Colorado, U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Do you want to wipe out your amazing & legendary herds of elk and deer, while creating further hardships for your ranching community while costing you more in taxes? You can soon vote on that very question.
Colorado Northern Gray Wolf Introduction
Trouble for the ungulate herds in the beautiful state of Colorado inches closer and closer with November voting on the horizon. It is no secret the proposition of the forced Northern Gray wolf introduction will be on the ballot for citizens this November. However, reports have surfaced of a gag order holding the state's wildlife biologists hostage from voicing the facts and guiding reality. When I went to research the issue, I only found a few podcasts and little public discussion in terms of information concerning what could be highly detrimental to the strongest elk herd in North America. The anti-hunting community is pushing its agenda through the ballot box rather than trusting the biologists at CPW to do research on the impact.
When I was in grade school, I had a teacher describe how we should approach complex word problems. She told us that not everything that is included in the discussion of the problem would we need to solve the issue. Discretion to sift through information is a skill we desperately need to bring back in our society. I write this article because I hunt in a wolf-heavy area of East Oregon. I've seen the damage and repercussions of shattered herds and listened to the frustrations of those directly impacted. If you want wolves in your area because “it might be nice to see one,” consider this… I've seen the issues first-hand but hiked countless days in the West and only once even heard a wolf much less laid eyes on one.
Anti-hunting organizations from outside the state secured have enough signatures to present the ballot measure to the CO Secretary of State’s office, including the funding. Nine of the top donors were not from Colorado. Interesting?
Cyrus Baird, Manager of Government Relations for Safari Club International told me. “Historically the effort stemmed from the release of wolves in Yellowstone in the 90s. There have always been people who want to see the wolf return; everyone else be damned. Colorado is the perfect storm for this to happen because of its ballot initiative process. It's unique that citizens can make wildlife management decisions without the input of the experts.”
The anti-hunting crowd knows they can play the system and have been systematically desensitizing the public to the reality of forced Northern Gray Wolf wolf introduction for the past five years. They have been by taking wolves to schools and daycares for show and tell. Reaching the majority of populations, they need to help push the initiative that would be the least affected by the introduction. The Rocky Mountain Wolf Project had been the main driver of the forced reintroduction initiative. Even people like Jane Fonda and author Tim Ferris donated money to the cause.
In 2016 Colorado Parks and Wildlife put a statement out that says they have had a wolf management plan for migrating animals in place since 2010. Several packs of Northern Gray Wolves are already confirmed to reside in the northern part of the state. Let us be clear; what is being proposed is an introduction, not a reintroduction. CPW tested and it has been discovered that the packs of wolves in Colorado carry hydatid disease. This is a tapeworm and can affect humans.
“Let us be clear as well, ” says Baird, “We're not anti-animal in our objections to forced introduction as much as we are pro-science. In this case, those who are paid to study and guide decisions are being left out.” Baird added another interesting point saying, “if you look at how the ballot is being proposed; the wolves would be introduced on West of the continental divide. People on the front range or in the metro are not impacted directly in the immediate future.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Gag Order! True or False?
This brings us to the issue of the so-called “Gag Order,” which some inside CPW have noted the agency has taken heat for in the past few months. Like many, I have heard the term “gag order” tossed around on social media, and frankly am not sure it is an accurate representation. I wanted to know what it meant and who might have passed it down. What I found is, inside the Colorado state laws, state employees and agencies are legally barred from sharing their opinion on any issue on the ballot. It's not a conspiracy, its a law.
The following is an excerpt from the state website laying out the guidelines for state employees & agencies.
(1) (a) (I) No agency, department, board, division, bureau, commission, or council of the state or any political subdivision of the state shall make any contribution in campaigns involving the nomination, retention, or election of any person to any public office, nor shall any such entity make any donation to any other person to make an independent expenditure, nor shall any such entity expend any moneys from any source, or make any contributions, to urge electors to vote in favor of or against any:
(A) Statewide ballot issue that has been submitted for the purpose of having a title designated and fixed pursuant to section 1-40-106 (1) or that has had a title designated and fixed pursuant to that section;
(B) Local ballot issue that has been submitted for the purpose of having a title fixed pursuant to section 31-11-111 or that has had a title fixed pursuant to that section;
(C) Referred measure, as defined in section 1-1-104 (34.5);
(D) Measure for the recall of any officer that has been certified by the appropriate election official for submission to the electors for their approval or rejection.
(II) However, a member or employee of any such agency, department, board, division, bureau, commission, or council may respond to questions about any such issue described in subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a) if the member, employee, or public entity has not solicited the question. A member or employee of any such agency, department, board, division, bureau, commission, or council who has policy-making responsibilities may expend not more than fifty dollars of public moneys in the form of letters, telephone calls, or other activities incidental to expressing his or her opinion on any such issue described in subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a).
(b) (I) Nothing in this subsection (1) shall be construed as prohibiting an agency, department, board, division, bureau, commission, or council of the state, or any political subdivision thereof from expending public moneys or making contributions to dispense a factual summary, which shall include arguments both for and against the proposal, on any issue of official concern before the electorate in the jurisdiction. Such summary shall not contain a conclusion or opinion in favor of or against any particular issue. As used herein, an issue of official concern shall be limited to issues that will appear on an election ballot in the jurisdiction.
(II) Nothing in this subsection (1) shall be construed to prevent an elected official from expressing a personal opinion on any issue.
(III) Nothing in this subsection (1) shall be construed as prohibiting an agency, department, board, division, bureau, commission, or council of the state or any political subdivision thereof from:
(A) Passing a resolution or taking a position of advocacy on any issue described in subparagraph (I) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1); or
(B) Reporting the passage of or distributing such resolution through established, customary means, other than paid advertising, by which information about other proceedings of such agency, department, board, division, bureau, or council of the state or any political subdivision thereof is regularly provided to the public.
(C) Nothing in this subsection (1) shall be construed as prohibiting a member or an employee of an agency, department, board, division, bureau, commission, or council of the state or any political subdivision thereof from expending personal funds, making contributions, or using personal time to urge electors to vote in favor of or against any issue described in subparagraph (I) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1).
(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to:
(a) An official residence furnished or paid for by the state or a political subdivision;
(b) Security officers who are required to accompany a candidate or the candidate's family;
(c) Publicly owned motor vehicles provided for the use of the chief executive of the state or a political subdivision;
(d) Publicly owned aircraft provided for the use of the chief executive of the state or of a political subdivision or the executive's family for security purposes; except that, if such use is, in whole or in part, for campaign purposes, the expenses relating to the campaign shall be reported and reimbursed pursuant to subsection (3) of this section.
(3) If any candidate who is also an incumbent inadvertently or unavoidably makes any expenditure which involves campaign expenses and official expenses, such expenditures shall be deemed a campaign expense only, unless the candidate, not more than ten working days after the such expenditure, files with the appropriate officer such information as the secretary of state may by rule require in order to differentiate between campaign expenses and official expenses. Such information shall be set forth on a form provided by the appropriate officer. In the event that public moneys have been expended for campaign expenses and for official expenses, the candidate shall reimburse the state or political subdivision for the amount of money spent on campaign expenses.
(4) (a) Any violation of this section shall be subject to the provisions of sections 9 (2) and 10 (1) of article XXVIII of the state constitution or any appropriate order or relief, including an order directing the person making a contribution or expenditure in violation of this section to reimburse the fund of the state or political subdivision, as applicable, from which such moneys were diverted for the amount of the contribution or expenditure, injunctive relief, or a restraining order to enjoin the continuance of the violation.
(b) If a board, commission, or council is found to have made a contribution or expenditure in violation of this section, an individual member of the board, commission, or council who voted in favor of or otherwise authorized the contribution or expenditure may be ordered to reimburse an amount pursuant to subsection (4)(a) of this section as long as the amount does not exceed the amount ordered to be reimbursed by any other individual of the board, commission, or council who voted in favor or otherwise authorized the contribution or expenditure.
Colorado Law bars experts from laying out research the people paid to study the issue once the issue is brought to the ballot. No state employee can take a stance. However, a Colorado State University professor was discovered to be giving pro-wolf lectures. For comparison, If Coloradans wanted to bring a ballot measure saying everyone is required to take a Bill Gates Covid19 vaccine, public health officials would be unable to lay out their research & opinions and guide the public. Colorado lost its spring bear hunting abilities through these same measures. The anti-hunters know this and have used it to their advantage.
Mark Holyoak from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation stated that “RMEF strongly opposes the introduction initiative. It takes a complicated wildlife issue out of the hands of the experts and into voters who might not understand the intricate complexity of introducing the Northern Gray Wolf to the landscape. The North American model of wildlife conservation ensures the future of both predator and prey alike and should be adhered to in a time like this.”
About Jason Reid
Jason Reid is a writer and business professional from upstate New York. After deciding to pursue his dream of becoming an outdoor writer, Jason started a blog from his dorm room at Houghton College, growing it and working hard to earn opportunities. While bowhunting big game is his ultimate passion, Jason welcomes all outdoor challenges which force him to push his limits.