commission that they “wholeheartedly support the agency’s recommendations on license reductions and believe we have an alarming emergency” related to the long-term sustainability of the herds in northwest Colorado. The coalition suggested temporary reductions in licenses of more than 80% might be necessary to rebuild wildlife populations.

The coalition also said the release of wolves in northwest Colorado as part of the voter-approved mandate to restore the animal to the state should be delayed “until the prey they need is better positioned to deal with an additional predator.”

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