Colorado Wildlife Commission July Meeting Recap-Colorado DNR
Hunting- The Colorado Wildlife Commission held its July meeting in Grand Junction on Thursday, July 14 and Friday, July 15. The Wildlife Commission is an eleven-member board appointed by the governor. The commission sets Division of Wildlife (DOW) regulations and policies for hunting, fishing, watchable wildlife, and non-game, threatened and endangered species.
Small Game and Waterfowl
Commissioners adopted final regulations regarding small game and waterfowl hunting. One change results in pheasant and quail seasons opening a week earlier each year, on the second Saturday in Nov.
Regulations for hunting white winged and Eurasian collared doves were established and added to the regulations covering the hunting of mourning doves. The two species are found in Colorado, but were previously not covered through hunting regulations.
Waterfowl hunters could see some changes this coming fall and winter, but Wildlife Commissioners chose to hold off on setting new duck and coot season dates. Commissioners were presented with a staff recommendation and a citizen petition for alternative dates. The waterfowl season dates will be discussed further at the Commission's Aug. workshop in Alamosa.
House Bill 05-1266
Commissioners also discussed draft regulations necessary to implement House Bill 05-1266, which raised certain license fees, established the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp, and funds the Wildlife Public Education Advisory Council. The legislation was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Owens earlier this year. In order for the measure to take effect on Jan. 1, 2006, Commissioners will adopt final regulations at their Sept. meeting.
2006-2010 Fishing Regulations
As part of a standard five-year review, the Wildlife Commission also heard staff recommendations on draft fishing regulations that will take effect next January. The draft regulations were discussed and moved forward for final consideration at the Sept. Wildlife Commission meeting. A discussion regarding walleye, saugeye, and sauger management was laid over to the Aug. Commission workshop.
Ranching for Wildlife
The Ranching for Wildlife (RFW) Review Committee presented a draft report to the Wildlife Commission regarding recommendations for the future of the program. RFW was established by the DOW in the 1980s to give Colorado resident sportsmen the opportunity to hunt on more than a million acres of private land. The program gives large landowners incentives (such as big game licenses for family, friends, or sale) in exchange for allowing public hunters on their land. Over time, concerns were raised about some elements of the program. In Feb., the DOW established the RFW Review Committee to completely analyze the program and develop recommendations for enhancements.
Initial committee recommendations include a possible name change for the program, mandatory requirements for meeting big game population objectives, more public education, and standards for in-season hunting pressure on member ranches.
Committee members were asked to gather public comment on the draft recommendations and compile a final recommendation that can be considered by the Wildlife Commission in Aug. and possibly adopted as early as Sept. A copy of the draft committee recommendations is available on-line at wildlife.state.co.us/ranching/review.asp.
Big Game Hunting License Allocation
A committee that has been examining big game license allocations also provided Wildlife Commissioners with an update. The Big Game License Allocation Working Group (LAWG) has developed draft recommendations that address how Colorado allocates licenses between landowners, resident and non-resident hunters, youth hunters, and other groups. A series of public meetings has been scheduled around the state to explain current allocations and expand on recommendations from the LAWG.
LAWG public meetings will be held, beginning at 7 p.m., at the following times and locations:
July 19th – Hunter Education Classroom, 4255 Sinton Road, Colorado Springs
July 20th – Otero Junior College, 2001 San Juan Ave, La Junta
July 21st – Ramada Inn, US Hwy 6 & I-76, Sterling
July 26th – Monte Vista Coop, 1901 East Hwy 160, Monte Vista
July 27th – DOW Hunter Education Classroom, 6060 Broadway, Denver
August 2nd – Fellowship Hall, Montrose Fairgrounds, 1001 N 2nd Street, Montrose
August 3rd – Doubletree Hotel, 743 Horizon Drive, Grand Junction
August 4th – Shadow Mountain Village, 1055 County Rd. 7, Craig
Public comments will be compiled by working group committee members and a final recommendation will be drafted for Wildlife Commission consideration in Sept. Some of the LAWG recommendations may also require statute changes, which would require approval from the Colorado General Assembly.
"Ranching for Wildlife and license allocation are passionate issues and these committees have fought through some hard issues to come up with some thoughtful and balanced suggestions,” said DOW Director Bruce McCloskey.
Wildlife Commissioners thanked the members of both committees for the work that has been completed thus far.
Upcoming Wildlife Commission Meetings
The Wildlife Commission will hold a workshop on Aug. 11 in Alamosa. The next formal Wildlife Commission meeting will be held in Sept. in Lamar. Wildlife Commission meetings and worshops are open to the public. Agendas for the Wildlife Commission meetings are available on-line at www.wildlife.state.co.us/wildlifecommission/index.asp.
Source: Colorado DNR
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