Colorado DOW Approves Free Big Game Licenses for Wounded Warriors

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The Colorado Wildlife Commission unanimously approved final regulations and big-game license allocations to provide free licenses to hunt deer, elk and pronghorn to Colorado combat veterans severely wounded in action while deployed overseas since Sept. 11, 2001. These licenses will be available this fall.

As set forth in Colorado Senate Bill 10-211, the DOW will provide a free deer, elk and pronghorn license to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are participants in the military's Wounded Warrior Programs.

"Offering free big-game licenses is just a small token of the gratitude we all feel toward the men and women who have served our country so courageously," said Wildlife Commission chairman Tim Glenn.  "We want them to know their sacrifice will not be forgotten."

Free licenses to hunt antlerless deer, elk or pronghorn will be made available in game management units where the total antlerless license allocation is at least 100 for deer and elk or 50 doe pronghorn licenses statewide during rifle seasons. Licenses would be capped at 10 licenses per game management unit or 2 percent of the total issued in that unit, whichever is greater.

For antlered deer, elk and buck pronghorn, Wounded Warrior licenses will be issued for private land only and capped at five licenses per game management unit or 2 percent of the total, whichever is greater. Antlered tags will not be issued for Ranching for Wildlife properties or in units which take more than four resident preference points to draw.

The program applies to servicemen and women who are residents of or are stationed in Colorado and mirrors the DOW's existing mobility-impaired hunting license program in that applicants must have a mobility impairment resulting from a severe combat-related injury, which makes it physically impossible for them to hunt without the assistance of an attendant.

For more information on the program and information on how to apply for licenses available to Wounded Warriors, please contact Erik Slater at 303-291-7380.

In another final action, Commissioners approved raising the statewide mountain lion quota by 16 to 592.

The Commission continued its Five-Year Review of Colorado Fishing Regulations, a process that is designed to ensure that the Division of Wildlife continues to meet fisheries management objectives and recreational needs of anglers.

Among the changes, DOW staff is proposing to allow take of northern pike by underwater spear fishing, archery and gigs, to further restrict the movement of baitfish to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species and to prohibit any transport of crayfish in the Yampa River Basin. The regulations are due to be finalized in November.

A draft regulation change under consideration by the Commission would permit the DOW to allow wildlife educators to maintain possession of any injured raptor which has been injured too badly to be released and use the raptor as an educational ambassador. However, staff recommended the same process should not be applied to migratory species which are not raptors. The Commission will make a final decision in November.

Commissioners also received a final report on the 2005-2009 Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation Cooperative Agreement which authorized DOW Director Tom Remington to engage in negotiations to develop a new agreement. The Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation was founded in 1989 to raise funds for wildlife-related projects, such as Colorado's lynx restoration project. CHFI is proposing to raise funds to support DOW's Outdoor Education Center in Gunnison under the new agreement.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission is an 11-member board appointed by the governor. The Wildlife Commission sets Division of Wildlife regulations and policies for hunting, fishing, watchable wildlife, nongame, threatened and endangered species. The Commission also oversees Division of Wildlife land purchases and property regulations.