Meeker School Bus Involved In 14 Vehicle Crash
A Meeker school bus was involved in a multi-vehicle crash yesterday morning on Highway 82 near Snowmass. In addition to the bus, the crash included 13 passenger cars. Three drivers were transported to Aspen Valley Hospital and later released with minor injuries. The passengers on the school bus were not injured. The eastbound lanes of Highway 82 were closed for approximately 3 hours for investigation and recovery of vehicles. All parties involved were properly restrained with safety belts. The roadway was icy at the time of the crash. The Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Department of Transportation, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, and Basalt Fire Department responded to the scene. A RFTA bus was used on scene to keep those involved in the crash warm and safe while the scene was cleared.
Residents Encouraged to Get Their Flu Shots
Black bears typically accumulate their winter-fat stores in the fall during hyperphagia. They can forage for up to 20 hours a day, consuming nearly 20,000 calories and occasionally wandering into residential areas looking for food. Human-bear conflicts are a fact of life in Colorado, but with some simple actions can help reduce those conflicts, said Sabrina Hurwitz, district wildlife officer in Colorado Springs.
“Taking steps to keep your house and property free of potential food sources can prevent a bear from being killed,” she said. “Once a bear has gotten a taste of human food sources, conflicts start, and most conflicts end with a bear being relocated or euthanized.”
The biggest issue in conflict situations is the availability of human sources of food — garbage, pet food, livestock food, compost piles, bird feeders, chicken pens, etc. Bears have a phenomenal sense of smell and can pick up odors of food sources from miles away.
Much of what people throw away smells like food to a bear. Standard metal or plastic trash cans will not keep a bear away. Once a bear discovers a food source, it will continue to return, and could defend the source if it feels threatened.
Being “Bear Aware” can make a difference in human-bear interactions. Some simple rules can make a help:
Follow your community’s trash ordinances, and if your community doesn’t have an ordinance, be sure to put your garbage out the morning of pick up instead of the night before.
Keep all ground floor windows and doors closed and locked. Keep garage doors closed.
Never feed bears – it is illegal and risks the safety of you, your family, your neighbors and the bear. Don’t put out food for other wildlife – like birds and small animals – that might attract bears.
Pick fruit as it ripens and don’t let it rot on the ground.
Always lock your vehicle and don’t leave odorous food, trash or air fresheners inside.
Many parts of Colorado have experienced monsoonal moisture in recent weeks and that has lead to good production of natural fall forage such as berries and acorns. Bears prefer natural food when it is available, but residents and visitors shouldn’t let their guard down until bears enter hibernation in mid-November.
“My experience is that it doesn’t matter what kind of year it has been for natural food production. Garbage is so readily available to bears that some bears seem to choose to forgo foraging for natural food and will come into town to grab those easy calories,” said Kristin Cannon, district wildlife officer in Boulder. “We are just as busy with human-caused bear conflicts as we have ever been. It is incredibly frustrating to have to kill a bear when all people had to do was secure their trash and the bear would have likely stayed and thrived in its natural habitat.”
If a bear is spotted near your residence, make it feel uncomfortable. Attempt to chase it away by yelling, whistling, clapping your hands or making other loud noises. However, under no circumstances should you ever approach or corner a bear.
Poaching and Operation Game Thief
The recent poaching arrest of four men from South Carolina by Colorado Parks and Wildlife has prompted public discussion and debate about the importance of ethical hunting. It also illustrates how seriously the agency, law-abiding hunters and many residents of the state take illegal wildlife activity.
“In Colorado, wildlife regulations exist for three main reasons,” said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “There are biological reasons, safety reasons and ‘fair chase’ considerations. The use of poisons or toxicants to hunt is a very unethical method of hunting, violating the tenets of fair chase and can also be very dangerous to the user.”
“Many poaching cases are brought to our attention by a concerned hunter or member of the public that has observed illegal activity and has acted responsibly to stop it,” said Michael Blanck, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s district wildlife manager in Collbran.
In many poaching cases in Colorado, an investigation begins with a tip from the public, either directly to a wildlife officer, or anonymously through Operation Game Thief.
Officials stress that even the most seemingly insignificant tip can help bring an offender to justice.
“If you think you have seen something suspicious, give us or OGT a call,” added Blanck. “A minor detail can be the missing piece that completes an investigation, or it may be the info we need to begin an investigation that will stop a poacher.”
While impossible to estimate the amount of poaching that occurs, by some estimates poachers may take as much wildlife illegally as legitimate hunters. In many cases, the criminals take only “trophy” parts and leave the meat to waste, a serious offense that can yield felony charges and time in prison.
Law enforcement officials say that while most poachers commit their crimes for profit, others seem to have darker motives, including a willful disregard for wildlife regulations or a psychological compulsion. Many experienced law enforcement officials say that only in extremely rare cases will a poacher illegally kill wildlife for food.
“Poachers are not hunters, they are criminals, plain and simple,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Deputy Regional Manager Dean Riggs. “They steal wildlife from the citizens of Colorado, take opportunity away from ethical hunters and have a negative impact on wildlife management objectives.”
Riggs adds that poachers should be aware that wildlife investigators are diligent and tenacious in their efforts to bring offenders to justice and use many of the same investigative tools and high-tech forensic methods used by all law enforcement agencies. As the hunting seasons progress, wildlife officials remind hunters to be observant and report illegal wildlife activity quickly. Because wildlife officers have a large territory to cover, they depend on the public to help bring offenders to justice.
“We have very hard working officers and investigators but they cannot be everywhere,” added Velarde. “We ask the public to helps us manage their wildlife and report illegal wildlife activity as soon as possible.”
To report suspicious wildlife activity, contact Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648.
Over the Weekend
Steamboat topped Battle Mountain (27-16).
Meeker fell to Paonia (28-22).
Moffat County beat Summit (28-21).
Hayden lost to West Grand (52-8)
Rangely lost to Vail Mountain (3-1).
Hayden beat Plateau Valley (3-0).
Soroco defeated North Park (3-1) 23-25, 31-29, 25-15, 25-22.
Soroco beat South Park (3-0) 26-24, 25-15, 25-14.
Hayden lost to Paonia (0-3) 25-19, 25-16, 25-20.
In boys soccer:
Steamboat dumped Palisade 6-0