In an apparent last-ditch effort to delay the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado, some legislators there have introduced a bill that would designated the predators “experimental.”
In addition to possibly delaying the planned Colorado reintroductions, an “experimental population” designation would allow for more direct management by the state, rather than federal control, according to the Sportsman’s Alliance, a hunting advocacy group.
Colorado wildlife officials have considered allowing wolf hunting in that state at some point in the future. Colorado residents expressed strong opinions both for and against wolf hunting during a recent public hearing in Denver, hosted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Colorado Senate Bill 23-246 calls for delaying the reintroduction of any more wolves until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designates them as an “experimental population.” The Colorado House Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Committee passed the measure this week.
North Park Pack Already Causing Controversy
Colorado already has one established wolf pack, the North Park Pack, which was started by wolves that migrated there from Wyoming. That pack is under federal protection in Colorado.
There are plans to reintroduce more wolves to the Western Slope region of Colorado, starting by the end of this year. The wolf reintroduction was authorized by Colorado’s Proposition 114. It barely squeaked by voters Nov. 3, 2020, by a margin of 50.91% to 49.09%.
The North Park pack has already caused controversy, killing livestock and dogs.
U.S. Congresswoman Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, is an outspoken opponent of bringing in more wolves.
She told fellow lawmakers of the terrible fate of Scooby Doo, one of her constituent’s service dogs, that was killed by wolves.
“Scooby Doo had his stomach ripped out and wide open,” she said during discussion before the U.S. House Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee.
Crossing State Lines
The idea of more wolves coming to Colorado also worries some Wyoming residents, who expect packs to cross the Wyoming-Colorado state line.
Former Wyoming lawmaker Pat O’Toole recently told Cowboy State Daily that he thinks reintroducing wolves to Colorado is a bad idea. He said he’s concerned about how more Colorado wolves could affect his family’s ranch, which straddles the state line.
Mark Heinz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.