Lauren Boebert issues a wolf warning to Colorado hunters

Lauren Boebert issued a stark warning after the reintroduction of gray wolves into Colorado’s Rocky Mountains earlier this week, with her office claiming they “pose a threat to livestock, dogs of the herd, and even hunters and hikers in the region” and said the decision was made to “please radical environmental groups.”

The reintroduction of wolves to Colorado was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2020 as part of ‘Proposition 114,’ with 50.91 percent of those voting in favor and 49.09 percent in favor. Ranchers will receive up to $15,000 for each of their animals killed by a wolf, although the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and The Gunnison County Stockgrowers’ Association both pushed for the release date to be delayed.

Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert strongly criticized the reintroduction of wolves in her state on Monday.
Anna Moneymaker/JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images

Five wolves, two females and three males, were released Monday by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in a move welcomed by the state’s Democratic Governor Jared Polis who said the plan was “just getting started” and that the animals “reunite in different ecosystems.”

However, Boebert, representing 3 of Coloradostreet Congressional District of the House of Representatives, hit by the X program, formerly Twitter. The GOP firebrand wrote: “Today, Colorado becomes the first state in the country to reintroduce gray wolves, despite rural America fiercely opposing this move. This ill-advised decision puts ranchers and livestock of farmers at risk.

“Instead of caving in to radical environmental groups, we should be listening to our ranchers and farmers when they say it’s bad for Colorado.”

This position was expanded in a statement sent to Newsweek in Boebert’s office, specifically highlighting what they say is a threat to working dogs and even people.

Republican press secretary Anthony Fakhoury commented: “Congresswoman Boebert has spent years meeting with Colorado ranchers and farmers to better understand the challenges they face.

“For years, ranchers and farmers have not been able to protect themselves against these wolves because of their inclusion in the endangered species list. Now, they are being introduced again and again threatens livestock, dog populations, and even hunters and hikers in the region. This is a bad decision made to please radical environmental groups.”

Newsweek reached Colorado Parks and Wildlife via phone and online contact form to ask about the threat level to dogs and people.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, a nationwide conservation group, gray or timber wolves used to cover two-thirds of the current United States, but are now concentrated in areas of Alaska, Michigan, Wisconsin, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming. Mexican wolves, which are a subspecies of the gray wolf, are also found in Arizona and New Mexico.

On its website, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game states, “Wolves rarely act aggressively toward humans, but there have been instances in Alaska and Canada where wolves have attacked humans,” with fatal attacks reported in Saskatchewan in 2005, and Alaska in 2010.

The department advises: “If you encounter a wolf or a pack of wolves nearby do not run or turn away. If you are approached, act aggressively and maintain eye contact if the wolf is looking at you.

“Aggressively use poles, pepper spray, rocks, branches, noises or other practical things to discourage wolves. Carrying a weapon is not a bad idea, but do it’s if you’re qualified and comfortable using your firearm, and if you’re in an area where firearms are allowed.”

In March, two dogs were killed in separate wolf attacks in Jackson County, Colorado.

In a statement released Monday, Governor Polis said the wolves were reintroduced after “three years of comprehensive listening and work,” adding: “I am proud of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff for their hard work to make it happen. Efforts to reintroduce wolves are just beginning and wolves will rejoin the diverse ecosystems of Colorado wildlife.”