Throwing his hat in the ring

Local man sets sights on Colorado Wildlife Commission

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The Colorado Wildlife Commission can be a polarizing force on the state's hunting scene.

In-state hunters say the commission, which sets Colorado Division of Wildlife policy, is in the pocket of outfitters. Outfitters say the commission resents anyone whose private business relies on public wildlife.

Roy McAnally, of Craig, said he doesn't take any particular side in the fight about how to manage the state's wildlife.

"I really don't represent any one group," said McAnally, 56.

But McAnally, who is hoping Gov. Bill Owens appoints him to the commission, said he knows of one thing the commission needs, and that is representation from Northwest Colorado.

"We should have a person from this area on there because we have nearly the largest hunting area in the state," McAnally said.

According to the Division of Wildlife, Northwest Colorado has more than 25 percent of the state's big game and the state's two biggest elk herds. The booming elk and deer populations have spawned a hunting economy that pumps thousands of dollars into Craig every fall.

But despite the region's hunting economy and wealth of wildlife, none of the nine voting members on the Colorado Wildlife Commission is from this corner of the state.

The closest any of the members live to Craig is Grand Junction.

"That was one of my concerns," McAnally said about the lack of representation the region has on the policy-making commission.

McAnally is a real estate agent at American Northwest Realty in Craig. He is married and has two adult sons and three grandchildren.

McAnally said he wants to be on the commission in part because he has always been an avid fisherman and hunter.

The governor appoints members to the commission based on a variety of criteria, including the political party of the appointee. No more than five of the nine voting members can be of the same political party.

Three of the commissioners saw their terms expire at the beginning of March.

McAnally, a Democrat, is hoping to fill the seat vacated by Robert Shoemaker, of Cañon City, also a Democrat.

Another Northwest Colorado man, Kelly Sewell, of Slater, made a run at Shoemaker's seat a few months ago. But Sewell had to pull his name from the running because of problems with his political affiliation.

Sewell said Monday that he thought he was a registered Democrat, but somewhere along the line he had changed his affiliation and was no longer a Democrat.

Sewell said he is disappointed that he won't be on the commission, but he said he won't sweat it.

"That's just the way life goes," he said.

McAnally said he won't have the same problem Sewell had because he has been a Democrat his entire life.

Dan Hopkins, a spokesman for Gov. Bill Owens, said the governor doesn't have a timetable for appointing new members to the commission.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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