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exbiologist's picture
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2012 Colorado Big Game Quotas

Haven't been approved quite yet, but they are still slashing deer tags across much of the state. Elk are mostly the same.
http://wildlife.state.co.us/SiteCollectionDocuments/DOW/Commission/2012/May/Ch2-Quotas.pdf

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Some deer units took a big

Some deer units took a big hit while others stayed the same. I have no problem with reducing tags as long as it is based on sound management. I hope this is the case and if so, it will only help restore and build our herd.

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I still can't figure out why

I still can't figure out why when the deer herds are down they still issue doe tags some units.  I can understand if there are deer causing problems in farmers fields but there are quite a few units that there is no problem with farms and they still issue doe tages in those units while they are trying to get the population back up. 

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Thanks!

 

This is excellent advance information - thanks Exbiologist!

 

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a deeper look

Bear

On 2nd glance, the thing that really stood out is they are cranking up the bear tags.  I know they just finished a DNA based density study, which indicated they probably have a lot more bears than they originally thought from an old Rocky Mountain National Park bear study.  Anyway, total bear tags in a lot of units are going way, way up.

The really shocking increase in bear tags was for the Bear's Ears through Steamboat and Northpark.  That September tag is going from 285 to 600 tags.  Lots of other places are seeing 50-100% increases.  This might help with the revenue loss from cutting deer tags so badly.  

Deer:

  the old early rifle doe tags in North Park are pretty much disappearing.  Expect to see this entire tag dropped soon.  This was that screwy non high country September season.  The doe tags are going from 75 down to 5 this year, and they are cutting the buck licenses by 50% or so in each of the North Park units.  On the plus side, they added 48, 481, 56, and 561 to the early rifle buck options.  Don't say they don't look at your comments on the herd management plans.  So few people ever say anything, it's easy for them to look at what you have to say.  I'd like to think that I had something to do with getting that added, as I was the only one to have suggested it when they solicited comments.  And I did it anonymously.  See the last page of the herd management plan, it was just one little sentence, but only a couple of other people made any comments.  The meeting they held only had 13 attendees ( I didn't go either), so it's easy to have your voice heard or get things explained to you when you have specific questions about the management plans.

Anyway, off soapbox, back to deer stuff...

Craig:  deer population stumbled again by about 10%, buck licenses are down about 30%.  Not just units 3, 4 and 5, but also 11 and 211.

Flat Tops:  deer population fell another 15%, now almost 25,000 below objective.  licenses being cut by about 25%.

North Grand Mesa:  units 41, 42, 421.  cut doe tags by over 50%.  Wouldn't count on those leftovers this year.  Cut buck tags 10%.

Unit 44:  a traditional trophy area that has been in a major decline over the last 5 years.  Showed the first increase in a while and they bumped tags just a hair.

Gunnison:  another traditional hot spot that is starting to recover a little bit and also received a small bump in tags.

Uncompahgre Plateau:  Another 20% population decline.  Now less than 50% of objective.  Hardly any doe tags to cut, but those are down 20%, buck tags down 7%.

Middle Park:  one of the few areas in the state with a growing herd that is significantly above objective.  Got a minor boost in doe tags.  This is one of the few places I can guarantee there will be leftover public land doe tags for those who want them.  

Rangley:  Unit 10.  I don't know if they changed their survey methods or what happened, but the deer herd is down 75% in one year?  Is now literally 10% of objective.

1,2,201  first increase in a while, but still below where they want it, small bump in buck tags probably won't slow the point creep much.

East Flat Tops/Sweetwater herd:  finally back up to objective, but no license increases this year.

80/81:  another traditionally good deer area almost recovered from the 2007/2008 losses.  No license changes.

All totalled, look for another 10% drop in rifle deer tags west of I25, from 43,000 down to 39,000 or so this year.  For comparison, in 2007 there were 83,000 deer tags in these units.  I imagine that has had an effect on the bottom line.

Elk:

The Sweetwater (25/26) OTC capped elk tag is finally getting reduced by about 50% as the whole Flat Tops elk herd has now fallen to within the objective range.

Unit 2 and 201 cow tags are down 50% as the population has fallen by about 30%, but is still a little higher than they want it.

Unit 20 interestingly enough is seeing a 50% increase in cow tags, primarily as private land, but also some public rifle tags.

Like I said before though, nothing really shocking with the elk numbers this year.

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Great information, thank for

Great information, thank for the update.

Looks like things stay completely the same in my corner at least for this year. 

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Thanks Mark !

Mark,

Thanks for sharing the excellent info. Yes I am very happy to see the number of bear tags go up and I will be one of the guys chasing them this year during the September rifle season. I definitely think this will help out the deer population in my favorite unit. Now just if they killed more lions and people killed more yotes, we need the good ol' days to come back on predator control in most of the western states.

As for the deer tags, they have dropped the number in my unit which will drop my chances for sure of drawing my tag. Crossing my fingers !

One thing I was always curious about Mark was, "How many of the alocated tags go to property owners (voucher tags) say in my deer unit and do they come out of the regular quota ?"

I also noticed they raised the number of cow tags in my OTC elk unit. In am not sure what to think of that ! What??

Good luck to all this year !

Quinton 

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15%

Landowners get 15% of the tags the the drawing. Once the licenses hit leftovers, anyone can have them. That quota is for both public and private land tags. Or at least that's how I understand it.

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481 didn't make out well. :(

481 didn't make out well.   banghead

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pardon my newb.  are the

pardon my newb.  are the numbers in red the available harvest per unit?  with that said, isnt an OTC good for all 82 Units?  so how do they stop the numbers going higher?  if that makes sense.

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Just the limited licenses

The numbers displayed are not for OTC licenses.  The cow tags, plus first, fourth, muzzleloader and in some popular units, archery tags are limited.  The number of OTC tags sold per unit rarely varies by much each year so they can factor that into the harvest goals

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