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Colorado closes Byers Canyon shooting range to protect wintering elk

From Colorado Department of Natural Resources

-- Parks and Wildlife is reminding shooting enthusiast that the Byers Canyon Shooting Range in Hot Sulphur Springs will close Jan. 13 to protect wintering elk and deer herds.

The closure provides big game with undisturbed use of the land in and around the range, allowing them to feed freely without expending crucial energy trying to avoid human activity in the area.

"The closures have helped reduce stress to deer and elk during winter, and we appreciate the public's cooperation in helping increase their survival rates," said Lyle Sidener, area wildlife manager.

Although the area has experienced a mild winter so far this year, cold weather is always difficult for wildlife. Winter conditions typically force deer and elk to lower elevations in search of food, putting them at higher risk for stressful encounters with humans.

Providing undisturbed winter range for animals benefits area residents as well, reducing the number of wintering elk and deer that are forced onto private land in search of safety and food, damaging haystacks and other private agriculture products.

The range will remain closed until deer move toward higher ground in the spring, which typically occurs in early April.

The Byers Canyon Shooting Range owned and operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife is very popular with sportsmen, especially prior to and during big game hunting seasons.

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