Wildlife officials to look at big-game hunting season structure
This week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials will begin a series of conversations with the public to explain and discuss potential changes to the state’s five-year Big Game Season Structure.
The first public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday in Meeker to discuss the season structure.
CPW spokesperson Rebecca Ferrell said officials will be looking specifically at season lengths and timing, and are looking for public input on the run dates of each season.
CPW uses the big-game season structure as a framework for big-game hunting regulations, she said. And, it helps officials establish what types of hunting opportunities will be available, when they will be available and where.
While the structure uses all the data and research the organization collects, officials are seeking the experience of hunters to make sure they are looking at it from all angles.
“We want to make sure we are hearing local hunters’ concerns,” Ferrell said. “We want to use the experience of on-the-ground stakeholders when we are building management strategy.”
She said it’s a lengthy process, but CPW is about at the midpoint.
CPW plans to hold public meetings, including telephone town halls and public online events in January and February. By March, officials will share feedback from public meetings and in July, officials will present the final plan to the commission for final approval.
Officials will look at what they have heard over the past five years, including questions and concerns, and adjust accordingly.
“Keep in mind that the big-game season structure won’t affect just sportsmen and women,” CPW Commissioner and Meeker resident Marie Haskett, who will be hosting next week’s meeting, said in a statement.
“If you live in the Meeker area, you know how critical hunting is to our local economy,” she said. “Everyone has a stake in this and we hope to have a good turnout.
“The more folks we hear from the better. It helps ensure we are making decisions that have public support.”
CPW will be looking specifically at the number of seasons for each species, seasonal overlaps, breaks between seasons and the dates seasons begin and end, according to the statement.
EARLY 2018 HUNTING RESULTS
While it will be a few months until CPW receives data from local hunters regarding the 2018 hunting season, last month wildlife official Perry Will said that, from what he’s heard from locals, it was a down year.
Will said he’s heard from hunters throughout the region that some of the hunting holes and favorite spots they have been using for years didn’t have the same number of big game animals pass through as they used to.
“‘My old standby spots didn’t hold the animals they used to,’ was something I heard,” he added. “It’s a reflection that game herds are reduced in numbers locally.”
Will believes drought conditions played a significant role in what is believed to have been a poor hunting season locally.
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At 7 p.m. Thursday, the Yampa River’s temperature was 72 degrees at a spot in the Chuck Lewis Wildlife Area south of Steamboat. That’s about 15 degrees higher than the typical average.