John Moore Merrill Jr.: Editorial was wrong
May 1, 2012
I am astonished that in one editorial ("Our View: Cranes in the crosshairs") you could get so much incomplete or outright wrong in your support of the crane shooting season. It is not hunting when sandhill crane behavior is so predictable. Something like turkey hunting is challenging; this is not.
Like the local representative of Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, you denigrate emotion as a reason for opposition. More wildlife-watching tourism comes to Colorado than hunting, by far, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data, and the Yampa Valley is a center of crane watching trips. Emotion is, for most, the reason vacation sites are chosen, often year after year. What you really chose to ignore, including testimony at the Parks and Wildlife meeting last week from a Colorado State University professor, is "the science" of the opposition. The CSU professor effectively refuted claims of recovery. No one denies the cranes have recovered some numbers since the last time they were over-hunted, but the cranes never have returned to their historic range in all parts of Colorado.
We are not opposed to all hunting, having many hunters among our friends and family, as we have been 25-year residents in the Yampa Valley. And yes, we respect their emotional tie to their sport. They are passionate about hunting and don't regard a difficult trek in bad weather as mere recreation. But they consume all they harvest, and no one can suggest cranes are hunted to feed the family.
Your conclusion, juggling the numbers from other states, does not mean that other states, or the Front Range of Colorado, are correct in allowing hunting of cranes. They have made the wrong decision, and I think the Yampa Valley should avoid the decision you advocate.
John Moore Merrill Jr.