- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - Bureau of Land Management rangers are issuing $275 tickets to people who break the rules by entering winter refuges for mule deer and elk around Durango, saying it’s interfering with the animals feeding habits.

The low-elevation areas are closed to the public in the winter to give elk and mule deer alternatives to find food when they come down from heavy snow in the highlands.

Joe Lewandowski, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Durango, said despite sunny, clear weather, it’s extremely cold in the high country, making it hard for wildlife to find food.

“They’ll lose 30 to 40 percent of their body weight during the winter,” Lewandowski said.

BLM spokeswoman Shannon Borders said Wednesday that better weather is bringing more people outdoors, but the rules still stand.

“Rangers are hearing such things as ‘Oh, I didn’t think it was a big deal’ from people they find in the closed areas,” Borders said. “As a result, rangers are going to stop writing warnings and issue citations, which will cost the trespasser $275.”

Areas around Durango closed to the public include BLM lands near Animas City Mountain and Grand View Ridge. Twin Buttes belongs to the city of Durango, and Perins Peak and Bodo state wildlife areas are Colorado Parks and Wildlife refuges, but the same restrictions apply, the Durango Herald reported Thursday (https://tinyurl.com/locrzrb ).

The areas, closed in early December, will reopen by April 15.


Information from: Durango Herald, https://www.durangoherald.com

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