From My Window: State Park and Wildlife Commission wisely says no to wolves; Go Broncos!

Sean McMahon, Editor
Sean McMahon, Editor
Great news for Colorado’s Western Slope came out of last week’s meeting of the Colorado Park and Wildlife Commission meeting in Pueblo, where the commission not only shot down the notion of a grey wolf reintroduction to Colorado but also passed an anti-wolf reintroduction resolution.

I might echo the words of Don Shawcroft, the president of the Colorado Farm Bureau, who stated, “We are very pleased with the commission’s approval of this resolution. The Colorado Farm Bureau has long considered that Colorado is not suitable habitat for wolves. Additionally, the predation of wildlife populations by wolves, which is well documented, and human risk factors only increasingly validate the commission’s historic opposition to reintroduction.”
Having been a newspaper editor in Northwestern Wyoming when the grey wolf was reintroduced into the Greater Yellowstone Area, it didn’t take long for the ranchers there to find out the wolves didn’t stay where they were intended, that the wolves like the taste of beef and lamb as well as deer and elk and that the wolf is a much greater wanderer than had been previously thought.
The animals wreaked havoc on herds around Yellowstone, most noticeably to me around Sunlight Basin north of Cody, along the mountain areas east of Yellowstone like around Meeteetse, near the town of Jackson, Wyo., and the Jackson Hole area, all the way down south along the Teton ridges and along the Wyoming/Idaho and Wyoming/Utah borders.
It was quite a while ago that several reports were made of wolves being spotted south of Rock Springs, Wyo., into Northwestern Colorado and even down as far as Southwestern Colorado and possibly Arizona. (Not to be confused with the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf into and north of its historical range in Arizona and along the New Mexico border.)
Important aspects of the resolution, stated by the PWC, are: the focus on the Mexican wolf recovery in historic range, maintain integrity in subspecies (C.I. baileyi), reaffirm WWG recommendations, reaffirm legislative authority over state involvement in Endangered Species Act introductions and intend a better outcome for wolves in Colorado.
More than 10 years ago, the PWC approved a plan titled “Findings and Recommendations for Managing Wolves that Migrate into Colorado.”
The plan, a collaborative result of the Colorado Wolf Management Working Group, was in response to the reintroduction of gray wolves by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service into their historic habitat, the northern Rocky Mountains.
In November, the PWC returned to the discussion of wolves and the active introduction or reintroduction of wolves into Colorado. Interest in wolves remains high in Colorado and the proposed resolution has generated considerable public discussion and concern.
“We are not only worried about impacts to our livestock, we are also concerned over the high possibility for conflict with wolf/human interactions,” the Colorado Farm Bureau’s Shawcroft said. “While problematic interactions between wolf populations and domestic livestock populations would be expected, current laws that we see in other states only allow for protection of livestock in specific circumstances.
“A rancher who is protecting his livelihood will not have a chance to consult a lawyer to make sure the protection is justified should wolves be allowed for reintroduction,” he said.
Already, the beef and lamb industries have been dumped on in recent years with more regulations than necessary and limitations on how they can deal with predators. The proposal to reintroduce the voracious grey wolf into the predator picture is more than the stock ranchers should have to endure.
While the wolf has been “successfully” reintroduced into the Wyoming/Montana/Idaho areas, it is up for strong debate whether those who live in the areas of reintroduction agree that it has been a success.
Predation is rampant, causing the cost of raising stock to soar in many cases.
My biggest question as some dumb flatlander, is “Why is this necessary?”
Sure it is nice to look off into the distance and see the wolves running through the distant meadows of Yellowstone. But I would consider it a thrill to look across the plains and see a Tyrannosaurus Rex frolicking in the grasslands as well. But that doesn’t make me want to reintroduce the critter through cloning because it would be nice to have it return to its native stomping grounds.
Contrary to the opposition’s belief, the CPW stated in a release that this resolution embraces the best scientific option.
The reintroduction of the grey wolf would be counterproductive to the attempt by the USFWS and the Mexican government to reintroduce the Mexican wolf north of its “historic range.”
Given the long-range movements of wolves, interchange between Mexican and grey wolves would be expected, resulting in a dilution and perhaps loss of the unique set of genes carried by the Mexican wolf.
Forget the concern about a mixing of the genes of the two animals.
What about the futures of those humans—the homo sapiens who make their entire living off of ranching. How far do we have to go before realizing that the Western lands are also for the people who live here—not just for one or two endangered species.
Depredation of wildlife and domestic stock is a costly, unnecessary occurrence when perpetrated by wolves. Coyotes and fox and other carnivores, combined with what is consumed crop-wise by moose, elk and deer and throw in an occasional bear, make it tough enough as it is, it hardly makes sense to throw in the ferocious, ever opportunistic wolf.
Thank you Colorado Park and Wildlife Commission. Common sense, which we all know is not always so common, has prevailed.
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I wish I could say I am thrilled that the Broncos went out on Sunday afternoon and firmly established themselves as the team to beat in the National Football League.
But I can’t.
Even the Broncos admitted after the game that every one of their victories save one was a close contest and that luck “and one heck of a lot of teamwork” have brought them this far.
Once again, the Broncos got lucky. Yes, it has to be luck when you win so many games in the last five minutes or two minutes or on the last play of the game.
Talent and dedication don’t mean dropping six major passes in the first half. They don’t mean not scoring a touchdown until half way through the fourth quarter.
There just may be some truth to the adage I have heard in recent weeks that “God must be a Broncos fan!”
One major breakthrough did happen this weekend and it was that Denver didn’t have a single turnover. But the dropped passes, the lousy defensive pass coverage and the poor tackles continue to make the Broncos a dubious Super Bowl champion.
Wouldn’t it be great—and I’ve said it several times—if the Broncos would play four quarters, have the runners hold onto the football, see the receivers hold onto the balls that hit them in the chest or hands, and that they would remember to tackle near the line of scrimmage.
The Broncos have shown they are a great team by the good things they have done. Their defense, I believe, is unmatchable. They just have to eliminate the bad, and they would kick the bejeebers out of the opponents.
Go Broncos! Beat the Patriots! Let’s go on to the Super Bowl again!
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It feels to me that we have had quite a bit of snow this year.
But the actual figures don’t quite bear that out.
We live in the Yampa/White River Basin, one of eight river basins in Colorado, where the precipitation and snow depths are checked daily at SNOTEL monitors to see how we are all doing against a “normal” year, when the average precipitation and snowfall have built up to any given day.
As of Sunday, the Yampa/White River Basin measured as the lowest of all eight basins in the percent of normal snow/water equivalent at 94 percent and with total precipitation at 85 percent of normal. That information comes from the University of Wyoming’s Water Resources Data System, the official information made through SNOTEL monitors under the U.S. Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Of Colorado’s eight river basins, the Laramie/North Platte Basin is a hair higher at 93 percent of normal in snow/water equivalent and 93 percent in precipitation. The other six basins were basically at or above 100 percent as of Sunday.
Offered in comparison is the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan Rivers Basin, the No. 1 basin in Colorado and located in the extreme southwest portion of the state. That basin can boast of 120 percent of normal for its snow/water equivalency and for its current precipitation at 120 percent of normal.