Thanks in part to efforts from Safari Club International (SCI) and other concerned hunters, Colorado House Bill 1243 is heading to the Governor’s desk for signature. HB 1243 will prohibit the use of hunting license fee funds for the wolf introduction process in Colorado – an important victory for Colorado sportsmen and women. The introduction was brought on by Proposition 114, a 2020 ballot initiative which barely passed the state with 50.58% of the vote. While this remains a very controversial issue, and SCI actively opposed Proposition 114, SCI is supportive of this new legislation as it ensures hunters and anglers will not foot the bill for the high cost of premature wolf introduction.
SCI opposed Proposition 114 as it was an emotionally driven citizen initiative that contradicted the management strategies of Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW). CPW previously had a wolf management plan as there are already migratory wolves in the state – meaning Colorado will now spend huge sums of money to introduce and manage a species that is already there. CPW has also consistently opposed an introduction initiative at this time. Since wolves are not an endangered species, they should be managed through the same scientific processes as every other species in the state.
While we remain opposed to the forced introduction of wolves, our efforts have been effective at ensuring hunters will be included throughout the planning and management process. Following the passage this misguided ballot initiative, SCI members sent more than 2,000 emails through our Hunter Advocacy Action Center to CPW Commissioners stressing the importance and need toto include the considerations of sportsmen and women in this process.
SCI staff was involved in several meetings with CPW agency staff, CPW Commissioners, representatives from the Governor’s office, and others stressing that this introduction process absolutely should not use monies derived from sportsmen and women, and instead should come from the General Fund or other appropriated funds.
After HB 1243 is signed into law, we will continue to work with CPW to ensure the planning process includes the input of SCI, other stakeholders, and the hunting community and that the entire process is guided by science and effective management strategies. Despite their stable population and delisting from the Endangered Species Act, wolves continue to be exploited by animal rights groups to implement detrimental wildlife management strategies both in Colorado and across the country. SCI will continue to push back against emotional wildlife management and instead work for sound, scientific, and proven strategies to create the best outcome for wolves and America’s wildlife.