Gov. Polis thinks it more important to unleash wolves upon Colorado at the prescribed time set by a ballot measure, than to ensure safe management tools are in place first to protect ranchers’ livestock and pets.

Polis strongly signaled he will clear away that pesky delay with his veto pen and reject Senate Bill 23-256 because he holds the artificial start date sacrosanct.

From the Denver Post:

“There shouldn’t be a lot of suspense on that one,” Polis told reporters Tuesday morning …

This would be Polis’s first veto of any legislation passed in this session, which concluded on Monday.

State Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta County, one of the measure’s sponsors, said a veto from Polis would be a “grave mistake.” Waiting until federal officials give the state authority to manage the wolves would mean the greatest chance of success for their reintroduction, he said.


A veto from the governor would effectively say “we will bring wolves into Colorado without giving farmers and ranchers and other landowners the means to protect their pet animals, their dog, their cat or their livestock,” Soper said.

The bipartisan bill would hold the wolf release date just long enough for the feds to finalize rules designating wolves as nonessential and experimental rather than an endangered species. As a nonessential animal, taking of the wolves would be allowed to protect livestock and pets.

The apex predators will be released near the state’s most popular tourist destinations, namely Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield, and Gunnison Counties.

Without the rules in place, ranchers will be helpless to defend their livestock and pets against wolf attacks.

The release date might be delayed anyway, as Western states where the wolves inhabit don’t seem willing to sell theirs off to Colorado for relocation.