BLM Closures in Colorado... We need your help!

Tanner

New member
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
34
Location
High Country CO
Recently we've experienced some (in my opinion and the opinion of many others) ridiculous BLM land closures around my home town. Virtually every area that has been closed for the winter months is a hot bed for both coyotes, and lions, and all areas have been very productive in lion hunting. With these areas being closed to vehicle access, any sort of predator hunting is pretty much out of the question and I believe it'll have detrimental consequences on the deer and elk herds in their vulnerable winter ranges.

We've been told that if 1500 complaints are issued, the BLM will reconsider their actions. Please give a hand if you've got 5 minutes to spare today and urge the BLM to reneg their decision on these closures.

http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/b...File.dat/02 Appendix_A_Maps_FINAL_6-12-15.pdf

Greg Wolfgang is the man to call: he's out of office until the 14th but messages will help.

970 876-9068
 

BuzzH

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
12,984
Location
Laramie, WY
There is not much detail in the link provided, just some maps.

It appears the closures are just limiting access to foot traffic.
 

Tanner

New member
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
34
Location
High Country CO
I should have been more specific in my first post: The areas of my deepest concern right now are closing vehicle access to BLM land around EAGLE AND GYPSUM. Gates are being locked at entrances to these roads.



Tanner
 

BuzzH

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
12,984
Location
Laramie, WY
As a general rule, I agree with seasonal closures of big-game winter range to foot traffic only.

I see nothing posted that changes my mind on these closures.

Going to need more information to change my mind.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
18,127
Location
Indiana
Instead of just linking to Appendix A, folks might find it quite helpful to have a link to the rest of the document that spells out the decisions and their rationale.

Here's a link to the Record of Decision (ROD) and the RMP that governs these closures along with all the appendices.
http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/land_use_planning/rmp/kfo-gsfo/colorado_river_valley0.html

Curious as to whom "we" are and who at the BLM stated that 1500 complaints would get the BLM to reconsider a recently signed/approved management plan. The decisions just took effect on 6/11/15. Did "we" submit comments during the public comment period for this plan? Don't know for sure (and I'm sure someone here does), but I'm guessing this plan was years in the crafting with multiple opportunities for comment.

PS- Tanner the response will likely be much different here than the other place you posted this request.
 

Tanner

New member
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
34
Location
High Country CO
I'm open to open all commentary and differing ideas, and welcome them from you guys as you know more about BLM issues than I do. Someone at the BLM office told my father that after 1500 comments they'd look into revising the closures; I'm not sure how factual that is but it came from them. We absolutely need to be more vigilant in looking at their plans for the future years and taking action before closures happen.

My reason for being chapped at these closures is the prospect of all the lion quotas in the GMU's of these areas going unfilled. Lion kills on both deer and elk (mainly deer IME) have been really high in the last few years from what I have personally seen hunting and hiking around in them, and I believe it is our responsibility as hunters to try and help deer and elk herds out a bit if we can make a small dent in the lion population around here.

Tanner
 

BuzzH

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
12,984
Location
Laramie, WY
I've found lots of lion tracks hiking...more than from a vehicle, and by a landslide.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
18,127
Location
Indiana
Good on you for getting more involved! It does make a difference. If you have any questions regarding the process or how to be involved in the process there are some folks here that have a ton of knowledge on that front. Me, I just look like I weigh a ton. :D
 

Tanner

New member
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
34
Location
High Country CO
Buzz, I understand that lion tracks can absolutely be found hiking as I've seen a pile of them myself, but these are large areas that are tough to cover efficiently and affectively by foot. I'm the last person to condone riding around in a vehicle versus hiking when big game hunting, but in this case vehicles are the best way to find a track and then run it.

At any rate, I do NOT expect the BLM to reverse the closures but would love to see an effort. I fully plan on busting out the snow shoes once again and doing it that way.

Tanner
 

mtmiller

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2001
Messages
10,381
Location
Montana
Someone at the BLM office told my father that after 1500 comments they'd look into revising the closures; I'm not sure how factual that is but it came from them.

I would say they was some miscommunication somewhere in this chain.:D

My reason for being chapped at these closures is the prospect of all the lion quotas in the GMU's of these areas going unfilled. Lion kills on both deer and elk (mainly deer IME) have been really high in the last few years from what I have personally seen hunting and hiking around in them, and I believe it is our responsibility as hunters to try and help deer and elk herds out a bit if we can make a small dent in the lion population around here.

Elk, deer and concolor have evolved together just fine for the last few thousand years. That is yet to be seen with increased accessibility for recreational use, energy development and infrastructure on crucial winter range.

I will try to give the RMP a look this evening.
 

Tanner

New member
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
34
Location
High Country CO
Thanks Craig.

You're an expert on the issue, but in my issue there seems to be a larger than average concentration of lions in this area and I'm in support of anything that could possibly help our elk and deer on their winter range.

And, this purely anecdotal, but in my experience, the deer and elk in these areas seem to adopt the "stare and chew" method of dealing with vehicles on their winter ranges so it seems that we're doing more good than bad by using the roads for looking for cat tracks if we aren't pushing them all over hell and back and causing them to unnecessarily burn fat stores.

Tanner
 

BuzzH

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
12,984
Location
Laramie, WY
Tanner,

I agree with 1-pointer, good to see any level of involvement, but I've grown absolutely fed up with houndsmen and their lobbying efforts.

Just for some background into where I'm coming from in regard to lions and houndsmen and why I'm having a tough time with a few BLM closures impacting houndsmen/lion hunting. I'll use Montana as my example, but I think there are many parallels with other states.

Prior to 1976 lions were considered predators in Montana and the lion populations were very low. The area I grew up hunting in had a small number of serious houndsmen, Copenhavers, Zeilers, and a few others. They made finding a lion track pretty tough, and they didn't do it with snowmobiles, atv's, trucks, gps collars, radio collars, radios, cell phones, and the all the other chit that lion hunters use today.

So, I'm having a pretty tough time justifying that hunting lions on foot is anything but impossible. The truth is, most houndsmen guide hunters, and they want to see clients kill lions on short hunts, with as little effort as possible put in by both them, and their clients.

Flash forward to the early 1990's when lion numbers really peaked in Montana along with interest in hunting them and also technology in ATV's, snowmachines, and virtually no road closures. Lots of lions around and lots of lion hunters/outfitters. Within a few years of high quotas, there was an outright bitch-fest put up by lion hunters in Montana that there were "no lions around". I listened to hours of testimony at countless MTFWP meetings where lion hunters were bitching about "driving hundreds of miles without cutting any lion tracks".

I found that funny, as at the same time I was trapping bobcats pretty heavily with a friend of mine. Most of our sets were from 1/4-maybe a mile from drivable roads. We couldn't keep lions out of our sets, and in fact, had to go through measures to keep them out. It was rare when, over the course of a month, we didn't either have a set messed with by lions or cut tracks paralleling the roads on our way to check.

Then, in absolute brilliant move, the MTFWP folded to the whining of lion hunters and created "trophy lion" designations in most of Western Montana. The harvest in my part of the Montana world went from 90-110 lions in a year to about 10. No trouble finding cats now, and the houndsmen are rejoicing in the fact that they can now ride the roads and cut multiple tracks a day.

IMO, in regard to lion hunting, the road closures are a much less important part of why lion populations are high. Its about 95% based on houndsmen lobbying the various GF agencies to "feather their nest" by limiting female harvests, and keeping quotas down. They have also fought regulations that allow general season deer and elk hunters to buy tags and kill lions during those seasons.

I have no sympathy for lions hunters that are about 90% responsible for the current state of lion hunting across the West. If they have to hike to find tracks, well they aren't going to get any sympathy from me. Drop your prices, get clients that are in shape, and invest in snow shoes.
 

Tanner

New member
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
34
Location
High Country CO
That is good information Buzz, thanks for taking the time to write it all down.

I am personally all about a 100% 'on foot' hunt and have no issue with doing so if that is what it comes down to. But more importantly than that, I care greatly about the deer and elk (and sheep) in these areas and without SOME road access the lion hunting quality will diminish, because not everybody shares my thoughts on hunting on foot.

Tanner
 

mtmiller

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2001
Messages
10,381
Location
Montana
Tanner,

I am not anywhere close to being the expert on this specific geographic issue and I will not pretend to be knowledgeable about the issues in this resource area. That being said, having more open roads in crucial big game winter ranges and benefits mule deer seems to be non sequitur.

I did a quick search on the Affected Environment and there is some discussion of the existing issues. Might be of interest.

Check out Chapter 3
http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/land_use_planning/rmp/kfo-gsfo/crv.html

I didn't look into Chapter 4, but a word search might turn up useful info?
 

Pagosa

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 13, 2011
Messages
1,122
Location
Montana
Tanner, I don't really agree with Buzz on much, but I believe he has a couple good points about houndsmen in Montana that could also apply to Colorado.
If the BLM opened the roads they couldn't just allow houndsmen, it would open to all snowmobiles and snowcat users. I imagine the BLM through either the ROD/EA process decided it would be too much stress on the wintering wildlife to open up the roads. Secondly, I think a lot of cats can be treed by foot hunting/free-casting your hounds. It's the only method used back east for bobcat, which are way tougher to tree than a fresh lion track. I also imagine that once the roads were open heavy erosion/runoff and rutting could occur and there isn't a budget for road maintenance.

Buzz - Not all houndsmen are like the outfitters you described in your post. There are some that enjoy training a young dog into a effective tree hound, which can be difficult challenge. And enjoy the excitement of walking into a tree knowing that your dog was able to complete the race. Not all houndsmen are working for outfitters.
 

BuzzH

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
12,984
Location
Laramie, WY
Pagosa, I know that not all houndsmen work for outfitters and never said they did.

But, the fact is that trophy lion designations and permit only in Montana have had severe consequences on both deer and elk hunting in Western Montana. The Bitterroot elk predation study confirmed what myself and many others have known for a long time.

What this situation is quickly boiling down to is that the deer and elk hunters in Montana are about tired of sacrificing many hundreds of deer and elk so that a small number of houndsmen can train their dogs.

While I don't really care much for simple economics determining anything to do with wildlife management, it seems to me that the MTFWP and hunters are taking it on the chin financially with the new style of lion management. Very, very few hunters pursue lions, while many THOUSANDS purse deer and elk. It makes NO sense to limit lion harvest to the extent that it is and managing for "trophy lions". There are also many thousands more dollars raised/generated selling deer and elk tags than lion tags. Not even in the same ballpark.

IME, what defines a trophy cat is age...just like any other species. So, to produce a trophy lion that is 8-10 years old, the price is 400-500 deer/elk. IMO, a pretty steep price being paid by the average deer and elk hunter. The question becomes, is it fiscally or socially responsible...or even correct management, to be sacrificing that many deer and elk so that a handful of people can hunt a trophy lion? I don't believe it is...on any level.

While I never want to see a place with no lions, there is just flat too many of them and too restrictive seasons in Montana, Colorado, etc.

I can assure you that it was NOT the deer and elk hunters in Montana that lobbied for this trophy cat, limited quota crap. It was houndsmen doing it for selfish reasons, with ZERO regard for the big-game or the people that pursue them. As long as they can ride the roads for the entire season and run lions, that's all that matters....and yes, I've heard them state same in public testimony numerous times.

More female lions and lions in general need to be killed in Montana...period. There is no compromise with houndsmen in Montana...been there, done that.

Tanner, what I would look at if you're concerned with lion numbers and their impact on big-game (which IS a real problem in many areas), I would focus on trying to rally some support for higher quotas, longer seasons, and allowing hunting during elk and deer seasons with general OTC tags. I would try to focus more lion harvest when the roads are open and allow better access.

I'm sure you will run into the exact things I have in Montana...that the houndsmen cry a river when anyone mentions lion hunting during general seasons, killng more females, increasing quotas, etc.

Its all about them, and that's all there is to it.
 
Last edited:

maginnis

Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2012
Messages
177
Location
Montana
I dont know how it is in Colorado, but if it is anything like MT. People drive wherever they want on BLM. I hate it. If anything, the BLM ground likely gets pounded by road hunters all fall. So they want to close it in the winter. How about enforce the stay on the established roads and everyone can be happy.
 
Wild Alaskan Salmon Seafood

Forum statistics

Threads
94,684
Messages
1,413,752
Members
29,704
Latest member
gaddman
Top