On a recent elk hunt I was sitting in my stand, late opening morning, enjoying the peace, quiet and unusually warm weather, for a November at over nine thousand five hundred feet, when suddenly my serene moment was destroyed as an off highway vehicle(OHV) rolls up the tree line and parks directly across the valley from me . Spending the day sitting on a stand enjoying the beauty that is our Colorado mountains with no phones, televisions, computers, cars, trucks or other noises that we live with in the city everyday is one of the reasons we get away every year to these secret peaceful hideaways. To have that moment taken from me by someone on an OHV, seeing the damage being done to the habitat and knowing any opportunity for game has been eliminated made me wish for tougher penalties for those who abuse the OHV rules.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has heard the voice of sportsmen who know the importance of protecting habitat and quiet places on our wild public lands by increasing the minimum fines and escalating fines for repeat offenders.
Changes recently made for Colorado BLM Land include:
1) Minimum fines increased from $50 to $250.
2) Escalating fine structure which includes $250 for 1st offense, $500 for 2nd offense and a mandatory appearance for 3rd offense.
These recent changes are a significant step in the battle to reduce OHV damage to the habitat and the wild country we love to fish and hunt.
Chad M. Biggerstaff, Esq.