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CO – WILDLIFE – An elk hunter welcomes wolves

Though elk numbers are alarmingly low in the San Juan Mountains, I am an elk hunter who welcomes the return of wolves to Colorado.

Why would I want to compete for elk meat with another top-tier predator? Some years, I see no wild game and the only thing I cut up with my hunting knife is an orange. Why would I willingly welcome more competition with elk numbers drastically diminished by habitat fragmentation, disruption by mountain bikers, ATV riders, backcountry skiers and hikers of all sorts? Everyone in Durango plays on public lands. People move here for our outdoor opportunities. Climbers, hikers, bikers and skiers are everywhere in the mountains at all times of the year. Elk, which are private animals preferring quiet meadows and south-facing winter hillsides, are constantly disturbed. Why add wolves to the mix when there are already hunters galore seeking elk? The 2020 Colorado Big Game Hunting Brochure lists no fewer than six hunting seasons for elk. Archery begins Sept. 2 and goes through Sept. 30. Originally celebrated as using “primitive” technology, now highly mechanized aluminum bows have rifle-like sights and are deadly accurate at many yards. Muzzleloader season goes from Sept. 12 to Sept. 20 and those single-shot rifles are now precision, not primitive, weapons.

Why would I willingly welcome more competition with elk numbers drastically diminished by habitat fragmentation, disruption by mountain bikers, ATV riders, backcountry skiers and hikers of all sorts? Everyone in Durango plays on public lands. People move here for our outdoor opportunities. Climbers, hikers, bikers and skiers are everywhere in the mountains at all times of the year. Elk, which are private animals preferring quiet meadows and south-facing winter hillsides, are constantly disturbed. Why add wolves to the mix when there are already hunters galore seeking elk?  [full article]

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