Letter: Facts to ponder before your wolf vote
Following up on Steamboat Pilot & Today’s recent “War Over Wolves” article, as a rancher in Northwest Colorado, I thought the voter should have some additional facts before casting their vote on gray wolf introduction.
The wolf is a statewide initiative, but the framers of the bill limited wolf introduction to Western Colorado. When you vote, realize the bill allows the largest voting bloc, the Front Range, to vote on the introduction. Why not let Western Colorado decide what Western Colorado wants, since the introduction of wolves will impact Western Colorado’s communities tax revenue base, employment and businesses. If the Front Range wants wolves, let them have wolves and limit the wolves to the Front Range corridor.
As the population of wolves grow, the elk herd number will be reduced, and fewer hunting licenses will be available. The reduced number of hunters will reduce local tax revenue, hotels, restaurants and outfitting businesses over time. Is the state of Colorado willing to buy out the outfitters in Western Colorado and pay them a fair market price for their business, compensate hotels and restaurants every year for their losses, compensate local communities for their lost tax revenue? No.
Compensation will be paid to the rancher for herd loss, but will the state of Colorado pay the rancher to hire additional employees to watch the herd 24/7, pay the rancher to pay their fencer to repair pasture fences when wolves run elk and cattle through fences and pay ranchers for the riders to gather the cattle that escaped pastures through fences the wolves caused to be torn down? No.
It takes years for cattle herds to be built up. When a wolf kills a calf, they are not killing a calf that sells that fall at the sale barn, they are killing a calf that would have grown into a cow and produced 10 to 12 calves with superior genetics for 10 to 12 years. Is the state of Colorado going to pay the rancher the value of the cow its 10- to 12-year value? No.
One only has to look to Wyoming to see the effects of the gray wolf: loss of moose populations, increase of disease in the elk, leading to increased cases of brucellosis in domestic cattle.
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