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Wildlife Commission Authorizes Winter Feeding in SE Colorado 
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Post Wildlife Commission Authorizes Winter Feeding in SE Colorado

The Colorado Wildlife Commission (WC) has authorized up to $160,000 for emergency wildlife management because of severe winter conditions in southeast Colorado. “The severe winter the SE Region is experiencing has been a high priority of discussion at the Wildlife Commission. We need to do what we can to help our big game herds survive the rest of this hard winter,” said Commissioner Ken Torres.

Deep snow and sub-freezing conditions have persisted since a series of storms moved across the region. “The biggest impacts are to pronghorn,” said DOW Southeast Regional Manager Dan Prenzlow, “but deer and elk are suffering ill effects as well.”

The WC authorized the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) to feed big game animals in areas where natural food sources are still covered by deep snow. “Initially we were using food to lure animals away from highways, train tracks and haystacks,” said Prenzlow. “Now we are feeding some of those same groups of animals that are struggling to survive because severe winter conditions have not loosened their grip in southeast Colorado.”

DOW aircraft are combing southeast Colorado to locate animals in distress. Flights have determined that some areas are in worse shape than others are. Up to 2,000 deer and pronghorn might be affected, but they are not all in once place. There are some large groups, but in most cases small clusters of 50 to 100 are stranded where the snow is too deep for them to find food.

It appears that critical conditions exist in a snow belt stretching from Burlington south to Lamar and west to Trinidad, but in other locations, conditions are not much different than in a normal winter.

The Wildlife Commission only authorizes the DOW to feed big game when conditions are severe. Now that the DOW has started a feeding program, it will continue until such time it is determined it is no longer needed for the targeted animals to survive.

DOW workers will use snow machines to deliver specialized food supplements, and more equipment and personnel will be brought in if needed.

Wild animals have very specific dietary needs. Studies done by the DOW have established which types of specialized feeds contain the proper mixtures of grains for optimal results in deer, elk and pronghorn.

The DOW is especially mindful of places where game animals are getting into haystacks or causing agricultural damage. Landowners are asked to please contact their local wildlife officer if damage is occurring, or they know of animals in distress.

Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:15 pm
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