The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and the Public Trust Doctrine define fish and wildlife resources as the property of the people and managed by the state and federal agencies entrusted with their stewardship. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers acknowledges this model as the foundation of science-based fish and wildlife management and we support hunting, fishing and trapping as appropriate management tools. BHA does not endorse advancing wildlife management policies and decisions by state or federal legislation or voter referendums and ballot initiatives. We are obligated as an organization committed to hunters and anglers to advance sound stewardship policies that are guided by science over politics, emotion, and conjecture.
While the presence of wolves and evidence of natural colonization in Colorado has instigated passionate conversations, BHA’s policies related to wildlife management remain unchanged. We do, however, recommend the following actions be considered related to future wolf management needs in the state:
- Update Colorado’s dated wolf management plan to incorporate new science, wildlife and habitat data, and the growing body of evidence that suggests natural colonization of the grey wolf (Canis lupus) is a reality in Colorado.
- Direct the appropriate decision-makers to study, evaluate, and secure new sources of funding to support the financial burden of wolf management in Colorado including both the costs of additional staffing for wolf-related management activities and mitigation expenses for livestock losses.
- Develop a plan to evaluate potential livestock depredations and community conflicts, provide for ongoing monitoring, and create a compensation program that mitigates livestock losses.
- Direct the appropriate decision-makers to create durable policies for any new livestock compensation programs that protect state-based revenue sources provided by hunters and anglers (Game Cash Fund) and create legal compliance with and insulation for federal funds provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 (Pittman–Robertson).
- Facilitate cross-jurisdictional collaboration with neighboring states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service related to future wolf management needs in Colorado.