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exbiologist's picture
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Colorado Elk and Deer population changes

The population estimates are being made publicly available (on the commision page, not the stats page yet) here: http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/ED3D5C53-8144-43D6-B39F-0E638A8641E3/0/2010BigGameObjectives.pdf
As always, there were gainers and losers, but overall, the elk population is up 1% from 283,000 to 286,000 and Western Colorado deer is down 1.5% from 430,230 to 423,490.

Big losers among the elk units include the Sapinero units 53,63(-12.6%) and 80,81(-12.2%). But the real big gainers include the Flat Tops units (+11%, units 11,12,13,23,24,25,26,33,34,131,211,231), Grand Mesa units(+29%, units 41,42,411,421,52,521), and San Isabel/Sawatch units (+30%, units 48,481,56,561). Of course elk populations rarely jump 30% in a year, so there may have been errors this year or last. But the DOW may have also overreacted with reducing antlerless and either sex tags in these units too much last year, as the Grand Mesa units are going to have a huge increase in tags this year.

Sadly, the Poudre elk units are still stuck in neutral, with practically no population increase, but the DOW is reducing cow tags by 12% this year.
The same cannot be said for the Poudre deer units, which is on their way back up quickly, gaining another 15% this year after last year's big gains, and will be allowed to continue increasing for the next several years (still way shy of the 12,000 deer goal).

Other big gainers include some of the Aspen units (units 43,47,471, +11%), the Roan Cliffs (units 31,32, +10%), the San Isabel, South Park and Sawatch units (units 49,57,58,581 +14% and units 48,481,56,561 +10%), and Colorado Springs (59,591, 511,512, +21.7%). Just as deer can make big gains, they can also take big losses, as exhibited this year in unit 63 (-23%), the Uncompahgre Plateau (61,62 -11%), South Grand Mesa (411,52,521 -16.4%), Dolores and San Miguel Country (70,71,711, -18%), and Taylor Park units (55,551 -another 17% after 2008's 40% loss!).
While it's too late to do much with this information this year, they do publish the 2010 projections, for next year's application season.

elkkill06's picture
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Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1934
Re: Colorado Elk and Deer population changes

Thanks for the great info Ex. Thumbs up I still don't think the DOW is on with the numbers as far as the units I play in. I have read the info you have written on how the counts are figured and I do want to believe that the system is close, but from what I have noticed going on I still think they are way off. sad

Str8shooter's picture
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Location: Wisconsin
Joined: 01/30/2010
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Re: Colorado Elk and Deer population changes

Thanks for posting this exbio. I'm happy to see the deer #'s are on the upswing in the unit that I applied for.....being a rookie mule deer hunter I need all the help I can get Big smile

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