The following comments were submitted by CO BHA in regards to the CO Parks and Wildlife's Draft Mule Deer Strategy.
August 12, 2014
TO: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
RE: Comments on Colorado West Slope Mule Deer Strategy - Draft August 9, 2014
Please consider the following comments on behalf of the Colorado Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers in regards to the West Slope Mule Deer Strategy - Draft Aug.9, 2014.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a grassroots sportsmen conservation organization dedicated to serving as a voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife. We support wildlife and land management plans that are scientifically-based and which balance social demands with biological needs. Accordingly, we felt compelled to comment on the current effort to draft a West Slope Mule Deer Strategy.
Recently anti-government extremist David Justice was arrested by federal authorities for tearing down an access gate along the Cushman Creek Trail near Olathe, Colo. Justice, also known as Stanley Hugh Anderson, appeared in U.S. District court in Grand Junction Friday, July 25, to face one felony count of willful destruction of government property.
As a big game hunter, veteran, and chairman of the Colorado Backcountry Hunters & anglers (BHA), I’ve watched with some trepidation during recent months as a select (and misguided) few among our state’s lawmakers and county commissioners have encouraged extremist fringe-types, like Anderson, by pushing ginned up proposals to transfer federal public lands to the state or sell them off outright.
Back in October 1991 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its Wilderness Study Report for the Browns Canyon Wilderness Study Area (WSA) between Salida and Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colo., saying (in part): “Due … to its rugged topography, this WSA is important habitat for numerous wildlife species such as mule deer, mountain lion and bighorn sheep ... bobcat, black bear … and … elk.”
Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall has introduced legislation that would protect 22,000 acres of Browns Canyon, to ensure that the canyon remains just like it is now for coming generations of hunters, anglers and others. Salida area resident Bill Sustrich is a Word War II/U.S. Navy veteran and National Rifle Association (NRA) Life/Benefactor Member who raised a family of four youngsters on deer, elk, and trout he shot and caught in Browns Canyon and surrounding public lands.
July 13, 2014
I’m writing you both as a veteran and chairman of the Colorado Backcountry Hunters & anglers. As you are likely aware, it was a fellow veteran, Theodore Roosevelt, who is responsible for much of the great public lands inheritance and heritage that Americans enjoy today.
In 1887, Roosevelt founded the Boone and Crockett Club with fellow sportsmen. As explained by American Hunter contributor Mike Fuljenz, this group later became Roosevelt’s brain trust of “hunter-conservationists” during his presidential crusade to preserve habitat for elk, deer, buffalo, and other species among America’s vast wild places and wide open spaces. To Roosevelt, no one was better suited to lead this crusade than America’s hunters—those who spent time in the wilds and respected the beauty and wildlife like few others.
“Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
The secret’s been out for quite some time, Gunnison County is a sportsmen’s paradise, boasting some of the best backcountry hunting and fishing in the state of Colorado and arguably, the country. With numerous storied wilderness areas, miles-upon-miles of incredible and publicly accessible cold water fishing and plenty of wide-open public land to explore, sportsmen have good reason to work towards protecting the wild public lands and waters that make Gunnison County what it is.
Named by the Boone & Crocket Club as one of the top 125 counties for trophy hunting of all-time (68th), there’s good reason that many people wait years to hunt this storied and undeveloped landscape. Until the extremely controversial “spider bull” was killed recently, Gunnison County held the world record typical elk, taken in what is now the Raggeds Wilderness in 1899. While Gunnison’s hunting fame is centered on elk and deer, the area also offers great hunting for bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, waterfowl and grouse.