Posts Tagged ‘Sage Grouse’

ANTLER COLLECTORS REMINDED OF RESTRICTIONS

December 14, 2010

I have been called a “rollover” for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and worse in the past. What follows has some very serious problems… I’ll respond to any serious questions about my reservations with this latest episode in beast verses man, and Mankind…

GUNNISON, Colo. — The Colorado Division of Wildlife is reminding antler hunters that the collection of shed antlers in the Gunnison Basin is regulated by strict guidelines.

The purpose of the regulations is to protect vulnerable wildlife species, especially Gunnison sage-grouse and mule deer, explained J Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison.

Collecting shed antlers for commercial use has grown significantly during the last decade in the Gunnison area. The activity can disturb Gunnison sage-grouse during their mating period, and also cause unnecessary harassment of deer and elk on winter range. Collectors are cautioned to know the regulations. Violations could result in confiscation of antlers, a $68 fine and five penalty points against hunting and fishing privileges.

“The Colorado Division of Wildlife takes the disturbance of wildlife species during the critical winter period very seriously,” Wenum said.

Over the years, unscrupulous antler collectors have been observed chasing deer on foot and with snowmobiles, searching areas at night, and going onto private land without permission.

Shed antler collection on public lands in Game Management Units 54, 55, 551, 66 and 67 is closed completely from Jan. 1 through March 14 annually. From March 15 through May 15, collecting is prohibited from sunset to 10 a.m. daily.

The regulations were adopted by the Colorado Wildlife Commission and based on a collaborative petition submitted by the Gunnison Basin Sage Grouse Strategic Committee, Gunnison-area sportsmen and shed antler collectors. The DOW worked closely with those groups to develop the regulations.

The period of the first closure (Jan. 1 to March 14) assures that deer herds and Gunnison sage-grouse are not harassed during the difficult winter months. The second closure period (March 15 to May 15) ensures that Gunnison sage-grouse are not disturbed during the critical early morning hours of their mating period.

The closures will be strictly enforced. Collectors are advised to consult official sunset tables and to obtain accurate public lands maps.

For more information, or to report violations or suspicious activity, call the DOW office in Gunnison at (970) 641-7060.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.


COLORADO GREATER SAGE-GROUSE CONSERVATION PLAN SIGNED

March 20, 2008

Regional and state directors from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) were on-hand at the DOW Headquarters in Denver today to sign the Colorado Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Plan.

The plan is designed to guide and facilitate the conservation of greater sage-grouse and their habitats. It identifies broad measures and strategies for the grouse, addressing threats that contribute to population declines, and recognizes the important conservation role played by local working groups. Local working groups consist of private landowners, public agency representatives and other interested stakeholders.

The plan has been in development for the past 2 ½ years, and is a compendium of information about Colorado populations of greater sage-grouse as well as analysis of threats facing them. A steering committee comprised of the signatory agencies developed the plan in partnership with an advisory committee made up of representatives from local working groups. Collectively, the federal agencies and DOW are responsible for the management of sage-grouse populations and habitat on public land, encouraging sage-grouse conservation on private lands, and conserving the species such that federal listing protection does not become necessary. Colorado’s effort is part of a larger conservation effort by state and federal wildlife agencies across 12 western states.

“The conservation of our sage-grouse requires active collaboration among our public and private partners at both the local and regional level to implement on-the-ground conservation actions.” said Tom Remington, Director of the DOW. “For wide-ranging wildlife species, these multi-state, multi-agency partnerships on public and private lands represent the future of conservation planning.  This plan will ensure that the best possible science and analysis will guide those conservation efforts”

“This state-wide conservation plan signals a strong commitment by all partners to maintain and improve the sagebrush ecosystem for the benefit of all sagebrush-dependent species,” said Steve Guertin, USFWS Director of the Mountain-Prairie Region. “I commend Federal and state agencies as well as the local working groups for their ongoing efforts to develop and implement conservation strategies that will not only benefit the Greater sage-grouse but numerous other species that utilize sagebrush habitats for all or part of their life cycles.”

Greater sage-grouse are designated by the DOW as a state Species of Concern. The species was petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act and its status is undergoing review by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether federal listing is needed.

Greater sage-grouse are the largest grouse in North America. Males are known for two large air-sacks on their chest that are inflated in elaborate courtship displays. Sage-grouse are found in areas where sagebrush is abundant. Sagebrush provides food and cover for the birds. During the winter months, sage provides the entire diet for sage-grouse, so the protection of quality sagebrush habitats is critically important for the species.

For additional information on greater sage-grouse and to view a copy of Colorado’s Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan please visit: www.wildlife.state.co.us
 
 


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