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Prairie chicken tour season opens in nearby Yuma Co. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

The 2011 Greater Prairie Chicken Tours began last weekend in Wray.

Seventeen years ago, the tours began when a local Colorado Division of Wildlife officer wanted to help get this unique bird off the endangered species list. Over the last 17 years, people from all over the world have come to view these birds and their spectacular mating dance and hear their mating call.

This year, so far, Wray will be welcoming people from eight states, as well as Hungary, Scotland, British Columbia, Switzerland, England, Italy and Sweden. Organizers in Wray believe because of the sluggish economy, this year’s tours have not completely sold out.

A number of spots are still available. Because of that, the Wray Chamber of Commerce and East Yuma County Historical Society have decided to offer area residents a discounted opportunity to see these birds in all their wonder.

The tours are offered starting last weekend and then the first three weekends in April. Tours are Friday night and Saturday morning and also Saturday night and Sunday morning. Both are now offered to area residents for half off the regular ticket price.

On Friday nights at 7 p.m., there is a simple orientation at the Wray Museum that all tour participants, local or not, must attend. This gives an introduction to the birds and what will be seen the next morning.

On Saturday night, registrants will check in at the Laird Community Center at 7 p.m. where they will be treated to dinner during their orientation.

The morning after orientation, both tour groups will rise very early to hop on the bus out to the lek, or viewing site. Once the viewing is done, they will be treated to breakfast at the Kitzmiller Grazing Ranch and will then be returned to town.

Whether participants are local or not, they must attend the orientation the night prior to their tour and are not allowed to drive to the viewing site.

Transportation to and from the viewing site is included in the cost. This discount will only be given to residents of Washington, Yuma, Kit Carson and Phillips counties in Colorado and Dundy County, Neb.

Over the years, a number of locals have expressed interest in attending these tours but didn’t want to pay the normal ticket price. This half-price opportunity is presented to those local residents.

Call the Wray Chamber office ASAP to schedule a tour and make arrangements for payment. These tours help the Wray Chamber of Commerce and the East Yuma County Historical Society to keep going throughout the year.

There is more information online at www.wraychamber.net/gpct2.php. Those interested in the tours should not register and pay online, as they will not get the discount that way.