Colorado Lawmaker Claims Wolves Will Hunt Hikers and Skiers

(Wolves are generally snowboarders, not skiers – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This November, Colorado voters will decide whether to reintroduce wolves to the state’s Western Slope. Most opposition to the proposal comes from ranchers in the region who are concerned for their livestock.

State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling), however, speaking on KFTM’s “Big Morning Show yesterday, added a much more frightening reason to say no to wolves: he says they will hunt people:

“They wreak havoc on wildlife, they wreak havoc on livestock, and quite honestly, it’ll wreak havoc on people when they hike and ski and recreate in the mountains. If a bear sees you it will turn and run and hide. So will other wildlife; they don’t want to be a part of human beings. A wolf is a different animal: they will hunt and stalk you and they will take you out. I don’t understand why people who love nature and want to be out in the mountains want us to being more wolves in.”

Science disagrees. Since 1900, there have been two confirmed fatal wolf attacks in all of North America: one in Alaska and one in Canada. Wolves avoid human contact.

People have “a greater chance of being killed by a dog, lightning, a bee sting or a car collision with a deer, than of being injured by a wolf,” according to the International Wolf Center. For comparison’s sake, there have been 158 fatal bear attacks in North America from 1900 to 2016. Colorado is home to approximately 20,000 bears and there have been five fatal attacks since 1934.

Sonnenberg’s comments fall in line with common misconceptions about wolves. The Rocky Mountain chapter of the Sierra Club offers a “Wolf Myths & Facts” page on its website dispelling myths such as “wolves kill for sport,” or “wolves often kill people.”

Sonnenberg is a farmer and rancher himself, though he doesn’t live on the Western Slope, nor in the mountains. He lives in Sterling and represents Senate District 1, comprised of eleven rural counties in the northeast corner of the state.

North Sterling Reservoir State Park

Late last month he was the lone “no” vote in Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee on Senate Bill 3, a bipartisan bill which allocates $10,000,000 for state park capitol construction, including a new visitor center at North Sterling State Park near his hometown. The bill passed out of that committee 4-1, and has since passed 5-3 out of the Finance committee on another bipartisan vote.

A phone message requesting comment was not immediately returned.

This is not the first time Sonnenberg has made claims contrary to modern science. Two years ago, he rejected climate change activism by saying that calling for lower carbon emissions will “kill all the trees and plants” because “Trees and plants use carbon dioxide to create oxygen.”

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Genghis says:

    Wow. The dumb white guys are out in force today, and desperately trying to out-dumb one another.

  2. MichaelBowman says:

    It took some time for the good senator from Sterling to warm up to the simple notion of rain barrels. Patience, Louise, this is some really scary shit (and a slippery slope. Gawd-ess only knows what the dimmycrats will come up with next to release into the wild). 

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      This wolves-hunting-skiers-and-hikers stuff doesn’t happen in Montana, or Wyoming, . . .

      . . . so I’m thinking maybe the wolves are likely just coming here after our legal weed??? . . . 

      . . . or, maybe Jerry’s just concerned because our Colorado Republicans look so much more like rodents and sheep???

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    For some reason, Betsy DeVos and the grizzlies attacking those gun-free schools in Wyoming and avoiding those well-armed schools jumped to my mind.

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    You wanna’ know what’s really dangerous, Jerry??    Your giant Dumphuckistani jackrabbits!!! — I lost a good portion of the front end of my car to one of those kamikaze terrorist bastards, on your so-called highway between Fort Morgan and Prairie School, last Friday night.

    You could really use the wolves, or a couple of thousand more coyotes . . . 

    Where’s all those melon hunters??!!

  5. Pseudonymous says:

    I’m confused.  Are we supposed to think this is bad?

  6. JohnInDenver says:

    This is another information point suggesting that right wing radio shows have a deleterious impact on legislators.  Somehow, they go on, are talking away, and then have something TOTALLY inane and detached from reality emerge.

    Can we encourage the Colorado legislature to mandate warning labels for the doors of the studios?

  7. notaskinnycook says:

    Deleting duplicate.

  8. DENependent says:

    Wolves are a good part of some of our public lands. They reduce overgrazing by elk and deer. However, the idea of spending money on reintroduction when the wolves are already finding their way to Colorado is silly. Why spend money on a program that is not needed? Why speed up and make this more of a political fight than it already has to be?

    • Mostly because one pack of wolves is a fragile thing. There are 6 members of the pack at present. 2 more members were shot just across the border in Wyoming just before the pack's residence here was confirmed. We've had single wolves come across before; they all wound up dead. If we can keep a sustainable population with a bit of help, they'll have stronger protections than if we waited, found out that the Irish Creek pack had failed, and introduced the wolves without a native population.

      • DENependent says:

        Why do you think that there won’t be more wolves from Wyoming in the future? Colorado is not Isle Royale with extreme physical barriers that will keep out dispersing lone wolves or new packs. While it may take 10-20 years to fully establish a wolf population here it will happen unless Wyoming gets permission to eradicate wolves.

        If Wyoming’s wolf population suddenly plunges it would make sense to have a wolf reintroduction. Otherwise we’ll end up with a more stable situation by letting nature take its course.

  9. Gilpin Guy says:

    Jerry must know there are no skiers, hikers or wolves around Sterling.  Probably weasels but no skiers.

  10. JeffcoDemo says:

    I saw a movie called Frozen where two boarders got eaten by wolves, could have been a true story.  Maybe Jerry saw that movie and forgot you know, that movies aren’t always documentaries.

    And if you love horribly acted movies with awful scripts shot on a low budget I give you

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