Colorado Wildlife Commission clamors to give hunters a shot at elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

Two black wolves in YellowstoneAn article in the Denver Post reports that the Colorado Wildlife Commission will seek Congressional intervention to change a decades-old law that prohibits hunting inside the Park. This is the latest installment in the soap opera playing out as the Park Service tries to deal with the ecological effects of not having wolves in the system to help keep the elk moving around. Notably, the very problem that Rocky Mountain National Park is trying to solve (the decline of aspen and willow because of too much browsing pressure by lazy elk) has been dramatically solved in Yellowstone in less than a decade. The solution: restore wolves to the Park. It’s not rocket science, folks! It should be ecological science, but instead, it’s political science.


5 responses to “Colorado Wildlife Commission clamors to give hunters a shot at elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

  1. Obviously the Colorado Division of Wildlife expects to cash in on elk hunting if it is permitted in RMNP — guess how much extra they will charge for the permit to hunt these “tame” elk who will walk up to the nuzzle of your gun and lick your hands.

    I agree that the herd must be culled, but not by hunting.
    1. Every hunter wants a 7 point bull to hang on his den wall, so only
    the scragly, sick female elk will be left for visitors to see.
    2. Every year we read about hunters who get lost and have to be
    rescused, whose guns go off accidentally and shoot the hunter or
    his friend. So then someone will try to hold the National Park
    liable — and in any case, the Park will be left holding the bill
    for the rescues.
    3. How many elk are injured by the hunter who almost missed and then
    the Park rangers will have to find them and put an end to them.
    4. There are people who LIVE within the boundaries of RMNP, legally in
    houses that were built by families before the Park was established.
    Who will protect them from hunters slipping around their houses
    ready to shoot the first thing that moves
    5. It’s not a joke that some hunters are so dumb that they shoot
    cows and other domestic animals. Who will guarantee that hunters
    will shoot only elk or sometimes, by accident or perhaps even on
    purpose, snag a bull moose to add to a personal collection? Maybe
    even a nice-looking male deer to use as a hat rack.

    The only reasonable way to trim the herd is to
    a) let wolves do it naturally, and incidentally the experience in
    Yellowstone shows that the presence of wolves alone influences
    the behavior of elk and keeps them largely away from the streamsides
    where the vegetation is most in need of protection, or
    b) let rangers, or hunters strictly under ranger supervision, select
    the individuals to be removed and, since the elk are so easily approached, charge a “trophy fee” which goes to to support the activities of the national park.

  2. Cy, your heart & soul is devoid of poetry. As I have spent my life in the outdoors, I have seen “gut shot elk & deer dying slow deaths, deer with arrows protruding through their rib cages & elk with broken limbs from careless shots. In some cases this was a week or more after hunting season. Slow death is not pretty. Predators kill in a relatively short time. A world, without apex predators, such as tigers & jaguars, would be poverty stricken. What else should humans eliminate: all birds of prey, all insect eating birds, all predatory fish, all snakes & all lesssor predatory mammals such as pine martins, wolverines & foxes? The world’s rat population would probably buy in to your agenda. What criteria would you use to decide which predators should live & which should die?

  3. Thanks for pointing out that “too bad we cannot be rid of” sounds threatening. Sorry. I would like to substitute “I take issue with”. I would like to add that people who put back into the environment. that my honourable ancestors cleansed, preadators that can and will take humans, despite those people’s twee claims, and in any case take herbivours whose numbers are more mercifully controlled by humans, are NOT TO MY LIKING but that is not a threat, just a statement of fact. I suppose if I were to say that I do not wish to share the planet with them that would sound threatening too… OK, scrub round that. Cy

  4. If any elk-pruning needs to be done, expert humans hunters can do it by using sniper rifles for a humane, instant, clean death. The knowledge that death by a pack of Cursed wolves has been permitted by us, as husbanders of the garden of Earth, is a negative element in our social physche. A peaceful, easy feeling, however, could be generated if a program of shooting all wild felines, wild canines, bears, kimodo dragons, crocs and other large easily-picked-off monstrous predators were to be instituted world-wide; too bad we cannot be rid also of humans who fawn over such dreadful creatures. ~ Cy Quick at

    [Editor’s note: Cy, while I’ve approved this comment because I believe that everyone has the right to have their opinion heard, I would prefer that you not proffer threats, veiled or otherwise, in the text of your posts on this blog. Thanks.]

  5. This old elk hunter would be happy to see a greener park, a tougher hunt, and the chance to see wolves in the wild. We are not all weird about wolves, just those of us who have been duped by arm chair experts who write biased articles about country they have never seen and animals they have never interacted with. As I recall, we had the same kind of mess in the Grand Canyon National Park many decades ago due to a lack of predators.