Colorado considers changes to deer and elk license allocation

Colorado considers changes to deer and elk license allocation
Photo credit: Dreamstime

If you hunt in Colorado, listen up: Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is currently considering changes that could impact future big game hunting opportunities. These changes include how nonresident and resident elk and deer licenses are allocated, preference points, weighted points and over-the-counter (OTC) elk license distribution. The agency is currently collecting public feedback via a 10-question big game form available here through Nov. 22, 2021.

CPW’s timeline is as follows:

  • Through Nov. 22, CPW will gather public feedback online.
  • From February through March 2022, resident and nonresident hunters will be randomly selected to participate in a Big Game Attitude Survey as well as small focus group meetings. 
  • From May through June 2022, CPW will host stakeholder workshops and public meetings to review and discuss proposed changes and strategies.
  • From September through November 2022, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will consider the proposed policy and regulatory changes will possible opportunity for further public comments.

According to the agency, the commission “requested consideration and review of these topics,” which are separate from the big game season structure process, “due to their complexity as well as ongoing interest from numerous stakeholders.” If approved, the changes would likely go into effect for the 2023 big game seasons.

Per CPW, here are the specific items being considered:

  • Resident/nonresident elk and deer license allocation. Currently, for the majority of hunt codes, the proportion of elk and deer licenses allocated to residents is 65%, with 35% allocated to nonresidents. For high-demand deer and elk hunt codes, defined as those hunt codes requiring an average of six or more resident preference points in the time period from 2007-2009, license allocation is 80% to residents and 20% to nonresidents. 
  • Preference points. Due to increasing interest and application rates over time, certain high-demand big game hunts require an increasing number of preference points to draw (referred to as “point creep”). Currently, CPW offers a hybrid draw to allow individuals who have five or more preference points to enter a random drawing for elk, deer, antelope and bear hunts that require 10 or more preference points to draw.
  • Weighted points. Weighted points are used for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose draws. Weighted points increase the odds of drawing over time but do not guarantee an applicant will draw within a certain timeframe. In addition, it is still possible for an applicant with fewer weighted points to draw before applicants with a greater number of weighted points. 
  • OTC elk licenses. Currently, OTC licenses are not restricted in quantity, but are restricted to certain game management units, seasons, and manners of take. They are available for purchase without going through the draw and do not use preference points. CPW could review whether these licenses should continue to be sold for archery and rifle elk hunts, and/or explore limits tailored to resident/nonresident OTC license allocation.

If you want to make your voice heard, please go here to fill out the public comment form by Nov. 22, 2021.


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