Hi all

The Pawnee Disitrct Ranger responded a bit more today ...

Sorry it’s taken me a couple days to respond to your email. I’ve been out 
of town.


We went down an extensive public involvement process centered around the 
increased sports shooting uses a couple years back before the rest of the 
forest was experiencing the same pressure and the decision outcome from 
that process was to build the developed shooting range at Baker Draw. 

Much of the shooting pressure/issues on the other forest districts evolves 
around homes being built in areas historically used for target shooting. 
The grassland does not dovetail into much of those scenarios and we had 
already led the process in developing a shooting range to reduce the number 
of dispersed shooters, so we have not been directly involved with that 
additional forest process. I know for some folks it doesn’t seem like much, 
but in reality, the developed shooting range has greatly reduced the 
numbers of shooters along the roadways. In 2014 everyone who uses the Baker 
Draw facility today, was simply lined up with everyone else along road 96. 

The idea of establishing large shooting area bans is not really an option I 
have readily available at my level. That really always becomes a Washington 
Office affair along with numerous other state and local partners and other 
interests. National forests and grasslands and most public lands aside from 
national parks are open to hunting and recreational sport shooting. 

I would be more inclined to discuss moving the bird tour route at this time 
than trying to eliminate a large area from hunting and shooting. There are 
numerous places on the grassland that see very little or no pressure from 
hunting and shooting sports. 

Shooters favor the road 96 area because they are familiar with it and it is 
the first access point to the grassland along highway 14. We now have a 
developed shooting range in that same area, so for shooters, that is the 
area that most of them are familiar with. I realize similar feeling exists 
for the bird tour, and that it was established there before the increased 
popularity of sports shooting, but whether we like it or not , sport 
shooting has increased in popularity as a recreational activity and numbers 
have risen sharply, which prove that point. 

I believe there are easy access routes to areas with far less shooting 
pressure, having good birding opportunities, so I am more incline to see 
that as a more readily doable fix and discussion right now in order to 
accommodate the desires of all recreational users on the Pawnee National 

Stop in and talk with me some more.

Thanks Gary Lefko, Nunn

On Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 8:36:44 PM UTC-6, Dave Leatherman wrote:
> *Birds of note sensed:*
> After getting a not so early start, I arrived near where WY-NE-CO come 
> together ne of Grover about 8am.  My target was Sharp-tailed Grouse, which 
> everybody has seemingly found.  I got a few extra hours of sleep but not 
> the birds, these two facts being no doubt related.  However, I could sense 
> their presence.  Can I make a pencil mark on the checklist if I don't push 
> hard?  Also, for what it's worth, I met a nice local rancher named Mr. 
> Klingensmith who has lived in the area 20+ years and said he often sees 
> them while driving e on CR134 between 125 and 129 and also going from 134 n 
> on 125 a few miles to the unmarked State Line.  
> *Birds of note seen:*
> Chestnut-collared Longspur (at least 20): mostly near the recently 
> reported S-t Grouse locations, especially on the w side of Weld CR115 n of 
> 134.
> Northern Shrike (1a)  117 n of 134
> Loggerhead Shrike (1a)  111 just s of the State Line  (not too many days 
> in spring or autumn when both shrikes occur on the northern CO plains).
> Long-billed Curlew (4)  in wheat stubble s of 134 just w of 125
> Rough-legged Hawk (at least 4): in the general area of the S-t Grouse 
> sightings plus one on CR77 near GR96 n of Crow Valley (shown)
> Golden Eagle (1) CR90 w of CR49
> *A&B Res #1 *on 124 a few miles w of 77: water is high, no shorebirds, 
> just common duck species.
> *At Crow Valley late this afternoon into early evening (gate is now open, 
> hosts on site):*
> Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1m)
> Townsend's Solitaire (2)
> Total of 25 bird species at CVCG/Briggsdale plus my FOY heard western 
> chorus frogs (note, I did NOT see Mountain Plovers e of Briggsdale in the 
> green strips of winter wheat on CR79 just s of SR14 where they were a week 
> or so ago).
> *Crom Lake* on 131 w of Pierce: water high, mostly common ducks and 
> killdeer, no swallows.
> [Did NOT see large numbers of sparrows today, did NOT see McCown's 
> Longspur, did NOT see any kingbirds or Burrowing Owls.  Regarding the 
> latter, I did not check any prairie-dog towns, so maybe no surprise they 
> escaped detection.] 
> Furthermore,  I did NOT drive GR96 ("Murphy's Pasture") out of not wanting 
> to get pissed at all the gun activity on a route supposedly devoted to 
> nature observation.  
> Dave Leatherman
> Fort Collins

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