Commission makes changes to big-game hunting regulations

This photo by writer Justin Zarr on the website shows two arrows with lighted nocks. This brand of arrow has astring-activated switch embedded into the throat of the nock.

Several changes to the state’s big-game hunting regulations were approved last week by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission.

All the changes are effective for the 2015 big-game hunting season.

Archers now are allowed to use lighted nocks when hunting. Lighted nocks aren’t new but there has been some controversy over whether their use offers an unfair advantage to hunters.

These nocks, which may be turned on manually or light once the arrow is released, can assist an archer in seeing if and where the arrow strikes the animals, giving the hunter a better idea how and when to begin tracking and can help to recover wounded game.

If you’ve ever tried to watch an arrow’s flight, particularly with some of the modern bows that send an arrow flying at 350 feet per second, a lighted nock makes a great deal of sense.

The Pope and Young Club, which keeps records of archery-taken big-game animals, recently amended its rules to allow the use of lighted nocks “and recording devices that cast no light towards the target and do not aid in range-finding, sighting or shooting the bow.”

Similar language was adopted by the wildlife commission.

Mountain lion hunters now must be present when and where tracking dogs are released and the hunters must participate continuously in the hunt until it ends.

If the hunter wasn’t present when the dogs were released, the lion will be allowed to escape unhindered if it’s treed or cornered.

This year’s bear quota is 656 for the fall season — end of the final combined rifle big-game season to
March 31 — and 166 bears for the spring season — April 1-30.

Other rules adopted included setting aside at least 15 percent of the limited licenses in every hunting unit for antlerless pronghorn, antlerless and either-sex deer and antlerless elk and adding elk hunting opportunities in big game units 61 and 128.

Unit 61 is the south side of the Uncompahgre Plateau and includes the Nucla area, where commission Chairman Robert Bray has a ranch and outfitting business.

Unit 128 includes the southeast corner of Pueblo County.

Also, pronghorn muzzleloader season has been moved to Sept. 21-29; additional moose licenses are available in unit 38 (Gilpin County) and additional deer hunts are available in units 65 (southeast of Montrose); 41 (east of Grand Junction); 55 and 551 (north and east of Gunnison); 201 (northwest Colorado); 103 and 109 (far eastern Colorado).

A complete list of the changes is available on the Parks and Wildlife Commission pages at


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