At the June 2020 meeting of the Delta County Colorado Republican Central Committee, participants decided to issue a position statement on the ballot issue concerning the reintroduction of wolves to the State of Colorado. After discussion, the members voted unanimously to oppose the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado.
Those present at the meeting expressed a variety of opinions, all against wolf reintroduction. It was noted that wolves are already present in Colorado and have come into the state on their own, without the expense that reintroduction efforts will entail. Their migration into the state will likely continue without human interference.
One GOP member is a farrier, whose job it is to shoe horses for ranchers, outfitters and backcountry travelers.
“Horses and wolves are not compatible,” he explained. “As snow builds up in the high mountains, wolves will go to lower elevations, making domestic horses easy prey. It’s a devastating blow when a horse lover loses a quality horse to a wolf.”
Another member, a wilderness outfitter, noted, “Our Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists have worked very hard to establish a small Shiras Moose population in Colorado, and with wolf reintroduction, those beautiful animals will be devastated, as has been shown in Wyoming. It would be a pity to lose such a great resource that is enjoyed by all Coloradans.”
Yet another member expressed disappointment that a majority of voters supporting wolf reintroduction live on the densely-populated Front Range, where wolves could obviously not survive today. (Historically, there was a substantial wolf population in Eastern Colorado, preying on buffalo herds.) “Those people who want wolves won’t have them in their backyards. They’ll be in OUR backyards. It will be rural people who will suffer the losses of pets, livestock and wildlife."
Big game hunters are also outraged by the idea. “The average wolf kills 28 elk a year,” said one respondent. “All I want is one elk to help feed my family, but the wolf lovers would rather see 28 families lose their source of high-quality food to support one wolf. It will greatly diminish our hunting economy in Western Colorado.”
Of the 30 people present at the meeting, there were no comments in favor of wolf reintroduction. One member, a retired U.S. Forest Service employee, noted the historical record shows that the wolves that originally inhabited Colorado were much smaller than the northern timber wolves that have been reintroduced to other Lower 48 states.
“This subspecies of wolf never existed in Colorado,” he noted. “These wolves are much larger, more aggressive, and extremely damaging to our big game herds. It’s a bad idea, biologically.”
At the close of the conversation, those present agreed that reintroducing wolves per the November ballot initiative is a bad idea for the state and particularly for the Western Slope, and that the proposed program is unnecessary and an unnecessary expense to the state and taxpayers. Because of the reasons listed above, Delta County Republicans remain opposed to the ballot initiative that would create an expensive program to ‘reintroduce’ wolves to a state where they already exist.
The Delta County Republican Executive Committee includes: Chairman Roger Bentley, Secretary Angie Many and Treasurer Virginia Selby.