Brand new coalition notches first win for science-based wildlife management
DENVER — Colorado hunting, angling, and conservation organizations have joined forces in a new alliance, the Colorado Wildlife Conservation Project, for the purpose of providing a unified voice in supporting responsible wildlife management in the state. The alliance is celebrating early success with today’s, Feb. 3, defeat of Senate Bill 22-031, aimed at prohibiting the hunting of bobcat and mountain lions in the state.
The CWCP, which formally announced its alliance today on the east steps of the Colorado State Capitol, has courted the membership of 20 different national, state and regional wildlife and conservation organizations. The alliance collectively represents tens-of-thousands of hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts across the state. The CWCP is steadfast in their commitment to ensure the responsible management of wildlife continues to be conducted by professional biologists and wildlife experts at Colorado Parks and Wildlife informed by the best-available science.
“There has long been a need for sportsmen and women to unite around wildlife and conservation objectives and policies,” said Gaspar Perricone, former Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioner. “Today marks the beginning of that effort and I have every bit of confidence that CWCP will well serve the principle of science-based wildlife management now and in the future.”
HUNTERS AND ANGLERS WIN
Dan Gates, chair of the Coloradans for Responsible Wildlife Management noted, “The hunting and angling community has provided over a century of support for Colorado’s wildlife populations while conserving their habitat. Our contributions have resulted in the establishment of 350 State Wildlife Areas and countless benefits to the recovery and sustainability of Colorado’s 960 wildlife species. We are proud of our contributions to wildlife and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation”
SB22-031 would have directly circumvented the statutory authority and expertise of CPW and the CPW commission to advance the goals of special interests who do not reflect the opinion of the majority of Coloradans. The alliance directed thousands of calls and emails to members of the General Assembly in opposition to the bill, which resulted in three of the four original sponsors pulling their name from the bill.
The failure of SB22-031 to advance out of the Senate Agriculture Committee is a testament to the efforts of CWCP and their representation of responsible management of wildlife resources in Colorado. The committee’s decision today demonstrates their understanding of the need for continued science-based wildlife management in the state and the role that hunters and anglers play in both funding and maintaining sustainable populations of game and non-games species alike in Colorado.
Member organizations of CWCP went on to say:
“Sustainable, regulated, science-based harvest as conducted by CPW does not preclude the benefits experienced by those who engage in wildlife viewing or photographic tourism, as the proponents of SB22-031 suggest,” said Ellary TuckerWilliams, senior coordinator, Rocky Mountain States for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “When properly managed using the best available science by the experts at CPW, consumptive and non-consumptive user groups can coexist. CSF commends the Colorado House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee for supporting CPW’s role as the foremost experts in managing Colorado’s native felines as a public trust resource for all members of society, hunters included.”
“Defeating Senate Bill 31 is a great win for the CWCP and science-based wildlife management. I’m proud to have our volunteers, chapters and advocacy staff involved in the partnership and fighting on behalf of hunters and trappers. Safari Club International believes that sound science-based wildlife management involving hunting and trapping as the primary management tools, while maximizing opportunities for all huntable species, including cougars and bobcats, is necessary to the long-term health of wildlife,” said Laird Hamberlin, CEO, Safari Club International. “Hunters and trappers have long paid the way for conservation, both game and non-game wildlife, and maximizing opportunity for hunting and trapping is also key to long-term funding for all species.
“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation advocates for scientific wildlife management overseen by state wildlife agency biologists and game managers,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We are confident the coalition members that came together to oppose this legislation will be powerful allies as we fight for habitat, public access and other hunting issues.”
“The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation has proven to be a successful system to restore and safeguard fish and wildlife and their habitats,” said Terry Meyers, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society. “The RMBS will continue to advocate for sound wildlife management in Colorado with our partner organizations in CWCP.”
“Wildlife needs to be managed using best-available science,” said Larry Desjardin, president of conservation group Keep Routt Wild. “This is a win for wildlife and wild places across the state, and we applaud the efforts from CWCP that made this result possible.”
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