Officials Say This Year Has Been Tough for Colorado Wildlife
Winter is lingering in northwest Colorado, which could be a problem for wildlife in the state.
Colorado Outdoors reports that this year's drawn-out snowfall and heavy winds have made it challenging for wildlife to find food. To cope, animals are venturing further than they typically would, causing excess fat and calorie burn.
The publication notes that the weather is hurting big game — particularly elk, deer, and pronghorn — the most. Vehicle collisions are also increasing as animals seek food, warmth, and sunshine on the roadways.
"We typically see some mortality from starvation every winter. That's just nature, not every animal survives," Mike Swarvo, Assistant Area Wildlife Manager at Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), told Colorado Outdoors. "This year it feels like all we're seeing is starving or dying animals."
In a tweet, CPW's Northwest Region said officials must wait until the snow melts to see the depth of the winter's impact on wildlife. However, the agency is already considering the damage in preparation for the upcoming hunting season.
"Our biologists are recommending significant reductions in the number of licenses for elk and deer in the Bears Ears and White River DAUs [data analysis unit], and pronghorn in the Great Divide DAU for the 2023 big game season," said CPW in a separate tweet.
According to Colorado Outdoors, the recommendations will be officially reviewed at the Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting in May.
Learn more about Colorado wildlife in the gallery below.