Conflict Turkeys, Lion Quotas on PW Agenda in Colorado
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will have its first briefing Thursday on a growing problem in some parts of the Eastern Plains – large flocks of wild turkeys that are creating conflicts with agricultural producers during the winter months.
Commissioners will be presented with recommendations for managing so-called "conflict turkeys" during their monthly meeting, which is being held at the Doubletree Hotel, 1775 East Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard, Colorado Springs. The meeting is scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Colorado's turkey restoration program stands as one of the most successful species conservation programs in state history. Beginning in the early 1980s, wildlife biologists began transplanting turkeys in an effort to restore populations of the small game bird. Since then, wild turkeys have colonized most of the available habitat in the state. They can now be found in 53 of the state's 64 counties.
However, in some places turkeys have become so abundant that they are causing problems with farmers, ranchers and homeowners. Current regulations provide few options to deal with these conflict turkeys during late winter, when limited food resources cause the problems to escalate.
To address the issue, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is proposing a number of changes to turkey hunting regulations that seek to enlist the aid of hunters in managing these growing populations. One recommendation is to create a new late season targeting hen turkeys on private lands in specific eastern Colorado locations that are experiencing conflicts. Another recommendation is to offer unlimited over the counter private land tags for either sex in Game Management Units 101 and 102 in Yuma County during the regular fall season. Wildlife managers are also proposing to increase the existing bag limit of two hen turkeys per year if the new late seasons are approved.
The proposed changes are being presented to Commissioners for their consideration Thursday. A final vote on the turkey recommendations would be scheduled later for November.
During Thursday morning's session, the Commission will also take final action to establish mountain lion harvest limit quotas for the 2011-2012 season and consider a citizen petition to allow hunters to use electronic calls as an aid in taking mountain lions.
In addition, Commissioners are scheduled to receive a presentation on a proposed mineral development project in St. Vrain State Park and an update on the transition of Bonny Reservoir State Park to a state wildlife area following the draining of the impoundment this fall to resolve a dispute with Kansas over the Republican River Compact.
In other business, Commissioners will consider whether to rename a portion of the Rio Grande State Wildlife Area for two leaders in the local water community. The Shriver-Wright SWA, which would be named in honor of Doug Shriver and Ray Wright, would be created from the portion of the Rio Grande SWA that lies west of Rio Grande County Road 3. A watchable wildlife trail is planned for the parcel. Commissioners will consider the name change and property regulations Thursday.
Thursday’s Commission meeting will be followed by a workshop on Friday, at which Commissioners will receive updates on the progress of the merger between Colorado State Parks and the Division of Wildlife into Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The Parks and Wildlife Commission meets monthly and travels to communities around the state to facilitate public participation in its processes. During the remainder of 2011, the Board has scheduled meetings in Steamboat Springs in October, Burlington in November and Fort Collins in December.
The complete agenda for the September Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting can be found on the Commission web page at:
Members of the public who are unable to attend Commission meetings or workshops can listen to the proceedings through an Internet link. This opportunity is provided to keep constituents better informed about the development of regulations by the Board and how they are working with Parks and Wildlife staff to manage parks, wildlife and outdoor recreation programs administered by the agency.
To access the live audio feed during the meeting, click on the "listen to live audio" link at the bottom of the Commission webpage at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/ParksWildlifeCommission/Pages/Commission.aspx.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is a 14-member board appointed by the governor. The Parks and Wildlife Commission sets regulations and policies for Colorado’s state parks wildlife programs.