Hunting access on Big Springs STL is an outcome of the Public Access Program and provides approximately 10,000 acres of land for hunting access near Elicott, CO outside of Colorado Springs. This project was a collaboration between Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, lead by Colorado Chapter Board Member and CPW Biologist Ty Woodward, with input from the Ag Lessee on the state trust property. The funding for the fencing materials was provided through a grant administered by the State Land Board. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers provided food and drinks for the participants as well as volunteer help. We had approximately 21 volunteers with half of those being BHA members and the other half CPW volunteers.
The property is known for year round herds of pronghorn. As is commonly understood, pronghorn through their evolution have developed a keen sense for going under obstructions rather than over. CPW mapped over 7 miles of "sheep" or woven wire fencing on the property. This type of fencing provides movement obstructions for pronghorn on the landscape. The end goal is to remove all of the woven wire which has proved lethal for pronghorn, and replace it with barbed and smooth wire fencing built to CPW's Wildlife Friendly Fencing specifications. On November 12th, volunteers with CPW staff made a good start on working toward this goal. We removed over 1 mile of the fencing, posts, staples, and trash. We then replaced almost 1/4 mile of the fencing, and made progress toward completing another 1/4 mile. There will be additional work days planned in the future to continue progressing toward the 7 mile mark.
This project highlights the value to the land that hunters and related conservationists add. Through our inputs, we show the stewardship and conservation ethics of our community, while proving that wildlife and wild places are worth our effort. Projects like the Big Springs Fencing project show value added through collaboration and cooperation between state agencies, conservation groups like Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and private landowners and producers. When wildlife benefits, we all benefit.