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Obvious Problem in Colorado

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Obvious Problem in Colorado

Old 09-19-2010, 07:31 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Default Obvious Problem in Colorado

Ok, I'm from NY. Been to Colorado 3x's to archery hunt Elk. 2006, 2008, and just got back from my 8 day 2010 hunt, primetime Elk season. I hunt the White River National Forest, Flat Tops everytime out. Each year out seen less Elk, and more cattle. This time the cattle were all over the place!! In one meadow alone I counted 200 head, and that was just in open. There was more hanging in brush! I spoke to some other black powder hunters camped in area, and they informed me usually hunt other National areas in Colorado, but last year experienced bad hunting and more cattle. So thought they'd try the famous Flat Tops for better luck. All said was just as bad if not worse. Every trail you walk is cow patties all over. I learned from a outfitter you cannot drink the water in the area now. Even if filter it. That some their workers/guides got sick with diarrhea for 3-4 days from the water. They believe Ecoli from cow dung has gotten into the water there. I always bring my own bottled water so I was ok. I found a pond on top of a mtn flat that had been destroyed by cattle. The pond was covered with cattle tracks, and patties. The water was all greenish brown. I took pics of it.
I learned the US Cattlemans Association has put big $ into politicians pockets so ranchers can put more cattle on Fed. lands for grazing. I also found a ranchers new cabin, and make shift cattlebarn built in the forever wild- non motorized vehicle area of the Flat Tops with a truck trail, and truck tracks leading to it. Theres a trail head sign right at the start of the wild lands that reads No Motorized vehicles. But yet the rancher appears to be allowed special access. I'd get ticketed if I was caught doing it, and so would anyone else.
Its obvious to me the Fed's, and Colorado Division of Wildlife care more about $, than the natural lands, and wildlife population. I'm personally writing a complaint letter, and sending the pond pic to them. I think its time hunters stood up to this. I fear the hunting, will only grow worse, and this will lead to less license sales, and will hurt what hunters come to enjoy about Colorado. Its definitly a growing problem!!!

Last edited by BuckAlley; 09-19-2010 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 09-19-2010, 09:19 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Colorado Division of Wildlife will be sympathetic, if its federal lands they will have ZERO recorse when it comes to Federal Lands. They issue the grazing permits for a certain number of animals. Now where I call BS is the Cow/Calf's from several years are counted as one animal. Even though there might be 4 in all reality. Feds want to jump all over the oil and gas industry but will bow down to logging and ranchers. Just wait a couple more years, the road that they built will have a fence and gate across it. Area I have hunted for 15 plus year a rancher tried to gate/fence of the road which they built on public land to section off the grazing area. Which is fine until couple years ago said rancher goes and put a lock on the gate. Turns out, he was trying to sell trespass rights onto FEDERAL Lands. $5000 per Hunter onto land that is yours and mine. Another local that hunts the area called sheriff and the rancher had to remove the lock. But I am sure it will only be a matter of when he tries to pull the same stunt again.

I am sorry that your hunt was impacted by the cows. From the sounds of it you didn't see or harvest an elk? I know bow/Ml is my favorite season. Weather, the rut, along with just the Fall vs. Winter season makes it my favorite.

Now where the issue becomes Division of Wildlife's problem is little more complicated. When the cows eat all the grass up high, then the Elk are forced to find grass lower. So now the White River herd of elk moves into Meeker, in the hay fields. Along with other areas. This in turn pisses the same ranchers off that are abusing the system and causing the elk to move onto the hayfield in the first place. DoW then issues crop damage permits and said rancher gets rid of the problem.

The elk population is approaching where they want it to be at, or else they wouldn't have bumped up the Out of State cow tag price $100. In the past I know a lot of out of state hunters would buy a OTC Bull tag, and pick up a leftover cow tag as a ton of area have them available every year but price keeps going up on that tag.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
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the only problem with hunting in colorado is the large number of people who go hunting. the crowds in colorado have gotten increasingly worse in the past 5 years. the division of wildlife can keep increasing prices and the hunters will still partake.

as far as the cattle and grazing issue on public lands. the cattle have been grazing on public lands for around the last 100 years. they are monitered very closely to stay within their proper uilization standards. these utilization standards are based on each specific region.
cattle producers rely heavily on being able to graze public lands. without this resource many cattle operation would be out of business. something you should think about the next time you sit down and eat a jucy steak.
typically the cattle are on a rotation system within large pastures. if you contact the forest service prior to your hunt they will be happy to tell you where the cattle are currently grazing.

hope this helps!!!!!
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:21 AM
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In Wyoming where I hunted earlier this month we talked to a FPO and she was hanging signs for $5000 fines for driving off road with ATV's. The next day a ranch hand was driving all through the forest looking for cows that had gotten out. We tried to talk to him but he didn't speak english at all. Never seen the forest service people again though.
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:30 AM
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Lots of cows grazing on some private lands I hunt too. I guess the owners get money for allowing the cows to spend the summer on the 17,000 acres. They talk in terms of animal units which actually mean a cow and bull or a cow and her calves so if there are 400 units on the ranch there is usually about double that number in actual animals. I have found the elk don't like the cows and elk presence on the ranch goes way up after the cows are removed in late sept. The cows do serve a function though since they trample the dead sage in the low lands and that allows the grasses and new growth to come up.
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:59 AM
Nontypical Buck
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All I know is over my 3 trips, I've seen less Elk, and more cattle. I'm sure its been going on for yrs, and yrs. Its a way of life for the ranchers. But the wildlife is also a way of life for others such as outfitters. My main concern is this trend will effect the natural resources, and wildlife so many have come to love about Colorado. The lack of seeing Elk due to more cattle in the Fed. lands will casue a lack of future license down the road, which will only hurt the State of Colorado. I know right now I'm not going back anytime soon. Maybe thats what some Colorado hunters prefer. But thats not going to help your state funds. It'll just make matters worse. On top the fact what the cow dung is doing to the waters. I just have a feeling things are going to get worse with the Elk hunting over this!!
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:17 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Most filter water bottles remove 99.99% of pollutants, including E coli, so I'd say if someone got sick drinking the water, they either didn't filter it or they need to replace the filters in the bottle they used.

As has been said, many Fed. lands have been grazed for many many years. Often, the lands are on a rotation, where they are grazed every third year but that may not be true state wide. Seems like it would make more since to find a new location where no grazing is allowed, or where grazing isn't happening at the same time as you plan to hunt. You're not going to stop ranchers from leasing the lands for grazing by not coming to Colo. to hunt, that much is for sure. If it were me, I'd not give up something I love to do just because of cattle.
I'd be interested to hear from the Ntional Forest service on the legality of a "rancher building a cabin and barn" on National Forest property, with road access past an obviously posted "no motorized vehicle" sign.
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Old 09-20-2010, 10:31 AM
Fork Horn
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kinda tells me so much for our public lands,once again money and greed takes something away from the public and goes into the governments pocket.
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Old 09-20-2010, 10:49 AM
Fork Horn
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Elk don't like cows................thats freakin funny!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-20-2010, 11:33 AM
Fork Horn
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Ah yes all the experts pop out when it comes to grazing of federal lands. For the know it alls an AUM (Animal Unit Month) is how those grazing permits are based. AUM is based on a Cow and her calf, 5 sheep or a single horse. They do not count AUM's anywhere in the U.S. for a cow and multiple calves, never have, never will.

The number of AUM's has not increased on Federal lands nor has the total changed for years. It could be that the permit allowed grazing this late into the year before but due to conditions they could not use these grazing allotments. There are not "More" cows grazing federal lands anywhere in either the BLM system or the Forest Service system, period. To say otherwise shows how far removed from ranching and the west most hunters are.

I call BS on a rancher being allowed to build unless he has private deeded in holding within that boundary. I am willing to bet if such a structure was allowed, it was based upon a historical use, a private right of way and private deeded lands. Perhaps there is a reason the rancher was allowed to build these structures. I would bet money they are not only legal but also have a permit to exist.

Those grazing permits predate almost any other designation and they had to be tied to a base property that has to be able to support that same number of head of cattle.

If you run the cattle off these lands you will like the alternative even less. Also don't write to the Colorado DOW you have to write to the BLM and Forest Service.

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