Colorado DOW Considers Feral Hog Hunts

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On Tuesday, July 2, the Colorado Wildlife Commission approved regulations pertaining to feral hogs, including the adoption of a definition of "feral hogs" and provisions for legal take of such hogs. Feral hogs can cause significant wildlife habitat damage and have been declared by the Wildlife Commission to be detrimental to Colorado's wildlife. Many other states are trying to control or eliminate feral hog populations and Colorado wildlife and agriculture officials now have methods to curtail the expansion of these invasive animals into the state.

In addition, the Commission expanded hunting opportunity for mobility-impaired hunters to include the take of antlered animals. The intent of this program is to allow qualified hunters to obtain antlered deer and elk and buck pronghorn licenses through the applicable Division regional service center in instances where an organization assisting such mobility-impaired hunters has coordinated a hunting opportunity specifically for this program. Regional managers will then approve requests on a case-by-case basis.

Small game seasons were approved and are generally similar to last year, with the exception of the addition of a Eurasian collared-dove season from December 1st through the end of February. This season is designed to allow hunters to take numbers of the exotic dove after native mourning doves have migrated south. Expanded season dates for the Walk-In Access program were passed which will permit the Division to pursue access for doves, rabbits, sharp-tailed grouse and other species that open on September 1.

Final regulations regarding waterfowl seasons were passed, pending the final federal framework which will be released in early August. Proposed changes to waterfowl closures at Empire and Vancil reservoirs were not approved at this time to allow the Commission to consider them along with recommendations from a Blue Ribbon panel which will be considering a variety of measures to improve the quality of duck hunting in the South Platte river basin. A review will be completed in time to request changes for the 2008 waterfowl season.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission is an eleven-member board appointed by the governor. The Commission sets Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) regulations and policies for hunting, fishing, watchable wildlife, and nongame, threatened and endangered species. Commissioners also oversee DOW land purchases and property regulations.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is the state agency responsible for managing wildlife and its habitat, as well as providing wildlife related recreation. The Division is funded through hunting and fishing license fees, federal grants and Colorado Lottery proceeds through Great Outdoors Colorado.