Wildlife Commission Rejects Limiting GMU 62 Elk Licenses

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The Colorado Wildlife Commission has decided against limiting elk licenses in a popular hunting area west of Montrose.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission has decided against limiting elk licenses in a popular hunting area west of Montrose. After more than two hours of testimony, mostly from area residents opposed to the idea of limiting elk licenses in a popular hunting area on the Uncompahgre Plateau west of Montrose, the Colorado Wildlife Commission decided against implementing such a plan.

After more than two hours of testimony, mostly from area residents opposed to the idea of limiting elk licenses in a popular hunting area on the Uncompahgre Plateau west of Montrose, the Colorado Wildlife Commission decided against implementing such a plan.

The decision means that an unlimited number of bull elk hunters will be able to hunt in game management unit 62 in 2003. The number of hunters with bull elk licenses would have been reduced by as much as 75 percent had the proposal been adopted.

Area residents said they were concerned that limiting the number of elk licenses in unit 62 would hurt the local economy because hunters would turn to other areas of the state. They also said it would limit the opportunity for families and groups of friends to hunt together in the unit as they have for decades.

"The people of the Western Slope have clearly spoken and the Wildlife Commission has responded appropriately," said Greg Walcher, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

"This meeting is an example of government working for the interests of Colorado residents," Walcher said. "This decision is good for the Montrose area economy because it will keep hunters coming to the Uncompahgre and it reflects the will of the local community."

The Division of Wildlife's terrestrial staff presented that proposal at the Commission's request. A June, 1999 Commission policy statement directed the Division to manage 20 percent of the elk resource in the state as quality areas for both deer and elk hunting. For elk, that means managing a unit to increase the ratio of mature bulls to cow elk and to limit the number of hunters to increase the success ratio for hunters who do draw licenses.