Elk NetworkColorado Newspapers Line Up, Oppose Forced Colorado Wolf Introduction

General | September 30, 2020

Below are excerpts from the editorial boards of several Colorado newspapers in opposition to Proposition 114. If passed, the November ballot measure would forcibly introduce wolves into the state. Among many other reasons, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation strongly opposes the initiative because a complicated wildlife management issue is determined through a political process by uneducated voters in contrast to relying on a proven scientific process featuring biologists and scientists.

Aurora Sentinel:  Colorado’s Prop 114 is a Political Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing – Vote No

Colorado should absolutely allow science and wildlife management experts to guide the state toward better handling of the environment and mitigating past mistakes. The problem is posing extremely complex and tenuous questions to voters. Critical wildlife and environmental management can’t depend on who wins political funding and partisan ballot-box wars. Vote no on Proposition 114.

Colorado Springs Gazette:  Don’t Hand Wildlife Management to the Wolves

Most (voters) are unfamiliar with the science of keeping an elk herd healthy, a lake’s fish thriving — or a cattle or sheep rancher out of bankruptcy due to decimated livestock. Yet, those same voters understandably have a heart for our natural wonders, including the animal kingdom. When voters have embraced such proposals over the years in assorted Western states including Colorado, the upshot too often has been policy that doesn’t belong in statute books. At best, it delves too deeply into the weeds and ties the hands of the experts whose job it is to make the best judgments on wildlife welfare. Other times, the policy backfires — resulting in wide-ranging, unintended consequences. That promises to be the outcome if voters approve a proposal on the statewide Nov. 3 ballot to bring gray wolves to Colorado.

From a distance, all wildlife are warm and fuzzy. The reality is inevitably more complex. The Colorado Gray Wolf Reintroduction Initiative not only would result in reckless policy but also represents the wrong way in general to manage Colorado’s wildlife. Let’s leave that to the experts.

Denver Gazette:  No More ‘Ballot-box Biology’ – and No to 114

It is billed as the “restoration” of a species that once prowled our state — yet the proposal seems driven by sentiment rather than science. The most compelling reason for voting “no” on 114, however, is simply that it never should have been sent to voters to micromanage. The measure’s opponents call it “ballot-box biology,” and rightly so.

Fort Morgan Times:  Our Stance: Vote No

We share concerns farmers and ranchers would have toward reintroduction that consider a lack of a predator to the wolf, a consideration that habitat can be encouraged by livestock density and that the animal preys on elk, moose, white-tailed and mule deer, along with livestock and smaller game. Wolves can digest a meal in a few hours and feed multiple times per day.

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:  No on Wolf Question

Our initial reaction upon hearing that a petition drive had been mounted to reintroduce wolves to Colorado was an eye-roll. Back then, before the signature-gathering process succeeded in getting a measure placed on the ballot, it seemed like folly to expect voters to decide a science-based question with their heads and not their hearts. Nothing that’s happened since then has moved us away from our initial skepticism. A citizen initiative doesn’t seem like the proper way to settle a controversy in which there’s no scientific consensus.

Journal Advocate:  Our Stance: Vote No

We are not convinced reintroduction can be accomplished without damage to the ecosystem, and prefer to have nature take its course as the means of whether or not reintroduction occurs. We join agricultural, livestock and sportsmen advocacy groups with firm opposition to this proposal.

Monte Vista Journal:  Colorado Gray Wolf Reintroduction Initiative is Needless

For Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), wolf introduction is a “can of worms.” CPW must manage all wildlife in such a manner as will preserve, protect and perpetuate wildlife. CPW is already trying to understand why the elk numbers in southwest Colorado are on the decline. Adding an apex predator to the equation of wildlife management and calculating the number of hunting tags to issue, etc. will be burdensome. Not to mention an added million dollar plus annual expense and loss of millions of dollars in hunting license fees.

Steamboat Pilot:  Vote ‘No’ on Proposition 114, the Plan to Reintroduce Wolves to Colorado

Pursuing the reintroduction of wolves by popular vote is putting politics before science, and it asks voters to decide a multi-layered issue that they don’t have expertise in. The way the issue was placed on the ballot also concerns us. The signature-gathering effort behind the measure was backed by serious money, and a lot of the financial support came from out of state. The majority of the signatures gathered to place the issue on the ballot came from Front Range residents, which serves to further fuel the urban/rural divide that exists in Colorado. And to us living on the Western Slope, it certainly doesn’t feel like the forced reintroduction of wolves should be decided by urban residents, when it’s our more rural communities that will be affected by the decision. Voting ‘no’ on Proposition 114 is what’s best for Routt County and Colorado.

Vail Daily:  Colorado Wolf Return Ballot Measure is Misguided

Colorado’s easy-to-use ballot initiative process makes it far too easy to enact sweet-sounding, but unwise public policy. Voters in 1992 banned bear hunting in the spring. That isn’t the only, or even the primary, reason human-bear conflicts have increased over the years, but it hampers wildlife managers’ work. And wildlife managers — as well as others who actually know about habitat and other issues — believe wolf reintroduction is a bad idea. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has several times opposed the idea. In addition, the department has this year confirmed the presence of the animals in Colorado’s northern mountains.

The above is a dissenting opinion offered by a member of the Vail Daily editorial board.

The Villager:  Vote No on Proposition 114

I strongly oppose the reintroduction of wolves into the state. Since we have some already, leave them alone. Wolves live on fawns, deer and elk and these poor animals already are fighting development, drought and fires. Give the animals a break and leave the wolves to fend for themselves. Vote “No” on Proposition 114.

(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)