Aug. 30, 2007
Chris Hunt, Trout Unlimited, (208) 406-9106
Katie McKalip, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, (406) 240-9262
Todd Malmsbury, Resource Media, (720) 564-0500
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Energy development throughout the West could impact fall hunting and fishing
As hunting season begins and some of the best fishing of the year gets under way in the West, sportsmen should consider the possible impacts expanding oil and gas development might have on the quality of their experience should they choose to hunt or fish in areas frequented by the energy industry.
“A lot has changed in the West over the last few years, and some areas that might have offered great hunting in the past might not be as rewarding this year,” said Tom Reed, a Trout Unlimited field coordinator in Montana and Wyoming, and an avid hunter and angler. “In some areas where the oil and gas industry has drilled on public lands, new roads have been constructed, well pads have been graded and heavy truck traffic has changed the habits of deer and elk. In other areas, where drilling and road-building has occurred near streams, the fishing likely won’t be as productive.”
Energy development in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana has changed the landscape for sportsmen. Before heading afield this fall, hunters and anglers should do a little research and find out the scope of any development in their favorite hunting units or along their favorite trout streams and make their plans accordingly.
“Deer and elk will naturally move away from industrial activity,” Reed said. “New roads will change migration habits and allow more hunters into certain areas, and they’ll also add silt and sediment to nearby trout streams. Before heading into the hills, you ought to think about the impact the drilling is having on our fish and game and, if your favorite place to hunt or fish is being developed, you should at least check it out before you commit yourself to that particular unit or that particular drainage.”
Trout Unlimited, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the National Wildlife Federation are working to ensure responsible oil and gas development in the West. Unfortunately, some areas of interest to hunters and anglers have already been developed, and others, like the Roan Plateau in Colorado, the Diamond Fork/Strawberry Reservoir area in Utah, the Wyoming Range near Jackson Hole, Wyo., Otero Mesa in New Mexico and the Beaverhead River drainage of Montana are targeted for future drilling. Already, key winter range in all five states has been impacted by development, and as the industry moves uphill, more vital habitat could be sacrificed.
All three groups are asking Congress to draft legislation that would ensure proper protection of vital fish and wildlife habitat in the name of sportsmen. For more information, see the Sportsmen’s Public Lands Energy Agenda, available for download at www.tu.org  or www.ourpubliclands.org .
“If you’re worried that oil and gas drilling might impact your hunting or fishing, please call your state’s federal delegation in Washington, D.C.,” Reed said. “Sportsmen must act to protect fish and wildlife habitat or risk losing some of the best hunting and fishing we have left.”