Colorado wildlife officials are reluctant to OK gray wolf reintroduction, so advocates want voters to do it |

Colorado wildlife officials are reluctant to OK gray wolf reintroduction, so advocates want voters to do it

This 1924 photo shows one of the last wolves shot and killed in Routt County.
Photo courtesy of Jay Fetcher

DENVER — After 40 years of battling to restore wolf populations in the Southwest, Northern Rockies and Great Lakes states, the legal, political and biological war for wolves is coming to Colorado.

But this time it could be voters — not federal and state wildlife managers — pushing the only state in the Rocky Mountains without wolves to welcome the roaming predators.

Jay Fetcher, whose father was a pioneering rancher in the Yampa Valley, runs about 300 cattle on his family’s ranch on the Elk River near Steamboat Springs. While he’s unsure about reintroduction of wolves, he welcomes them venturing south from Wyoming.

“I think they would suffer with reintroduction,” Fetcher said, noting some ranchers opposed to wolves would follow the “shoot, shovel and shut-up approach” to protecting livestock if a wolf came hunting. “I don’t think it’s fair to the wolves. But I’d like to see them. I really would. I know we would have predation of the cattle herd, but I’m willing to tolerate some of that predation as long as there is quick and easy compensation.”


The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User