Fewer licenses will be available to hunt deer, elk

Fewer elk and deer licenses will be available this fall after action Thursday by the Colorado Wildlife Commission.

The nine-member panel approved offering nearly 8,000 fewer deer licenses and more than 10,000 fewer elk tags to hunters seeking a limited-draw license.

The largest reduction in deer licenses will be in the Northwest region, particularly in game-management units around Meeker, Craig and Steamboat Springs. In that area, license numbers were slashed by more than 6,600.

All doe and fourth-season buck licenses were eliminated in the Gunnison Basin, where deer populations still lag after greater-than-expected winter mortality in 2008-09.

The fiscal effect to the Division of Wildlife from the loss of those deer licenses is expected to be around $600,000.

Limited elk licenses were cut by 10,127 statewide as the Division of Wildlife continues to close in on desired elk population numbers.

In some areas, elk-reduction efforts have been so successful that the Division of Wildlife is getting requests to reduce hunting pressure.

As in the recent past, all elk tags will be limited for the first, fourth and late-season hunts, with over-the-counter bull licenses available in the second and third seasons.

Limited antlerless (cow and calf) and either-sex elk licenses were cut 7 percent this year, with the highest decreases in units north of Glenwood Springs, across the White River and Flat Tops and north to the Wyoming border.

One bright spot is the number of some fourth-season licenses (limited bull and either-sex) jumped by 10,291.

The overall reduction of more than 10,000 elk licenses is expected to create a $1.2 million impact. That could be less if some hunters buy an alternate elk license.

The elk population is estimated at 292,000 animals.

Pronghorn licenses jumped in the northeast and southwest regions as statewide license numbers were increased by nearly 4,500 tags.

Two bull moose tags were approved for the herd on Grand Mesa.


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