5-Year Big Game Season Structure alternatives

colo_junk

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Final recommendations for the 5-year season structure have been posted to the Commission webpage. Lowlights include:

  • Archery deer and elk Option A: Sept. 2-30 deer and elk archery season annually, unlimited OTC either-sex for elk. No more August deer hunting.
  • 2nd and 3rd combined rifle seasons shortened to 7 days each. Breaks between seasons increased in length, so that 4th season will sometimes extend beyond Thanksgiving
  • They are also proposing to make it a 7-year season structure rather than 5 years (note 7 years of season dates). This was discussed at the last Commission meeting.
You can still submit email comments to the Commission prior to the July 18 meeting: dnr_cpwcommission@state.co.us
Are they still recommendations or is this what the seasons are going to look like for the next 7 years? The header on the document you linked to says "Finalized by the Parks and Wildlife Commission – July 2019"
 

Oak

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Are they still recommendations or is this what the seasons are going to look like for the next 7 years? The header on the document you linked to says "Finalized by the Parks and Wildlife Commission – July 2019"
Funny, I didn’t notice that it said “finalized,” but they are to be considered by the Commission at the meeting on July 18. They will not be final until then.
 

Oak

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I spoke at length to a CPW employee yesterday who is in charge of setting license numbers for his little slice of Colorado. He said that he can't believe "what a s%@#show" the 5-year season structure process has been and what the Commission is proposing as final recommendations. He acknowledged the loss of opportunity for rifle hunters by shortening the combined seasons to 7 days or less, but also pointed out that he will be forced to significantly reduce license numbers for 3rd and 4th season (deer, cow elk, 4th season bull elk) due to how late those seasons will now be. The overall loss of rifle hunting opportunity may very well increase archery pressure as there will be unlimited archery OTC elk licenses.

There is still time to send your emails.
 

wllm1313

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I spoke at length to a CPW employee yesterday who is in charge of setting license numbers for his little slice of Colorado. He said that he can't believe "what a s%@#show" the 5-year season structure process has been and what the Commission is proposing as final recommendations. He acknowledged the loss of opportunity for rifle hunters by shortening the combined seasons to 7 days or less, but also pointed out that he will be forced to significantly reduce license numbers for 3rd and 4th season (deer, cow elk, 4th season bull elk) due to how late those seasons will now be. The overall loss of rifle hunting opportunity may very well increase archery pressure as there will be unlimited archery OTC elk licenses.

There is still time to send your emails.
Email sent
 

Oak

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The justification given by the Commission for shortening the rifle seasons and moving them to as late as the weekend after Thanksgiving: "sportsmen ranked longer breaks between rifle seasons as a high priority."

Consequences of the proposed alternative:
  • Reduced days of hunting opportunity (only 1 weekend for youth and those without vacation)
  • Reduced hunting opportunity due to reduced license quotas in later rifle seasons because of animal vulnerability
  • Accelerated preference point creep due to reduced license quotas
  • Exacerbation of archery crowding due to unlimited over-the-counter licenses for 29 day season
  • Reduced high value landowner vouchers for late rifle seasons, pressure to increase landowner quota
  • Reduced nonresident opportunity will increase pressure from Colorado outfitters to increase NR quotas for limited licenses (in 2015 they asked for 50/50 split or straight preference point draw with no guaranteed resident allocation)
 

wllm1313

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The justification given by the Commission for shortening the rifle seasons and moving them to as late as the weekend after Thanksgiving: "sportsmen ranked longer breaks between rifle seasons as a high priority."

Consequences of the proposed alternative:
  • Reduced days of hunting opportunity (only 1 weekend for youth and those without vacation)
  • Reduced hunting opportunity due to reduced license quotas in later rifle seasons because of animal vulnerability
  • Accelerated preference point creep due to reduced license quotas
  • Exacerbation of archery crowding due to unlimited over-the-counter licenses for 29 day season
  • Reduced high value landowner vouchers for late rifle seasons, pressure to increase landowner quota
  • Reduced nonresident opportunity will increase pressure from Colorado outfitters to increase NR quotas for limited licenses (in 2015 they asked for 50/50 split or straight preference point draw with no guaranteed resident allocation)
Do you know of a resource that shows how regs evolved over time, e.g. does the division have brochures for every year going back to the 70s.

I recently talked to my FIL who grew up here, so been hunting since the early 60s, and it was very interesting. Basically I tossed out a few different ideas and he said well they did that in 1980 and it had XYZ effect and then they tried XXX in yyyyyy and this is what happened.

Seems like we have already gone down this road before and seen exactly what you are talking about. I guess at one point deer seasons were only 3 days long? The first weekend of each season and then it was elk only. Also they tired having alternating deer and elk weeks, and antler point restrictions?
 

Oak

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I'm not aware of such a resource. There is an online state document repository on the CO Dept. of Education website where I was looking for old regulations brochures a month or so ago with no luck. But I didn't spend too much time because the search function is onerous if you don't know the file name of the document you're looking for.

Deer season was the first three days of the combined seasons for 2 years in the early 90's. I think it was a change in the 5-year season structure, but was reverted after 2 years because of the deer herd rebound. The deer antler point restriction happened around 1986 (I think the year after the elk point restriction), but only lasted a couple of years because it was not effective at what they were trying to accomplish (and also resulted in a lot of 2-points ground checked and wasted).
 

wllm1313

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Posted elsewhere but am duplicating here as well.

The commission just unanimously approved adding 500,000 acres for public big game hunting access, CO land board approved as well.

Commissioner Garcia asked why all CO state land couldn't be added to the program.

The land board rep said some wasn't appropriate, (high speed train testing, old bombing range with live ordnance, some is leased by the gov for military insertion exercises), some don't have access from public roads, and some, have conflicting leases.

The land board responded to BHAs comment about the lands and I think was a bit misleading, they said that much of the state land out east had never been leased by hunters and therefore wasn't worth CPAW acquiring. I think most CO hunters just don't want to have to pay to hunt what should be their land anyway.
 

wllm1313

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Motions
1. 2020-2024 Early Seasons (Deer and Elk west of I-25 and unit 140) Season dates, pursuant to additional language on limited licenses from CPAW. (Approved, with additional vote in September)

2. Plains Deer seasons (Deer and Elk west of I-25 and unit 140) , except modify the dates Oct 20-31 of the year, and correspondingly move muzzleloader season. (Approved) (Potentially additional vote in September)

3. Rifle Seasons (Deer and Elk west of I-25 and unit 140) Alternative 3 tweaked, 2nd season (9 day season), 3rd season (7 days), 4th Season would be (5 days) (Voted Pushed to Tomorrow)
 
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Oak

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This morning the Commission approved a new rifle season structure for deer and elk west of I-25. Here's what it looks like with 2020 dates:

5 day first rifle elk only, starting first Saturday after Oct. 9: Oct. 10-14, 2020
9 day second combined deer and elk starting on Saturday 14 days after start of 1st: Oct. 24-Nov. 1, 2020
7 day third combined deer and elk starting on Saturday 14 days after start of 2nd: Nov. 7-13, 2020
5 day fourth combined deer and elk starting on Wednesday 11 days after start of 3rd: Nov. 18-22, 2020
 

vanish

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I've been on vacation so I missed this...

Wow ... this is going to be a huge change. I see many people saying this is the end of trophy buck hunting in Colorado because these new rifle dates are going to crush the bucks, but I see it more like Oak ... we're just going to get WAY fewer 3rd and 4th season deer tags. This seems so counterintuitive to what I've seen preached by moving the season dates into the Rut like this.

What happened with the plains deer dates? ... I suppose I want to listen to the testimony anyway.
 

cedahm

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Wow ... this is going to be a huge change. I see many people saying this is the end of trophy buck hunting in Colorado because these new rifle dates are going to crush the bucks, but I see it more like Oak ... we're just going to get WAY fewer 3rd and 4th season deer tags. This seems so counterintuitive to what I've seen preached by moving the season dates into the Rut like this.
The 'hard' data from the surveys showed 'Longer Breaks Between Seasons' as the #1 sportsman feedback item in the 'Season Length and Longer Breaks' category (not by a huge margin, but in terms of hard data, it was the #1).

I listened to bits and pieces of several of the meetings and while a few testified that other factors were equally/more important, to be fair to the commission, they need to consider the highest ranked factor based on their objective data (reason #2478 of why it's important for sportsmen to respond to the surveys). Commissioner Bray in particular kept driving the conversation back to 'breaks'.

The only way to get longer breaks between seasons is to shuffle everything back and/or shorten seasons (both of which are happening).

Agree that the end result is likely going to be less deer tags in 3rd and 4th - which will probably also exacerbate point creep.
 

wllm1313

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The 'hard' data from the surveys showed 'Longer Breaks Between Seasons' as the #1 sportsman feedback item in the 'Season Length and Longer Breaks' category (not by a huge margin, but in terms of hard data, it was the #1).

I listened to bits and pieces of several of the meetings and while a few testified that other factors were equally/more important, to be fair to the commission, they need to consider the highest ranked factor based on their objective data (reason #2478 of why it's important for sportsmen to respond to the surveys). Commissioner Bray in particular kept driving the conversation back to 'breaks'.

The only way to get longer breaks between seasons is to shuffle everything back and/or shorten seasons (both of which are happening).

Agree that the end result is likely going to be less deer tags in 3rd and 4th - which will probably also exacerbate point creep.

At the end of the day the #1 goal, which I think we all agree, is herd health. Essentially all the sportsman preference choice can be distilled down to "we want better harvest rates", and necessarily anything the commission does to improve rates will need to be offset by actions that decrease rates.

Per above if you boil down, longer breaks, it's just code for I want the deer to move onto public so I have a better chance at killing them. Similarly pushing the dates back into the rut increases the harvest rate. I think most sportsman get this and understand that tags will be cut in order to balance the scale.

Agreed point creep will increase.

If I was god of the season structure, I would make it a rule you can't harvest game within 1 mile of a road, get ride of rifle season, make compound bows illegal and ban calls. I would have everything be stick bow and hawken style muzzy. You could probably make most of the state OTC and have the season go from August 1 to December 31st.

I'm sure there are lots of guys who would rather the season was 1 day long, but they get to use a helicopter and that e-rifle that auto aims for you.

The key to this whole thing is protecting the resource, I want to see CO go full limited so that biologist have better control over specific herds and for CO to adopt mandatory reporting so that biologist have better data to base their assumptions on.

I think there is a misconception by some that fully limited hunting means that you won't be able to hunt every year, I'm not sure why. The biggest net effect of going full limited is that when people go to walmart to buy their elk tag it will say "leftover" instead of "OTC" on it.
 
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