Colorado hunters support protection of migrating wildlife

Hunters know from boots-on-the-ground experience that big-game animals often use the same migration corridors year after year. Mule deer, in particular, tend to follow specific migration routes. Our elk herds also have seasonal migration patterns and routes. Antelope migrate, too.

However, Colorado’s wildlife populations are all facing the growing threat of habitat fragmentation. Fences, roads, houses, proliferation of motorized/mechanized trails and energy development can all fragment habitat and pose a threat to migration routes. Recent polling (April 2019) shows that 85% of Coloradans support actions that protect migrating wildlife.

Which is why it was good to hear about a recent executive order issued by Gov. Jared Polis addressing migration corridors. The order directs Colorado Parks and Wildlife to gather the best available science and to lead public outreach and education efforts around seasonal habitat and migration corridors. It directs the Department of Natural Resources to identify opportunities to ensure the ongoing conservation of seasonal habitat and migration corridors.

In addition, it directs the Colorado Depratment of Trasportation to incorporate the maintenance of wildlife migration into all levels of their planning process, to help enable safe wildlife passage and to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. This comprehensive approach to wildlife corridor conservation will benefit big game and, hence, hunting in Colorado.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers members look forward to working with Gov. Polis and our state agencies to accomplish the objectives identified in the executive order. As my friend (now deceased), World War II veteran and BHA life member Bill Sustrich once said: “In the simplest terms, without suitable habitat we will have no game; without game, we will have no hunting; without hunting, a precious heritage of our past will be lost forever.”

David Lien

Co-chair, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers