Commission Finalizes Big Game License Allocation Regulations
The Colorado Wildlife Commission finalized several big game license allocation regulations during its meeting last Thursday and Friday in Denver.
The Commission finalized resident/nonresident allocation for elk and deer licenses. Under the new regulations, beginning in 2006, 80 percent of licenses for hunts that previously required an average of five resident preference points to draw during the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons will be allocated for residents. Up to 20 percent of the licenses for these hunts will be allocated to nonresident hunters. For the remaining limited deer licenses and elk licenses in the state, 65 percent of the licenses will be allocated to residents and up to 35 percent of the licenses will be allocated to nonresidents. Previously, 60 percent of all limited elk and deer licenses were allocated to residents, and up to 40 percent were allocated to nonresidents. Licenses not allocated to resident hunters on first choice may be allocated to non-resident hunters.
The Commission also added some regulations to the landowner preference program. Landowners who transfer any license voucher will have to include permission for the license holder to hunt on the land for which the voucher was awarded. Landowners who are applying for leftover vouchers within the 15 percent allocation will pay $25 for each leftover choice. The money will be refunded if they are unsuccessful. Any landowner who does not follow the regulations will be disqualified from participating in any landowner preference program during their next year of eligibility or application.
A Landowner Pilot Program was also implemented through the 2008 big game season. East of Interstate 25, in addition to the 15 percent general landowner preference allocation, an additional 10 percent of the rifle quota for pronghorn in each game management unit will be made available to eligible landowners as family only vouchers. These vouchers will be either-sex or doe licenses and will only be valid on private land.
In game management units 1 and 10 in Northwest Colorado, in addition to the current quota, an additional ten either-sex elk licenses per game management unit will be allocated. Five will be made available to eligible landowners as either-sex, private land only transferable vouchers that are valid during the early rifle season. The remaining five licenses will be made available to the general public as either-sex licenses valid for the entire game management unit during the first regular rifle (elk only) season.
To be eligible for these licenses, a landowner must own a minimum of 640 acres and must have elk on their property from the start of the regular archery season to the end of the fourth regular rifle season. For each of these vouchers received, a landowner must allow access to the property they control to each of the five general public either-sex license holders and a minimum of ten general public antlerless license holders. Access to the property for the ten general public antlerless license holders will be offered during the third and fourth regular rifle seasons through antlerless licenses established specifically for the landowner pilot program.
The DOW will provide an annual evaluation of the program to the Commission, and will also continue to research other landowner programs to apply to other species and other geographic areas of the state at the direction of the Commission.
The reorganization of the aquatics regulations pertaining to fish health and the control of aquatic nuisance species was also finalized.
The Commission also finalized several annual changes to big game season dates, limited license areas, limited license numbers and manners of take provisions in preparation for the 2006 big game season.