Voters' intentions trapped by amendment's fine print

Grand Junction Sentinel.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission on Thursday approved hunting seasons for
pine marten and mink. Because they are fur bearers, state regulations say
that in addition to being hunted with weapons, they can be captured with
live traps, then killed.

And that has some people who supported a 1996 measure on trapping in the
state understandably upset. They believe Amendment 14 was meant to outlaw
all recreational and commercial trapping.

The 10-year-old amendment, however, does allow the Wildlife Commission to
consider exemptions for some species, in part for gathering scientific
data and performing research. Trappers who asked for the Wildlife
Commission to approve seasons on 10 species of fur bearers, not just the
two approved by the commission, said their efforts could provide the
Division of Wildlife with that kind of information.

But, as Tom Burke noted, “All of that stuff is anecdotal.” It doesn’t
provide hard data on particular species.

Burke is a member of the Wildlife Commission from Grand Junction. He voted
against the seasons for mink and pine marten because, he said, “The
intention of the voters with Amendment 14 was to ban recreational
trapping, not just some recreational trapping.”

The hunting seasons approved by the commission last week clearly whittle
away at what the majority of Coloradans thought they approved back in
1996. Thursday’s decision was an unfortunate one.
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