From river breaks to high mesas, and from sage coulees to semi-arid mountain ranges, America’s 245 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands are some of the best places to hunt and fish remaining on the planet. Sportsmen and women in the West depend on publicly-accessible, healthy BLM lands to produce quality big game, robust fisheries, and sustainable opportunities for recreation.
These lands are Sportsmen’s Country—and it’s your turn to weigh in on how they are managed:
The Idaho High Divide is possibly the most unique and important public landscape in North America. This awe-inspiring terrain in eastern Idaho provides connectivity for species dependent on large landscapes and critical habitat for fish and wildlife species that are valued by sportsmen. Opportunity is incredibly diverse here: Hunters can pursue deer, elk, black bears, mountain lions, pronghorns, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats, while anglers can land grayling in high-mountain lakes and cutthroat trout, steelhead, Chinook salmon, and sturgeon in the mighty Salmon River.
Oregon’s Beulah Wildlife Management Unit contains Westfall and Beulah buttes in Eastern Oregon, and hunters and anglers come from all over to experience the high-quality hunting and solitude here. Of course, year-round Beulah WMU is an Oregonian’s playground. During 2010’s mule deer season, rifle hunters enjoyed a 53-percent success rate, harvesting 1,348 deer, but these are popular hunting grounds for archery hunters in pursuit of elk, as well.
Then, of course, in the heart of Oregon lies the mighty Deschutes River. This major tributary of the Columbia River on the east side of the Cascade Range wanders north through basalt cliff canyons and offers world-class trout fishing for anyone who chooses to reach the river canyon through public land.
New Mexico’s Otero Mesa provides excellent habitat and hunting opportunities for mule deer, Barbary sheep, bighorn sheep, and the state’s only remaining native pronghorn antelope herds. A large portion—about 1.2 million acres of public land—is managed by the BLM, and a resource management plan (RMP) is currently in development for the area. Now is the time to speak up for this complex ecosystem featuring many native plants and more than 1,000 other species of wildlife.
Northwest Colorado is home to the largest elk herd in North America and elk hunting is a huge part of the state’s identity. Even with a booming population and trophy bulls being harvested year after year, demand is so high for public lands elk hunts in this part of the state that it can take up to 20 years to draw a license.
Not too far away, the Piceance Basin ‘mule deer factory,’ the second-largest mule deer herd in North America, has been in decline in recent years, due to development pressures and more roads weaving through the core of the population’s range. Sportsmen continue to cherish the large bucks being produced in this area and are intimately involved in decisions being made about mule deer habitat to help ensure that this herd remains healthy for generations to come.
The Arkansas River valley remains a crucial area for fish and wildlife and a haven for sportsmen in central Colorado, providing opportunities for bird and big game hunting and world-class wild trout fishing. Even more prized by sportsmen in this valley are its Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Each year, a few luck hunters have the opportunity to pursue them in a mostly-intact and undeveloped backcountry setting—factors that are known to produce the hunt of a lifetime.
Thousands of sportsmen flock to South Park every year from the Front Range and around the country to fish the gold-medal waters of the South Platte River drainage. Great fishing access on several of these streams and rivers would not be possible without the surrounding federal public lands, state lands, and cooperation between private landholders and various land management agencies. The stretch of the South Platte known as the Dream Stream is well-known by flyfisherman across the country for consistently producing large brown and rainbow trout.
Want to contact your lawmakers and stand up for your favorite public lands? You can do it in just a few clicks—starting with this one.
8 Responses to “The Crown Jewels of Sportsmen’s Country Are Mule Deer, Elk, and Trout”
BLM should not have the right to close any Public Land.
I concur, we are seeing too much of this between the BLM and Forest Service. These are our lands and are meant for us to use . I’m not talking about making new roads and trails, just keep open what is already out there. It seems that their goal is to lock us out of our lands!
Historically, grants of public lands have been generously granted to private companies to expand across the continental US to entice expansion. Great wealth was transferred to these companies by Congress. Government serves a purpose for the people, and should no longer assist corporations in this endeavor. These proposals by the BLM and USFS to deny access to public lands is beyond incredible and amounts to a ‘lockout’ because they believe that their bureaucracies are the only entities capable of land use decisions. We all know through experience they are the least qualified to ensure preservation of public lands and public usage. For future generations block this initiative.
Furthermore, in Northern California I have personally witnessed the gross incompetence of the US Forest Service in fire fighting and scheduled burns gone horribly wrong specifically due to their unbelievable inability to make ‘common sense’ decisions regarding whether to proceed or stop pending well known disastrous conditions; the result, Multi-millions of casualty losses ultimately paid by taxpayers. I’d really like to know what in the hell they actually do to earn a living as well as do it correctly?
Interestingly, I am under the impression that public lands are owned by the citizens of this Country to enjoy and use. Under what authority does Congress have a right to sell any public lands without a voter referendum?
In the RMEF January-February 2016 Bugle magazine issue on pg. 33 is an exceptional article written by Jack Ward Thomas, retired Chief of the Forest Service (penned in 1996) that is very relevant today regarding “Who should own public lands?” Please take the time to read this article. It has changed my ignorance and perception about the Forest Service and the BLM.
Mr. Long you need to take a deep breath, the Bundy”s want to take your land away from you and you need to realize that these people are not your friends.. When the USFS and BLM are properly funded you will notice addition management and service, the the current attitude in congress is to starve the land management agencies into making bad decisions such as in fire fighting. Tell your congressman to fund the BLM and Forest Service and you will see any improvement.. Let the Bundy’s take over and you have no public land.. If you can drive there, the hunting is probably no good, from a hunter for over 40 years.
Thank you USFS and BLM, for a lifetime of great opportunity.