Look for modifications to hunting regs for western Colorado

Big-game hunters have some studying ahead of them before submitting that license application for the 2010 hunting season.

In addition to the changes to the state’s hunting regulations noted Sunday in this space, several other notable modifications were undertaken last week by the Colorado Wildlife Commission.

Here is a short list of the changes significant to western Colorado hunters.

A complete list can be found at the wildlife commission Web site (wildlife.state.co.us) and in the Division of Wildlife’s 2010 big-game brochure, which is expected to be available mid-February.

The popular either-sex elk licenses for the first and fourth seasons in game management units on the Grand Mesa (units 41, 42, 52, 411, 421 and 521) are gone, replaced by antlered-only (bull) tags.

The either-sex tags were created several years ago when elk populations were high enough to warrant some additional harvest. At that time, game managers warned hunters that if the history of either-sex tags proved itself true on the mesa, the licenses wouldn’t be available forever.

According to the DOW, the licenses “have been very effective” at reducing elk numbers, which means elk numbers are within desired levels and the tags no longer are needed.

If you have trouble getting enough elk hunting, and you happen to know a landowner in the Gunnison area, here’s a deal for you.

The wildlife commission approved allowing hunters to obtain “any number” (that’s what the regulation says) of antlerless, private-land only elk licenses in units 54, 55 and 551 north and east of Gunnison.

The deal also is good for units 391 and 461 in Jefferson County.

Another change is the so-called “Pay to Play” regulation concerning buying (or being charged for, as it really is) preference points.

It’s no secret that many hunters are interested in accruing points in hopes of eventually having enough to obtain a license in that dream elk or deer unit.

Many of these point gatherers have been nonresidents who don’t buy any Colorado license but simply send in the $3 application fee and receive a preference point.

The DOW recently started charging $25 to these applicants unless they purchased a license of some sort, the list including an annual fishing, small game or big-game license.

That still holds true, but starting this year, if you don’t get your desired license through the application process, don’t really feel like hunting in Colorado anyway and don’t want to add another preference point to your list, you won’t be charged the $25 nor will you get the point.

Finally, this year blackpowder elk licenses are being issued per management unit rather than on the statewide basis as before.

Either-sex blackpowder elk tags will be available in specific units.


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