Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission bans wildlife contests in Colorado

AURORA – With a vote of 8 – 3, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a ban on organized wildlife contests during its virtual meeting today. The decision prohibits contests for black-tailed, white-tailed and Gunnison’s prairie dogs, Wyoming (Richardson’s) ground squirrels and all furbearer species. The estimated effective date of this ban is June 30, 2020.

Today’s motion was the result of a process that began at the November 2019 Commission meeting in Wray, CO when the Commission directed Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff to provide information about how other state wildlife agencies regulated such contests. Wildlife contests are privately organized competitive contests where participants compete for cash or other prizes for taking animals in a specified location during a specified time period, often to alleviate damage caused by the animals. In a related action, the Commission denied a citizen petition that was submitted after the Commissions’ decision to consider changes to contest regulations. The petition similarly sought to ban contests, but the proposal contained conflicting regulatory language that would have been difficult for people to understand.

Colorado already has a partial statutory ban on wildlife contests. Colorado Revised Statute C.R.S. 33-6-118 prohibits contests for big game. Commission regulation prior to today’s action imposed restrictions on wildlife contests for small game and furbearers in addition to the statutory big game contest prohibition. Today’s action further restricts contests for small game and furbearers.

An analysis by CPW staff found that five other states currently have some form of a ban on wildlife killing contests:

  • Arizona: banned predator and furbearer killing contests in 2019
  • California: banned predator and furbearer killing contests in 2014
  • Massachusetts: banned predator and furbearer killing contests in 2019
  • New Mexico: banned coyote killing contests in 2019
  • Vermont: banned coyote killing contests in 2018

In addition to Colorado, partial bans exist in Idaho, Montana, North Carolina, Utah and Washington. This ban does not apply to lawful hunting of predators or fur-bearing animals.

“We are committed to sound wildlife management in Colorado, and we always strive to review wildlife-related issues,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow. “We studied the issue over the past several months and staff brought forward a thorough recommendation for the Commission to consider, culminating in today’s decision.”

“I believe we’re still leaving the opportunity for private landowners to manage their properties,” said Commissioner Marvin McDaniel. “At the same time, I believe that for these hunting contests, the staff recommendation [to ban] is a good one.”


Categories: SCI News

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