Snow, cold, wind, a lack of food -- those are just some of the difficult conditions that Colorado's wildlife face during the winter. People may also cause problems for wild critters and Colorado Parks and Wildlife asks residents to avoid disturbing wildlife during the cold-weather months.
"Wildlife are uniquely adapted to survive the winter; and by understanding the animals' biology, people can help wildlife survive the winter," said Patt Dorsey, Southwest Region manager for CPW in Durango.
All wildlife feel winter's effects, but big game animals -- deer, elk, pronghorn and bighorn sheep -- are often most visible and vulnerable during the winter. During the warm months big game find abundant high-quality food which allows them to develop the fat stores they need to survive the winter. In winter, food is less available and is of poor quality. Big-game animals burn stored fat and lose weight throughout the cold months.
"They are essentially in a starvation mode and any disturbance means they will burn extra calories they need to survive," Dorsey said.
Throughout Colorado, CPW and other land management agencies restrict access to areas with high concentrations of wintering big game. These "winter range" areas are critical for the animals' survival.
CPW asks people to understand the demands that winter places on wildlife and to minimize disturbances that stress wintering animals. If animals appear alerted to your presence or start to move away, you are too close and forcing them to burn energy. Big game is very sensitive to disturbances of any kind. Even while engaged in quiet activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, or taking photographs, people will disturb big game if they are nearby.
Another problem during the winter is dogs chasing and killing wildlife. When dogs see deer or elk some of them react to their natural instincts and give chase. Law enforcement officers are authorized to shoot dogs that are seen harassing wildlife. CPW asks that pet owners keep their dogs secure and not allow them to run unattended.
Some people also are tempted to feed big game. But putting out food for big game is illegal; and because animals are not adapted to foods such as hay it can kill them.
"We love to see our wildlife in Colorado; and I know we can count on Coloradans to give them the space they need to survive the critical winter months," Dorsey said.
For more information, go to: http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/do-not-feed-wildlife.aspx
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.