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By Pat Lefemine, Founder
Bowsite.com

 

 

Has the USFWS lost their freaking minds? In a proposal issued last month the USFWS submitted a series of four alternatives for managing the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex which includes the Alamosa, Baca, and Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuges in Colorado.

 

Most of the proposal is innocuous and in line with the USFWS mission. That was until page 8, Alternative C states:

 

Download Proposal

 

Haven't we tried this before? And how well did that work out?

If you have been living in a cave for the last 20 years the USFWS in the '90's introduced wolves within Yellowstone Park in order to control elk herds and promote "biodiversity." The wolves were required to be managed and contained within the park. Due to a variety of factors including lawsuits by special interest groups and sympathetic judges - the management part didn't happen and the wolves expanded into areas outside of Yellowstone. Because they were protected, they reproduced exponentially - decimating many elk and deer herds in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

All of the hard work (and money) provided by sportsmen and pro-hunting conservation groups were reversed in short order. Tired of watching the devastation, hunters and Ranchers joined forces with State DNR officials, and only just recently initiated the difficult task of reducing established wolf populations. Unfortunately it may be too little - too late. At least it's a start and I remain optimistic that over time our elk populations can rebound.

The reintroduction process was a mess from the jump. Millions of taxpayer dollars wasted, ranching losses in the millions, lost revenue to western states due to reduced hunting opportunities, bitter lines drawn and for what? Ultimately the USFWS reluctantly allowed wolf hunting and trapping after approving, what I consider to be, three 'mediocre' wolf management plans in the affected states.

Discuss This Situation

I run a business and when we make even a small mistake in judgment we learn from it and never do it again. So I was floored when I saw wolf reintroduction show up as an official "option" for Colorado - of all places.

This leaves me with two questions: Has the USFWS lost their minds? or do the Feds secretly want wolves everywhere? While not a conspiracy theorist by nature, I am beginning to wonder. Fresh off one of the most controversial and divisive wildlife issues in recent memory, it is unconscionable that they would even float the wolf option as an alternative.

Sportsmen need to wake up.

If Alternative C is accepted, here is what I predict will happen.

The USFWS will move quickly to release wolf breeding pairs within key areas of this Colorado Refuge. They will be protected and it will be illegal for hunters, ranchers, and state game officials to shoot them. They will continue to breed exponentially and meet the Service's goal of reducing elk populations. The wolves won't stop there. They will start to negatively affect both domestic livestock and wild game populations in Colorado. Attempts by ranchers and hunters to reduce Colorado wolves will be met with federal bureaucracy. If a management plan is outlined, lawsuits will be filed to halt any attempt to execute them and manage the now established (and growing) wolf population in Colorado and surrounding states. They will spread southward to New Mexico, westward to Utah, and eastward to the plains of Kansas. By the time management is approved, it may be too late.

Think this scenario is far-fetched?

Ask someone who lives in Idaho.

 

 


Action Steps

The USFWS is seeking comments on their proposal.. The deadline for comments is February 24, 2012.. You can bet the pro-wolf groups are all over this. It's time the hunters did the same.

This is how you can help:

Submit comments on the project visit: www.fws.gov/alamosa/planning. Comments will be accepted during the meetings or via letters addressed to: Laurie Shannon, Planning Team Leader, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO 80225-0486; or via email to SLVrefugesplanning@fws.gov.

Get the Word Out - Send this article to your hunting buddies. Copy this link:

http://www.bowsite.com/bowsite/features/articles/usfwswtf/

Join the US Sportsmen's Alliance at http://www.ussportsmen.org. The USSA has been actively representing Sportsmen and instrumental on Wolf Issues.

Call your DNR (CO, UT, KS, and NM) and urge them not to entertain any reintroduction of wolves in Colorado.

Keep abreast of this issue on Bowsite.com - our forums broke this story before any other website and we have several officials tracking this situation.

 

 
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