Petitions opposing prairie dog ban circulate
Petitions opposing the proposed ban on prairie dog shooting can be found at:
• Bargain Barn, 506 Yampa Ave.
• Big Cat Taxidermy, 37 E. Victory Way
• Bullseye Taxidermy, 1445 Yampa Ave.
• Craig Sports, 1598 W. Victory Way
• Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply, 2355 W. Victory Way
• Northwest Pawn Shop, 801 E. Victory Way
• Outdoor Connections, 34 E. Victory Way
• T & H Parts, Inc., 400 taylor
Craig Sprinkled around town, inside businesses that have chosen to participate, petitions opposing another petition can be found.
The Colorado Trapper's Association is collecting signatures to oppose the recent proposal to ban shooting prairie dogs.
That effort - a "grassroots, from the ground up" project, said Chris Jurney, a Moffat County outfitter who helped pass out the opposing petitions locally - is alive in Craig.
At least eight Craig businesses carry the petition, he said, starting about eight weeks ago.
"The main reason is to show the Wildlife Commission they have the support of hunters throughout Colorado," Jurney said. "We, as sportsmen, support the (Wildlife) Commission and the Division" of Wildlife.
At the same time, Jurney worries about the future of hunting in Colorado. The prairie dog ban is another step toward across-the-board shooting bans, he said.
Environmental groups "always want to shut down hunting," Jurney said. "Sportsmen today are tired of having their rights taken away."
The ban proposal, sponsored by the Wild Earth Guardians, a national conservation group, alleges prairie dog hunting does not meet the legal or moral definition of hunting. That is, the animals are not hunted for food and are killed with little regard for the species.
The Colorado Wildlife Commission, which oversees Division of Wildlife policies, approved the shooting ban proposal to go through a three-step review process at its last meeting, March 13.
DOW officials said the Wildlife Commission's decision was a step to allow more conversation on the issue, not an endorsement of the proposed ban.
The Wildlife Commission will hear more public testimony on the issue at its meeting May 1 and 2 in Grand Junction.
At Craig Sports and Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply, opposition to the shooting ban runs strong, store representatives said.
"We haven't gotten one person that thought it was cruel," Craig Sports owner Joe Herod said. "Not one person."
Herod's store had 45 signatures so far in opposition to the ban.
Murdoch's just received the petitions Monday, bookkeeper Marianne Maigatter said. She said there has been conversation in the store about the issue and that customers have been in agreement to oppose the ban.
"It's kind of a hot topic in Craig right now, because of all the ranchers and farmers and outfitters we have out here," Maigatter said.
Those residents have reason to hunt prairie dogs, she added, because they ruin crop fields and their burrows endanger livestock.
"I think the people who are for (the ban) don't understand all the issues," Maigatter said.
She plans to put her pen where her mouth is.
"Absolutely, I'll sign it," she said.
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or email@example.com