To the Editor:
Over 60 land owners, ranchers and, sportsmen met in a country school building on Feb. 16 and the reality of something Congressman Wayne Aspinall used to tell us came true we are all united in our concerns of predators.
Thanks go to Al Storey of the Mule Deer Association and Tim Mantie for organizing the meeting and to Glen Troester of the Meeker Herald for reporting it in a well written article in the newspaper.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is responsible for managing the game herds the same as ranchers are responsible for managing their livestock. In order to have a successful operation, habitat and forage are necessary for all seasons. The DOW has all this donated by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (B.L.M.) and private landowners, and yet their position is that the decline of the largest deer herd in the nation is due to loss of habitat. The habitat and forage has never been as good as it is today because of all the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land used strictly for game animals during the last 10 years. Another necessary tool is predator control which has also benefited the DOW, but administered by the landowners. However, all this is being challenged by the animal rights and extremist groups who donate nothing but lip service. They have the votes and are united in their efforts to eliminate predator control.
Now that we are showing a united front perhaps we will have the votes and facts to present to the legislature, the governor and the enviros, and he in a better position to overturn Amendment 14 (Anti-Trap Bill) and stop such legislation in the future by educating the general public and proving to them the necessity of managing predators. Last year legislation was passed which placed jurisdiction of predators in the hands of the Department of Agriculture but stronger legislation is needed. The DOW tried to place a hunting season on predators and we narrowly beat the extremists by one vote.
We are now getting ready to go to court in order to overturn Amendment 14 (Anti-Trap Bill). Colorado Woolgrowers Association started a fund in order to help the National Trappers Association in this effort. Education is needed to inform the general public of the necessity of controling predators. We are only asking for police protection against the loss of livestock and game animals the same as protecting individuals from criminals who steal from your home or business.
Now that we are united, we must stick together and help with this effort. Money is needed for the court battle and education so please add to the fund started by the few who have already donated. DOW seems to think raising license fees and not issuing deer licenses for several years will bring back the declining deer herd. However, this effort will not bring back the deer and will not stop the killing of fawns as long as predators are allowed to increase. Predator losses are increasing by 15 percent each year even with the use of guard dogs and the limited control we now use.
Colorado Cattlemen's Association, Club 20 and other organizations have joined us by passing resolutions to enter the court case as friends of the court. Other organizations have indicated their help also.
For more information, call Nick Theos at 878-4485.