That response seems outrageous to me for several reasons:
- The bird tour was there before the area was used for shooting, as he
points out in his email.
- Birders are not putting the physical safety and lives of other people
at risk, while recreational shooters are. I have also viewed sports
shooters shooting *across* the road on the auto tour. In one instance,
even as our car approached, the sports shooter kept firing across the road
and refused to put his gun down to allow us to safely pass. We stopped and
waited, then gave up and turned around and took a different route. I don't
understand how that can be considered acceptable *anywhere. *They are
begging to have somebody killed.
- Bird nesting grounds cannot simply be relocated to a different road,
so moving a bird auto tour is not actually as straightforward as he makes
- The area is supposed to be at least partially devoted to preserving
natural resources such as the ever-decreasing amount of natural prairie,
and so it seems that the numerous threatened and declining bird and
other species using that area for nesting, migration, overwintering, etc.
should have some value and priority when these decisions are being made.
The last time I was on the route (last summer), you could not get out of
hearing range of one sports shooter before you started hearing another.
That kind of widespread, constant use of loud guns can't be helping the
wildlife maintain healthy, normal behaviors and routines.
I recognize that I am biased on this issue as someone with a lifelong love
of birds and nature with no interest in sports shooting, but I do try to
recognize the rights and needs of people with different values than I
have. My dad's entire side of the family in North Dakota engages in sports
shooting and hunting, and I respect their right to do so. However, I think
any of them would be appalled at people taking assault rifles and shooting
across a public road. That is reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous. I
lived by Cherry Creek State Park last year. They have done an excellent
job of arranging a shooting range, a model airport field, a dog park,
campgrounds, a marina, and hiking trails that allow a wide variety of
people to use a densely populated park for many uses without anybody
feeling that they are in danger. Meanwhile, the park supports a variety of
birds and wildlife successfully. Pawnee National Grasslands has a far
greater area with a much lower density of people, so I see no reason that a
similar balance of interests and needs (including those of the wildlife)
should not be possible.
Those are my thoughts at least.
Marie Hoerner, Colorado Springs, El Paso County
On Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 3:41 PM, 'The "Nunn Guy"' via Colorado Birds <
> Hi all
> The Pawnee Disitrct Ranger responded a bit more today ...
> Sorry it’s taken me a couple days to respond to your email. I’ve been out
> of town.
> We went down an extensive public involvement process centered around the
> increased sports shooting uses a couple years back before the rest of the
> forest was experiencing the same pressure and the decision outcome from
> that process was to build the developed shooting range at Baker Draw.
> Much of the shooting pressure/issues on the other forest districts evolves
> around homes being built in areas historically used for target shooting.
> The grassland does not dovetail into much of those scenarios and we had
> already led the process in developing a shooting range to reduce the number
> of dispersed shooters, so we have not been directly involved with that
> additional forest process. I know for some folks it doesn’t seem like much,
> but in reality, the developed shooting range has greatly reduced the
> numbers of shooters along the roadways. In 2014 everyone who uses the Baker
> Draw facility today, was simply lined up with everyone else along road 96.
> The idea of establishing large shooting area bans is not really an option
> I have readily available at my level. That really always becomes a
> Washington Office affair along with numerous other state and local partners
> and other interests. National forests and grasslands and most public lands
> aside from national parks are open to hunting and recreational sport
> I would be more inclined to discuss moving the bird tour route at this
> time than trying to eliminate a large area from hunting and shooting. There
> are numerous places on the grassland that see very little or no pressure
> from hunting and shooting sports.
> Shooters favor the road 96 area because they are familiar with it and it
> is the first access point to the grassland along highway 14. We now have a
> developed shooting range in that same area, so for shooters, that is the
> area that most of them are familiar with. I realize similar feeling exists
> for the bird tour, and that it was established there before the increased
> popularity of sports shooting, but whether we like it or not , sport
> shooting has increased in popularity as a recreational activity and numbers
> have risen sharply, which prove that point.
> I believe there are easy access routes to areas with far less shooting
> pressure, having good birding opportunities, so I am more incline to see
> that as a more readily doable fix and discussion right now in order to
> accommodate the desires of all recreational users on the Pawnee National
> Stop in and talk with me some more.
> Thanks Gary Lefko, Nunn
> http://coloradobirder.club/ >
> On Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 8:36:44 PM UTC-6, Dave Leatherman wrote:
>> *Birds of note sensed:*
>> After getting a not so early start, I arrived near where WY-NE-CO come
>> together ne of Grover about 8am. My target was Sharp-tailed Grouse, which
>> everybody has seemingly found. I got a few extra hours of sleep but not
>> the birds, these two facts being no doubt related. However, I could sense
>> their presence. Can I make a pencil mark on the checklist if I don't push
>> hard? Also, for what it's worth, I met a nice local rancher named Mr.
>> Klingensmith who has lived in the area 20+ years and said he often sees
>> them while driving e on CR134 between 125 and 129 and also going from 134 n
>> on 125 a few miles to the unmarked State Line.
>> *Birds of note seen:*
>> Chestnut-collared Longspur (at least 20): mostly near the recently
>> reported S-t Grouse locations, especially on the w side of Weld CR115 n of
>> Northern Shrike (1a) 117 n of 134
>> Loggerhead Shrike (1a) 111 just s of the State Line (not too many days
>> in spring or autumn when both shrikes occur on the northern CO plains).
>> Long-billed Curlew (4) in wheat stubble s of 134 just w of 125
>> Rough-legged Hawk (at least 4): in the general area of the S-t Grouse
>> sightings plus one on CR77 near GR96 n of Crow Valley (shown)
>> Golden Eagle (1) CR90 w of CR49
>> *A&B Res #1 *on 124 a few miles w of 77: water is high, no shorebirds,
>> just common duck species.
>> *At Crow Valley late this afternoon into early evening (gate is now open,
>> hosts on site):*
>> Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1m)
>> Townsend's Solitaire (2)
>> Total of 25 bird species at CVCG/Briggsdale plus my FOY heard western
>> chorus frogs (note, I did NOT see Mountain Plovers e of Briggsdale in the
>> green strips of winter wheat on CR79 just s of SR14 where they were a week
>> or so ago).
>> *Crom Lake* on 131 w of Pierce: water high, mostly common ducks and
>> killdeer, no swallows.
>> [Did NOT see large numbers of sparrows today, did NOT see McCown's
>> Longspur, did NOT see any kingbirds or Burrowing Owls. Regarding the
>> latter, I did not check any prairie-dog towns, so maybe no surprise they
>> escaped detection.]
>> Furthermore, I did NOT drive GR96 ("Murphy's Pasture") out of not
>> wanting to get pissed at all the gun activity on a route supposedly devoted
>> to nature observation.
>> Dave Leatherman
>> Fort Collins
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