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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

September 29, 1998

Michael Blenden (719) 589-4021 x 103
Rick Schnaderbeck (719) 589-4021 x 105
Terry Sexson (303) 236-7917 x 429


Hunting Season on Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge Reconsidered

The waterfowl hunting season which begins this Saturday, October 3, will proceed as normal this year on Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. This reverses a plan announced several weeks ago to limit waterfowl hunting on the refuge to Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday of each week.

According to Refuge Manager Michael Blenden, "We need to do a better job of informing people concerning the problems with past hunting conditions, see what kind of suggestions hunters might give us, and what some of the solutions might be. The changes we proposed for this year were meant to provide hunters with a better experience for a longer period of time through the season; however, our late notification was too disruptive for those that had planned hunts months ahead of time."

The proposal to change this year’s hunt stemmed from numerous complaints the last two years about hunter crowding and poor success. On the opening weekend in 1997 there was an estimated 8 hunters per 10 acres of wetland habitat. Blenden says, "This pressure is not only unsafe and unpleasant but it trains birds to use the areas of the refuge closed to hunting much earlier in the season. The goal was to spread the hunting pressure and opportunity through October until freeze-up in November by providing intermittent periods of rest for the birds."

The 1998 waterfowl hunt will proceed as normal, and refuge staff will conduct hunter surveys to gather input on how to improve hunting conditions in upcoming years.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprising more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments please contact Alamosa/Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge at (719)589-4021.

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