Today, we have ranching for wildlife. The total number of RFW licenses issued in 2012 was 2549. That includes cow, doe, buck and bull for moose, elk, deer, and antelope. RFW probably issues less than 10 archery licenses annually. Colorado probably gets 300,000 hunters annually. That means less than .85 of one percent hunters who hunt in Colorado use a formalized access program to hunt BIG GAME on private or landlocked public lands. .85%! By contrast, according to the last annual report on Montanas block management program - 85% of Montana's hunters use their access program! That is 100 times Colorados connect rate. At the same time, we wonder why we have recruitment and retention issues...
Are we leaders? Is less than 1% acceptable?
I could use some support for this proposal to go anywhere. Here are the meeting details, please attend if you can. RSVP is requested:
The next Northeast Region Sportsmen's Caucus meeting will take place on Tuesday, August 13, 6 p.m. at the Hunter Education building, 6060 Broadway in Denver. All sportsmen and sportswomen are invited to come discuss wildlife issues facing the region, as well as hear an educational presentation from Nathan Zelinsky, a local fishing guide who'll tackle walleye, trout, and bass fishing in the metro area.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) depends on feedback and advice from our state’s hunters and anglers to make the best decisions about the management of fish, wildlife, and habitat. In order to discuss issues and gather ideas, CPW convenes a statewide Sportsmen’s Roundtable and regional Sportsmen’s Caucus meetings. The Sportsmen’s Roundtable includes 24 people representing hunters and anglers from all over the state. The regional Sportsmen’s Caucuses are open to any local hunter and provide a forum for discussing more local issues.
The August meeting will include the following topics in addition to those brought by attendees:
-A perspective on public big game hunting access by a sportsman -Recent legislative impacts to sportsmen (Habitat Stamp, Voucher bill, gun legislation) by Steve Yamashita, northeast regional manager -Metro area fishing techniques for the shore or the boat with Nathan Zelinsky
WHAT: Northeast Region Sportsmen's Caucus
WHEN: Tuesday, August 13, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hunter Education Building, CPW, 6060 Broadway, Denver
HOW: R.S.V.P. to PIO Jennifer Churchill at email@example.com or by phone at 303-291- 7234.
How do we pay for it? ...the agency can't even FIND $30+ million or whatever the figure is these days, our hatcheries are falling apart, our wildlife areas are covered in noxious weeds and nowhere NEAR as productive as they should be, and we're told we have to swallow "status quo" on the 5-year Big Game Season Structure (even BEFORE any public meetings - which they might not even HAVE any...) because "the CPW has no money..." etc., etc. etc.
What do you propose to pay for this new program? The previous $40 permit for big game access didn't even come CLOSE to paying for itself, even though quite a few folks used it.
Again, I'll support the idea 100% - but we better have a funding mechanism READY and "IN PLACE" before the CPW even gives it the time of day!
The financials of the CDOW before the merger they were in the black and had a positive financial balance, and Co. parks Dept. was in the red and closing state parks left and right.
Now! the state parks division is in the black and the wildlife dept. is/headed into the red?(public records if anyone wants to look)It's funny how shortly after the merger the state accountants found that the CDOW had made a HUGE financial error in the tune of tens of millions of dollars?, just sounds to scandalis to me.
Of course in my opinion this BS Hickenlooper merger of the 2 state dept. was a bad idea in the first place and now the hunting/fishing community is suffering for it, evidence is already showing. Sorry, just had to vent.
I plan on being at the meeting, Thanks for putting up the info for all grasshopper.
As far as funding - I have a plug and play financial model in excel with 3 viable funding options for discussion and consideration. With the model, we can all evaluate (1) a scenario where every hunter pays a little,(2) only those who hunt the enrolled land pay, or (3)a hybrid version. I also have gone so far as a fair market value evaluation in one well respected GMU down to a specific land parcel comparing a per season access fee vs a daily access fee. I tried to look at hunter connect rates based on license quotas, across seasons, methods of take, PLO, and hunter days a field.
I believe expansion should and would require legislation. IMO though the timing is perfect and I really can't think of a valid reason anyone would oppose it.
The question I need feedback on is this: Its 2013. A round of golf costs anywhere from $30-$120 dollars. A day of skiing costs $100. You can easily drop $100 on dinner and movie with your spouse. Your kids X-box games costs a thousand dollars a year for him to sit on the couch watching a screen. How much would you pay PER DAY to take your kid, a relative or friend out hunting on lands you've always wanted to but never could? How much would you pay for a day of hunting that might just be priceless?
Would you pay $40-60 per day for access to reasonable habitat, with a reasonable expectation of opportunity at game, with an acceptable number of hunters? Would you pay more? Or would you rather every hunter pay $5 to $25 in an everyone pays model where everyone can hunt an enrolled property which may or may not require reservations prior to hunting?
I'd be glad to talk offline and share my modeling with anyone who is open to the idea. I only have 15 minutes of the agenda on Tuesday night and this is a topic I could discuss for days.
Actually, the Parks department had their "come to Jesus" meetings just prior to the merger. They started down the road of "Oh crap, what the hell do we do NOW?!?!?!" discussions – and solutions – prior to the merger.
If you look at the books, the Parks side of the equation came into the merger in MUCH better shape than the Division; something that a number of us suspected for some time before the whole merger issue came to light. It wasn't until AFTER the merger that the Division HAD to really look at their books, and the – "Oops, what is THIS?!?!?!? – happened.
I agree with you – it was, and is, utter BS! ...but if you ever had to deal with the CDOW on financials PRIOR to the merger, you know they were H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E. with their books, and knowing where $$$ went.
...when I was on the Board of Directors for the RMBS, we tried to get the $$$ figures for the Sheep and Goat Raffle funds, and it was a NIGHTMARE!!! ...it wasn't until a group of us – LITERALLY – walked in as a group, unannounced, during business hours and DEMANDED the account records (or else we'd go to the Director and the media...) that we FINALLY got any answers. Even THEN we were suspect of their numbers...
Grasshopper – good to hear! I may not be able to make the meeting, but we definitely need to talk about what you've put together! ...I'm VERY interested! ...for a while now, I've wondered why we aren't pursuing programs like KS, and GROWING wildlife!!!!!
Montana's budget doesn't come anywhere close to Colorado's and look what they have to offer to sportsmen.
I support trying to get more private access for public hunters, but until Colorado takes away OTC elk tags, lowers the % of draw tags, and 20-25% of tags for landowner vouchers from nonresidents I think its only a dream. Way too much money involved with leases & outfitting.
On the other hand you have a Parks system that bases it's income on passes and fees. One parks pass (day use or annual)per car load, or one camp site fee per camp group doesn't equate the same.
Maybe every person who visits a state park should be required to purchase a habitat stamp and pay a S&R fee to offset the maintenance costs of park facilities, fisheries and trail systems.
Half the state east of I-25 reaps a boatload of cash for DOW with their only expenditures out there being Wardens and Enforcement.
Chris, Do you have any links to the budget disparities? I searched and haven't found anything comprehensible on the matter.
Sorry about the rant above, but back to the intent of your thread. While adding $200.00 - $400.00 to a five day hunt would not dissuade some of us, you are closing the door on a lot of others.
I don't have an answer either and am really curious where this will go so please keep us posted.
Speaking of access issues, do any of you have any idea on why the National Forest sold forest lands to private enterprises that swallowed county road access to national forest land?
I.E. the Scout Camp that swallowed the public access the last half mile of CR340 in Huerfano County to access the north side of East Spanish Peak. Old maps still show the original FS boundaries and the road clearly accessed National Forest back in the day.
Keep in mind, in the existing BGAP program - youth hunt for free. Last year 660 youth hunted in program.
IMO, a mandatory nominal fee paid for a mandatory "access stamp" encourages the highest participation level, and promotes recruitment and retention of hunters to a high degree. That said, the funding level remains stagnant yet stabilized over the years and growth is will be slower.
IMO "Pay to play" was implemented for the existing BGAP program for a couple reasons. 1. It was pilot program and had uncertainty as to it's success. 2. Sportsmen for some reason preferred it. I am not certain "pay to play" is the right funding model to use on a statewide basis. That said, pay to play is easier to grow and scale. As participation grows, so does the dollar bucket to get more land access for hunters. It becomes self fulfilling, although more volatile to participation decline too. At the same time, if kids are still free - it does its part to retain and recruit hunters.
If any program growth does occur, it benefits public land hunters too. Its less crowding on public lands, and perhaps better game and hunter distribution for all.
I really have no preference about how expansion would be funded. I just hope sportsmen see the benfit, and help the CPW fund a big pile of money every year to focus solely on acquisition of BIG GAME hunter access. That is what it will ultimately take.
The CDOW still had a better financial budget even though the CDOW didn't handle their expenses/budget very well but to see a 30+ million dollar mistake? and then suddenly the parks side had tens of millions to play with, and not one state parks fee hike sence the merger? I smell a rat in this. Even with the closer of a small hand full of state parks theres no way they could have come up with that much money.
I'm deeply involved in this as I do a lot of hunting on state wildlife areas and I keep hearing from employees how things are getting cut(budgets) but the parks side increased budget expenses?.
maybe we should see about expanding bowhunting on some of the state parks properties! it would have to be very limited but well worth the effort to try. Roxborrow state park would be a great one!
Plus - we already have a mandatory fee on top of our licenses. It's called the Habitat Stamp. Rather than use it to buy Sage Grouse habitat and "preservation projects," why don't we push for an increased focus on access, and using that money to fund Walk-in Habitat Areas?
...there's already a group that evaluates property/project proposals (i.e. the Habitat Stamp Committee), there is already a line item in the evaluation sheet that ranks "access", so there's a ready-made mechanism and avenue for funding and access. All you'd need to do is convince the Commission that that's where money needs to go, so they direct the Habitat Stamp Committee to PURSUE those avenues (not just "consider" them), and then we monitor and hold accountable. Easy.
If that doesn't work, we can take the REAL easy route and go to the Legislature. Oh wait - we no longer have a Sunset clause on the Bill (which would have triggered an AUTOMATIC opportunity to bring this up) so - good luck with that!
While the bill language and the renewal of the bill includes language and much discussion about access - if your spending 6 million on the most expensive forms of real estate - you get a handful of properties annually. Again, I'm fine with it - I am a conservationist and if if the habitat stamp recruits wildlife for folks to enjoy 500 years from now - great.
What I personally would like is another separate mechanism that is SOLEY focused on the cheapest form of real estate - RENTING IT for access. If you had 6.17 million to lease at an average spend per property of 10- 15k, you get somewhere between 411-617 new properties to hunt.
In the unit I analysed, license quotas show 1/3 of the tags are PLO. It seems biologically they want 33% of the animals taken on private ground. The PLO quota is 900 tags. 900 hunters at a very conservative connect rate of 50% at even $20 a day times and average days a field of 4 is $38,000 per GMU. That is 2-3 new parcels of access per GMU. It makes financial and BIOLOGICAL sense plus it retains and recruits hunters.
I will need luck, and support. Thanks for yours.
Landowners wants vouchers, make him open his land to public hunters. That would have been a fair trade for more vouchers IMO.
If we're providing habitat and growing critters – great! ...but we need to be able to "use" what we grow and produce. Some of these properties "allow" public access, but for the cost-per-acre, it is ridiculous.
If BGAP growth rates stick around, hunting 500 years from now won't be an issue and recruitment concerns would be a thing of the past. Thats always been my objective.
I can understand that you'd like to see habitat improvements, thats a reasonable request.
The alternative is the guy could lease it to an outfitter, lock out the 1700 adults and 660 youth who hunted it last year.
As far as "rolling in the money", there seems to be this animosity out there for folks who have assets. What is his 20,000 acre ranch worth? At 1500 an acre, he owns a an asset worth 3 million dollars. If you earn $20,000 annually on a 3 million dollar asset you just made a 6/10 of a percent return on your asset not considering taxes and other expenses. If the ranch is worth 1 million dollars - its still a crappy return at 1.5% on the investment. Take that P&L into your local community bank, tell your lender you want a credit line to add some water tanks, make habitat improvements and would like a loan. He'll laugh you out the door.
We as hunters need to recognize it might seem like we're paying big bucks for access, but its still going to be a crappy return for landowners.
If I had 5 million dollars to invest, the last place I would invest it is vacant land because the investment return just sucks.
The MDC does not rely totally on the sales of hunting and fishing license to fund their program. The MDC has maintained a large deer herd and has awesome accesses to public hunting, fishing, hiking or bird watching.
Colorado has a great opportunity to generate funding through sale taxes on all sporting equipment sales. This way everyone who plays pays.
I brought this idea up several years ago to a Colorado Wildlife District Manager here in Northwest Colorado.
Gary Nichols Moffat County
20,000 acres x $1500 does not = $3,000,000
So of course the rest of your equation is wrong.
The bottom line is this...no matter what sportsmen offer to pay. It's going to be an awful return on asset for the landowner. The only hope is that our awful offer is better than next available awful offer.
See ya at the meeting Tuesday night.
I see heavy use and some public/landowner hassles as being a potential issue in Colorado simply because we have a lot of folks who want to hunt. Of course the only way to relieve pressure without limiting hunters is to add more land thats huntable, like this program would do.
We need a massive amount of land to accommodate the demand for decent hunting ground. One way for average folks to be a player in that is to pool resources and lease it with programs like this.
Another step would be changing the rules to allow hunting access on State School lands. Thats 2M+ acres in one swipe. They could still lease out the grazing, timber, oil, etc, just let me have foot access for hunting.
Also, as you mention it works in cycles. You try one thing, get frustrated, and switch. Later you might cycle back. It happens.