Caught in the Crossfire

By: Kieran Wilson Email
By: Kieran Wilson Email

WildEarth Guardians, an environmental organization submitted a request in January to ban the practice of shooting live animals for target practice. Nicole Rosmarino with WildEarth says, "we think this is a sadistic activity that is not justified in anyway."

Colorado’s Division of Wildlife disagrees, it defines the shooting of prairies dogs as hunting. Even though WildEarth points out that Colorado law says hunters are required to use the meat from the animals they kill. DOW spokesman Randy Hampton says prairie dogs are an exception.

Hampton says it regulates and watches the hunting of prairie dogs closely and the DOW does not see it as animal cruelty. He says other groups that will be present tomorrow like the National Rifle Association agree, and says this is a general attack on hunting.

WildEarth Guardians petition argues that prairie dog shooting cannot be considered hunting because it involves no ethics or sportsmanship, and they say the prairie dog population is an important one that is rapidly declining. Rosmarino says "they sustain about 140 other wildlife species by creating underground burrow networks."

This brings about the concerns of the agricultural community, yet another group that will be represented at Thursday’s Wildlife Commission meeting. Randy Hampton says "there are concerns over burrows destroying cropland and causing problems for livestock with concerns over disease issues such as the plague. Rosmarino feels differently, "prairie dogs do not carry the plague; they're too busy dying from it."

The Wildlife Commission has the option of killing the petition to ban the shooting of prairie dogs Thursday or continuing the issue until July when a final decision would be made. The meeting is at the Holiday Inn on Horizon Drive from 8:30 until noon.


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  • by barbara Location: Ridgway on May 1, 2008 at 06:06 AM
    If you ever saw your son laying in a hospital because of a concussion suffered because of a praire dog you would not have much use for them. He was riding a horse and he stepped in a hole. If you have a ranch (which we do) and see your land erode away because of praire dogs, you have a low opinion of them. They are a nuisance just like rats and mice. If the environmentalists want them let them take them to their land. As ranchers we have to protect our land to the best of our ability and that includes keeping these pests that can harm us with all the holes they dig harvested. We have been in ranching since 1951 and they are still around. Like rats you just never get rid of all of them.For safety they need to be harvested also. They carry disease and make it unsafe for our animals.
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