New report details decline of deer, pronghorn

If you go …

What: Presentation of “Population Status and Trends of Big Game along the Colorado/Wyoming State Line”

When: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday

Where: The Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave.

Mule deer and pronghorn antelope herds on both sides of the Colorado-Wyoming border are declining and may not be able to fully recover unless federal and state agencies act to protect core habitats, according to a new National Wildlife Federation analysis and a release from the Colorado Environmental Coalition.

Veteran wildlife biologists John Ellenberger and Gene Byrne prepared the report titled, “Population Status and Trends of Big Game along the Colorado/Wyoming State Line.”

Byrne and Ellenberger analyzed wildlife agency statistics collected over the past 30 years for game management units in both states in an area roughly bounded by Interstate 80 on the north, the Green River to the west, U.S. Highway 40 on the south, and Laramie, Wyo., and Walden on the east.

A series of public informational meetings will take place to present the report.  The meeting in Craig is scheduled for 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at The Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave.

“We are concerned that at some point the resiliency of these herds to recover will be lost, creating a situation where we can only expect further declines,” Ellenberger said.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management manages habitats that stretch across state lines and over the interior Rocky Mountain West and most of the West’s vast federal lands.

“We are seeing a slow, but steady decline in populations of both species and a corresponding decline in hunting opportunities in both states,” said Steve Torbit, a veteran wildlife biologist and NWF’s regional executive director. “Ultimately, it will be up to all who value wildlife herds to urge federal and state agencies to make decisions that will protect and restore our wildlife resource.

“The future of our hunting heritage and the billions of dollars wildlife brings to the region’s economy are at stake.”

For more information about the meeting or report, call Bill Dvorak at (719) 221-3212, or Luke Schafer or Sasha Nelson at 824-5241.

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