Looking for direction: Wildlife Commission wants DOW to dictate animal drug guidelines

Wildlife Commission wants DOW to dictate animal drug guidelines

The Colorado Wildlife Commission tabled discussion Thursday on a fertility control drug policy, looking for direction from Colorado Division of Wildlife staff on policy guidelines.

“It was an information-only item on the agenda and the commission asked the DOW to continue refining its policy for if and when these drugs become available,” said DOW spokesman Jerry Neal.

At least one of these drugs already is available. The Environmental Protection Agency recently approved using the hormone-altering drug GonaCon for use in elk. The drug previously has been approved for white-tail deer.

According to the Web site for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s animal-control arm Wildlife Services, GonaCon is a long-lasting, intra-muscular vaccine that offers “no known danger” to humans eating a treated animal.

The commission’s aim is to adopt a tight policy regulating when and how the drug may be used, said Rick Kahn, the DOW’s terrestrial wildlife program manager.

“We’re trying to make it not easy to use this stuff so it’s not used in lieu of hunting,” Kahn said.

He said there were some factions within the DOW pushing to outlaw this and other fertility drugs but Kahn said with the drug already approved by the EPA, the state agency must be ready when proposals for the drug’s use arise.

“You pick the first municipality or city that wants to use this in their parks or open space and our argument is if there are no real rules, you can get into a legal battle,” Kahn said. “Our stance is the DOW should be the one to set how this stuff should be used.”

Because the drug has been approved for use on white-tail deer and elk, Kahn said it’s expected the EPA also will approve the drug for mule deer.

“If we can get the regulations in place at the start, as the technology changes, the regulations can change to meet it,” he said.

Bound for the holidays: A few books crossed my desk this year that deserve some attention for the Christmas holidays.

Delta resident Randy Gerke’s first book, “Outdoor Survival Guide” (Human Kinetics, Champaign, Ill., 2009, 234 pp. softcover, $17.95) , was featured in this space earlier this year and hasn’t lost its luster as a well-written and highly informative compendium of outdoor skills. Gerke has more than 30 years experience teaching outdoor survival and now devotes much of his time to teaching wilderness survival and rescue through his company Enviro-Tech International.

This book touches on all aspects of survival, from the most essential self-rescue skills of finding shelter, fire and water to building your own rescue kit in the comfort of your home.

Jay Cassell, deputy editor for Field & Stream magazine, wrote the book “offers no-nonsense, practical advice that can help you through almost any survival situation.”

“Outdoor Survival Guide” is available locally at major book retailers.

If you’ve ever considered completing Colorado’s native trout Grand Slam, “Colorado Greenback Trout: A Fisherman’s Guide” is for you.

This backpack friendly guide (Frank Amato Publications, Portland, Ore., 2009, 132 pp., softcover, $19.95) was put together by two Denver-area anglers, Jim Rubingh and Richard Fritz, who have pursued the elusive greenback cutthroat through much of its native and introduced habitat.

The book covers the history and biology of the greenback trout and the challenges faced by the Division of Wildlife in reintroducing the trout to its native waters.

As one would expect of lifelong anglers, the authors include an extensive list of places where greenbacks might be caught, including easy-to-follow directions, some flies and equipment to carry with you and plenty of photographs of the beautiful country where these trout are found.

The plethora of maps and detailed directions make it easy to put yourself in the picture.

Finally, the perfect 12-month reminder of your affection for that special outdoors person is the 2010 Colorado Division of Wildlife calendar. With the same stunning photography found in Colorado Outdoors magazine, the 2010 calendar provides hunting and fishing season information as well as detailed descriptions on watchable wildlife happenings and festivals around the state.

Calendars are $6.95 and may be purchased online at wildlife.state.co.us/wildlifestore or by visiting the local DOW office.


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