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With every article that was written about the deer and elk this winter, since late December, the DOW always mentioned that they didn't have the funding to feed them. So we all got to watch them starve to death and get hit on the highway for 3 solid months!!! By God, when the state collects all that money from hunting licenses next year and every year after, they better put aside a good chunk of it for an emergency feed program! Because we are not going to listen to another year of excuses from them. There will be no excuse for next year or whenever we suffer another winter like this one. Wake up DOW!
The problem is with the DOW and BLM and the USFS. This is why--ranchers are allowed to graze,and in nearly all cases,over graze on public land. I live in Denver and have complained to the DOW about land management practices to no avail. Their reason is that the leases are managed by the USDA-FS and BLM. The problem that raises its ugly head is simply this-The US govt. manages the land but the state manages the wildlife. When the two conflict, wildlife always loses. While the elk range is being over grazed,private land range is being used for hay production or simply letting private range grow for fall and winter grazing. A good land management practice. So where do the elk go for food? You guessed it, private land. The land owner than applies to DOW for extra tags for "damage or crop control" purposes. He then uses thes extra tags to sell hunts with the now 'baited' elk herd. Hunting around Meeker and Maybell we constantly see the elk herd cross govt. land on their way to private land. Why? Thats where the grass is! The solution is to allow hunter access with a trespass fee or some type of public draw for those fees. If the land owner truly wants to protect his crop,whether it be hay or for grazing, from over grazing from the elk herd,then he should cooperate with DOW in allowing some type of controlled access to thin the herd or keep up the pressure to disperse back to govt. land. I have been hunting here for 18 years and have never seen any attempt by a private land owner anywhere to keep elk off of their property. As one land owner told me, "We make our living off of hunters". Those 30 odd elk could have been "managed" in a much more productive way.
agentam-You hit the nail on the head. Government allows overgrazing on public land because ranchers will pay for it. Make them own the land they use for grazing and put the wildlife back on public land where it belongs. When sheep and cattle eat the grass right down to the ground, deer and elk will move to where there is good food. If you own livestock, own the land they feed on. Public land is for public use, yet I've seen leasee's who act like they own it. I've had them try to chase us off during hunting season, because we were on land they had leased. Return public land to the public and the wildlife will thank you for it.
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