Petitions opposing the proposed ban on shooting prairie dogs is spread across one of the glass countertops at Craig Sports. So far, Craig Sports has collected 45 signatures. Other petitions can be found around town.

Photo by Collin Smith

Petitions opposing the proposed ban on shooting prairie dogs is spread across one of the glass countertops at Craig Sports. So far, Craig Sports has collected 45 signatures. Other petitions can be found around town.

Petitions opposing prairie dog ban circulate

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Petition information

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

— 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 cesmith@craigdailypress.com

Comments

Hayduke 6 years, 8 months ago

This ban has nothing to do with "shutting down hunting". Moreover, shooting prairie dogs has absolutely nothing to do with "hunting". As a hunter, I am ashamed to have such blood sport associated with hunting.

It's one thing to take the life of another being in order to put food on the table. It's quite another to blast defenseless creatures for the sake of watching them explode. Not to mention the immeasurable damage this does to the prairie dog family groups. Shameful, really. Shameful.

I , for one, will be taking my business to those places that support the ban on prairie dog shooting.

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selket42 6 years, 8 months ago

While prairie dog "shoots" don't seem to fit the code of the hunt, let's not forget that since we have gradually thinned out, or in some cases completely exterminated the prairie dogs natural predators, we have, in a backward kind of way, taken the role of the predator on ourselves. If left un-checked, prairie dogs will expand their dog towns to monsterous sizes, then the first time something like bubonic plague infects this area, and peoples dogs and cats begin being infected, or a builder sets his sights on an area for a subdivision, we will have a massive poisoning campaign to control the very thing the occasional "shoot" does quite well as it is. While the prairie dog is kinda cute, let's not forget that anything left uncontrolled will grow out of the areas ability to support it

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rhammel 6 years, 8 months ago

The white tailed prairiedog is currently being considered for inclusion on the US Endangered Species List. Further reduction of the species could very well trigger an emergancy listing, of which the residents of Moffat County really don't want to see.

"Hunting" prairiedogs, to me, is not a sport, it is an inhumane activity that is not sport. It is the willfull destruction of wildlife that serves no useful purpose.

As far as livestock are concerned, prairiedogs have been here longer than sheep and cattle. Ranchers have had to deal with them, besides shooting them. Fencing is an option to shooting. If listed, that may be the only option.

I urge the Wildlife Commission to ban the shooting of these small, defenseless animals.

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selket42 6 years, 8 months ago

Fencing prairie dogs? Just how deep do you think the fence would have to be? Ohhhhhh, you mean fence the livestock.....then explain to me how a fence would have stopped a rather large dog town from appearing in the middle of a well fenced lambing and calving area. The little buggers really can dig, and they dig deep too!

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bigrred1576 6 years, 8 months ago

I am a hunter, I also am a rancher. While i dont see the need for Prairie dog shoots, there is a point where the farmer or rancher needs to be able to control the population of them on their land. Myself and a freind have on occasion shot a few, but probably really didnt do alot to control them. The cats that some people so kindly dumped on my place have had a very positive on the population. Let the land owner have some control, but dont make it a sporting event .

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rhammel 6 years, 8 months ago

By fencing, I mean fence the livestock out of the prairiedog habitat. If listed, I don't know what Fish and Wildlife Service will require. But harming them, or their habitat, in any way is considered a "take." Science will determine whether the dog will be listed or not.

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calvinhobbs 6 years, 8 months ago

I learned gun safety wandering many dog towns in NW Colorado, my children have also. They get to learn how to carry a gun in the field, when you have a safe shot or not. They also get to practice shooting in all types of real world situations, wind, uphill, downhill, off balance etc. Just like they do when they big game hunt. The rodents killed, even though not used as food in my home is used by the birds and other predators. If we list the prairie dogs, populations will rise, predator numbers will increase, more food, more coyotes. Lamb and calving operations will suffer. There already is a season of sort on public lands, lets see how this works out. Why not find a middle of the road solution. Why go to extremes. Why let a few people set the rules for those of us that live here.

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