The 2019 Colorado big game draw results are now available for elk, deer, moose and bear. And by now, all applicants should have received an email revealing your Colorado big game license fate (results can also be found by logging into your account at CPWshop.com). If you successfully drew your license, you’re probably daydreaming about your upcoming hunt. However, for many of us – me included – luck was simply not in the numbers this year. But fear not! Failing to draw a limit license does not mean that you won’t be hunting big game in Colorado this year. Trust me, there is a lot of positive in that negative-sounding statement.
Not drawing a big game limited license (or didn’t apply) can actually be a good thing. Sometimes the challenge of finding a new hunting area is just what’s needed to add a new sense of adventure to your hunting routine.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s 5-Year Big Game Season Structure is close to being finalized, but there is still time to add your valuable input to the process. Public input is a crucial part of the planning process and up to this point, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has heard from several thousand hunters, both residents and non-residents, who have shared feedback in public meetings, telephone town halls, focus groups, and the initial public comment form. This valuable feedback has aided Colorado Parks and Wildlife in developing recommendations and alternatives for the 2020-2024 Big Game Season Structure. And in July, a 5-Year Big Game Season Structure proposal will be presented to the Parks and Wildlife Commission for final approval. But before that happens, there are still two important opportunities for hunters to participate in the planning process.
Calling a turkey is much different than being called a turkey. In fact, it’s much harder to call a turkey than I ever dreamed because the birds are really smart.
Thanks to what we learned about the wild, upland ground bird in our Rookie Sportsman Program (RSP) classes in April, my daughter, Natalie, and I have a much deeper appreciation for wild turkey and are more excited than ever as we prepare to go seek them out on what will be our first-ever turkey hunt.
As Colorado’s private and public forests recover from insect and disease outbreaks and other disturbances, humans and wildlife are adjusting to significant environmental changes. Spruce beetle and mountain pine beetle outbreaks may have changed the way you recreate, but have you thought about how wildlife are responding?
I drew my elk tag for muzzleloader in 2018, this was the first time using a muzzleloader for elk. Got this guy on the second day of the season, after not hearing or seeing an elk on the first day. The day started out great. When we got to our hunting area there were elk bugling all around us. I harvested my elk around 12 noon, after stalking him into the timber and finding him feeding with some cows. An 85 yd shot. First time hunting unit 14.
My daughter Natalie’s attention had drifted occasionally during the early morning hours of the Hunter Education class, but she perked up noticeably as the instructor spoke of how to mask your scent with elk urine.
Every year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) big-game biologists compile data on the state’s deer, elk and pronghorn herds by Data Analysis Units (DAU). These DAUs encompass several of the Game Management Units (GMU) that hunters are more familiar with.
A primary tool used in the management of Colorado’s big-game animals is a limit, or quota, on the number of licenses issued in most game management units (GMUs). When applying for a limited license, a preference point is awarded when an individual is unsuccessful in drawing their first-choice hunt code. Preference points provide a mathematical advantage when applied to future drawings.
Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) Programs Spreading Nationwide
Today, roughly 11.5 million Americans hunt in a country of 320 million people, according to American Hunter magazine. This means that less than 5% of people in the U.S. hunt. From 2006 to 2016, 1 million Americans stopped hunting. The Aspen Times stated in a 2007 article that the number of people hunting in Colorado decreased 24 percent from 1991 to 2006. In a Colorado Hunter article titled “Hunting is for Girls,” the author pointed out that the average hunter in Colorado is a 55-year-old white male. In other words, the clock is ticking.
The release of Colorado’s Sheep & Goat and Big Game brochures brings the promise and excitement of new hunting seasons. With over-the-counter maps, hunt codes, season dates and fees, the brochures confirm that what we’ve done in the past is still available, aid us in finding new opportunities and help support a strategy to secure a license for the upcoming seasons. Most years, we dive in with purpose, flipping to the sections that we know will help us get the job done (or scrolling if you’re looking at the brochures online). I caution you – do not take that approach this year!