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CO - More Archery Elk Units now Limited
At their meeting on January 10th, the Colorado Parks & Wildlife Commission voted to expand the number of draw-only units for archery elk, while leaving the rifle elk seasons unlimited in those units. So if you'd planned to bowhunt OTC for elk in the following GMU's, be aware that you now must apply in the draw to hunt these areas. This change becomes effective for the upcoming fall season. Quota numbers remain to be seen.44, 45, 47, 444, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 78, 711, 741, 751, & 771
This will change the game and make the other units even that more crowded!!
Now we add wolves and oh my!! Hunt
Yep just as well go all draw because the otc units left will be crazy busy.
Love how the rifle hunts remain unlimited in those units....
And the fact that bowhunters will have to share every day of the season formerly known as “archery” with high power rifle hunters!
That's ridiculous, Treeline!!!
As a consolation prize I wish HH would go the way of OTC tags in 44, 45, 47, 444, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 78, 711, 741, 751, & 771.
If anyone wants to dig in and learn about this, there is info on the CO forum. If you use logic to understand if this opportunity loss will be offset by an equal or even substantial benefit to elk or elk hunting in CO. Be prepared to scratch your head a bit.
Here is a map of all the units that will be draw for archery elk in 2020. Yellow are the new ones, Red are the existing ones
Not sure of any potential benefits....???
Gun hunters get to go OTC in 2nd and 3rd like they have been. No limits there to reduce the majority of the pressure....
Definitely not going to see the quality improve there with respect to the numbers nor age class....
Maybe fewer bowhunters?
Like that was the overcrowding issue?
What about the rifle bear, rifle early buck, rifle early cow elk, muzzle loader buck and doe, muzzle loader cow and bull tags? Might they be contributing to any perceived crowding issues?
Oh, yeah that area has been having poor survival of elk calves! They are having calves but they aren’t surviving a year!
Must be the bowhunters fault!
Absolutely couldn’t have anything to do with the overpopulation of bears, lions and other predators!
They obviously need to bring in several hundred wolves to fix this issue!
Oh, that’s next:-0
So, elk populations in the SW corner have been plummeting in recent years. No one knows why, or at least I haven't seen a reasonable explanation. So, the CPW decides to limit archery hunters, who have a single digit success rate, and leave rifle unlimited? Brilliant idea. Good grief.
The rifle lobby must be throng there in CO. Limit one, limit them all in those units.
Calf recruitment has been low. Calves seem to be dropping at the right time of the year but not living to adulthood.
Gotta be them nasty bowhunters screwing up the rut!
The predators could never have anything to do with that issue! At least they won’t admit it!
Why are the elk herds in the rest of the state not experiencing this effect to anywhere near this magnitude?
The eagle county issue was 100% CPw driven. Rifle cow tags from August thru January and early rifle cow tags in September on public land... Gotta limit the bowhunters and make their tags sex specific!
Also gotta luv, luv LUV the 2 to 5 year study in the flattops that limited bowhunters but not rifle hunters. The agreement 20 years ago was that it would go back to OTC for archery after the completion of the study. Guess we bowhunters got screwed on that one, too!
With this new round, there are now 23 units that are a draw for archery but unlimited OTC rifle tags are available.
You got politicians in CPW and they know gunners spend more in state $.
Thats not hard to figger.
You spelled it wrong HH, it’s CPw! Very small “w”...
It's a tradition in CO to take opportunity away from bowhunters in an attempt to fix a problem we didnt create and limiting us wont help solve.
Looks like I better get my bang sticks dusted off and sighted in.....
That’s OK! With fewer bowhunters out there, they can add more rifle opportunities in September:-0
It's not all bad, they did reduce archery season length by a day...wait a sec...
Next make an OTC tag 1pp. That would make the whole state huntable again in September and pop the creep bubble.
As it sits, it is more of a race to the elk clown show in OTC units.
It's a joke. I'm all for improving the elk recruitment. But when you limit archery, not rifle, and then add wolves to the mix.....it's hypocritical. Colo-fornia will keep getting worse until there is no hunting or wildlife left.
I think I’ve figured out the system.
Last year the CPW pulled in $16m more in revenue just in mandating the Qualifying License. Since archery has the biggest increase, it only makes sense to mandate more qualifying licenses by creating more draw units.
More draw units = more $$$ in qualifying licenses.
So if there are less bow hunters in those units in September, then there will be less pressure on the elk, so I predict more elk will be killed in the 2nd and 3rd rifle season.
Wonder if they're going to keep point restriction in place in these new limited draw bull only units?
Not to worry, this is just the first step to all draw for archery. That will fix overcrowding in the remaining OTC units. Almost happened this fall but the Commission tabled it, for now. I predict it will happen within three years, given the attitude toward bowhunting by this current Commission.
Shoulda just done the whole state but it’s a move in the right direction
"Shoulda just done the whole state but it’s a move in the right direction"
No No No. Limiting archery and leaving rifle unlimited is not a step in the right direction.
Should’ve done it for rifle also
Good bye CO. Thank you CPw.
OTC archery elk hunts will be a thing of the past this is just another step. What do you expect with over 40000 archery elk hunters last year in Colorado. Something had to be done. We have made “bowhunting” something that everyone can do this is what you get. Controlled hunts........ I thought once we had so many archery hunters we would have more say in the season structure, I guess that isn’t working? #keephammering
I'm my opinion there are pros and cons to this. As a resident what I do like is that Colorado is moving away from being the 'last resort back up option' dumping ground for non residents who apply in every western state and don't get drawn. In fact I hope this pisses a lot of non residents off and they go somewhere else, like MT or ID, I'm good with that. The downsides are obvious, it is one day going to be a reality that a guy may not get to hunt every year. If, or should I say when all units got limited, that will fix point creep, maybe not immediately but within a few years it will. So I guess the bottom line is if I can't hunt archery every year but I can hunt every other and then in between pick up a rifle tag or a leftover, that's better than not hunting at all.
I look at it the other way. I see it like why would I want to hunt CO with a Chit Pot of others when I can bigger animals and almost zero other bow hunters in Mts on public.
In 2021 when ID changes its Regs and pricing if CO still has large OTC your going to see thousands more in CO. That's perfect. Hope they price ID's OTC right above CO tags. Hel, I can get a ID trophy unit bow tag, bull only for $32.00. Why in the heck would I ever even think about looking at 60 trucks on a western slope trail head !
Sure hope they don't mess up CO to bad so those NR folks stay in CO!
So, other forums blame improved killing ability with long range rifles, UT being the loudest, and it depleting the nose count of whatever animal.
And then you see threads asking which slider sight is best, but only for target practice and perfecting form. Yeah right, when a bull hangs up at 60 yds, just dope your [scope]...
Then we get wolves and crossbows, it's only just beginning.
I've been paying the fiddler and bow hunting Colorado for two weeks at a time since 2007 hoping for a branch antlered bull, since 2012 in the south west corner. I hunt hard, but couldn't seem to beat the wind. As far as congestion, my hunting partner and I had only seen 4 people in the woods the entire time we've hunted this area. Hell, we saw quite a few people when we hunted Mt. Zerkel wilderness. Couldn't hunt the last two years due to surgery, and hoped I could make it back this year because it has been such a quiet location, but I guess not. I'll be just shy of 76 this season, and don't know if I can start out in a new area or not, and horse hunting Zerkel is out of the question. To bad they need to play the game because It's been a great time even without filling a tag.
Depending on quotas and number of applications, you may still be able to draw your unit with no preference points. It's worth a shot before giving up on it.
Why does everyone assume that CPw will issue fewer tags in these units than the previous number of OTC hunters using these units? The CPw wants to reduce cow harvest so they likely will estimate the current number of OTC hunters in the units and issue a similar number (or more) of bull tags.
So I wouldn't look forward to less hunting pressure in these units and I wouldn't assume it will be hard to get a tag. I have a feeling there will be boatloads of leftover tags in these units and all will be available as 2nd choices. It would be foolish of anyone to burn points by using a 1st choice on any of these units.
CPW listed two reasons.:
1. Ability to reduce cow harvest
2. Reduce archery crowding
Its logical to assume that means reducing hunters numbers from current OTC numbers in these units. To have a noticeable effect, I would guess that would need to be 20%-30% less hunters.
If they keep the same number of hunters, we lost opportunity and flexibility for nothing. We weren't taking enough cows to be the fix for reason #1.
I'm curious how the CPW tracks hunter numbers in any unlimited OTC unit? OTC tag sales in any specific unit wouldn't necessarily reflect hunter numbers in those units. And we all know not all hunters bother to fill out the optional year-end surveys. Do they do actual field head counts in every unit per season?
I believe it's a guess based on the surveys.
What the hell did you guys who shoot 50, 60, 70, and 80 yards expect!? More days to hunt and greater opportunities!?
cnelk hit the nail on the head. Its all about the money..............
Grey Ghost is right. They won't reduce tag numbers. They don't even know how many bowhunters they had last year in each unit.
“Ability to reduce cow tags”
From what?? The spattering of cow archers take each year? Or the couple hundred from rifle season?
In 2019 there were 80 cow tags issued for 1st Rifle season for GMus 71,72,73,711
For 2nd & 3rd Rifle season, there were 51 cow tags issued for GMU 71
For 2nd & 3rd Rifle season, there were 42 cow tags issued for GMU 72
For 2nd & 3rd Rifle season, there were 8 cow tags issued for GMU 73
For 2nd & 3rd Rifle season, there were 42 cow tags issued for GMU 711
Cnelk What’s crazy is comparing the number of cow tags given out to the number of elk that Wolf would have killed in those units if they were populated and good numbers...That is staggering!
What's even more crazy is CO resident archery elk tags remained constant at $45 for over a decade until the recent $8 increase, while non-resident tags climbed dramatically over that same timeframe. Yet, non-residents seem to have little problem with that, based on tag sales, while resident hunters balk at any more increases. Perhaps cheap resident hunters are their own worse enemies.
Long distance shooting hasn't changed the success rate. There's a perception that more bowhunters have impacted the rifle success rate, but so many variables - all the other crap going on in the woods in September, plus the aging of rifle hunters making them less energetic than they used to be.
And in many places, the early season elk migration to big private ranches is very real.
Wait til you get wolves. Big ranches in east central MT , once wolves came drove elk in huge herds onto private where dogs get dead. Dogs will only hunt night then, and once shot at at night they light out for other hunt grounds.
Those big west slope herds will pile onto private like never seen when the dogs get established.
Different hunt game then, rifle or bow. One need only talk to MT hunters from up by Kalispell with grizz and dogs
Matt, if I remember correctly, Colorado bowhunters, at least members of the CBA supported, and other I know, have supported a resident elk license increase, not balked at all, an increase. my best, Paul
That may be true, Paul, but the majority of resident hunters were opposed to even minor increases.
Think two things keep residents from supporting increases aside from just general opposition to paying more for anything.
1. Many believe that hunting has been declining in CO.. Harder to get limited tags, more other methods of take during archery, complicated regs and draw systems, harder land access, etc.. Paying more for something that they perceive as getting worse is unattractive.
2. Distrust that paying more will result any positive impact. Most hunters I know doubt that paying more for tags will result in any noticeable positive impact on opportunities.
If that’s true, Glunt, then residents have no room to complain about non-residents who have funded all of the inflationary increases in management costs for decades.
Residents paid $45 for an elk tag in 2006, now they pay $53. Meanwhile non-residents have seen their tag prices climb from $400-something to over $625 in that timeframe. And they seem more than willing to pay it.
I just don't get it. Many of the guys who whine the loudest about the price of resident tags don't bat an eye at spending that much for a meal at a nice restaurant. I'm realistic enough to know that CO will never have the quality of hunting we had in our youth, mostly because our population has quadruped in that timeframe. At least Colorado had the foresight to designate a few non-populated areas where old-timers like myself (hopefully this year) can enjoy world-class DIY elk hunting that is arguably better than it ever was been. I'd gladly pay 3 times the price for that opportunity.
Maybe they could price the tags on a scale. Like you pay the base price of $53. If you get an OTC or a zero point unit, you pay $53. Then add a multiplier of $10 per preference point needed to draw the unit. So, when you draw unit 2 with your 23 points, you have to pay an additional $230 for the tag. This lets guys like me, who just want to kill and eat an elk, get to hunt for a fair price. The trophy hunters can pay up for their uncrowded, quality hunt and pass on 340" bulls all day. We can do the same with deer. I agree with what was said above, I'm not willing to pay more for less. Also, I live here, I shouldn't have to pay as much as someone who doesn't. Nothing wrong with nonresidents paying up to come here when they don't draw anywhere else.
Can't really explain better than Glunt did above. Agree completely.
The biggest change I've noticed in SW Colorado is bear sign and sightings the pass 25 years. There's plenty of hunters but a lot of them are driving the roads in them new side by sides.
My time is limited so I will shoot any legal elk I can and will miss having a opportunity at a cow but good with what works best for the herd, except reintroduction of the wolf.
HH is probably rubbing off on me but I hope this new revenue is not to pay for bringing in the wolf plus footing the bill for depradation fees that come with it.
Good to see more limited units can't wait!!!
The CPW reports that the southwest herd is running at a 20% calf crop. I assume number is winter counts. Does anyone know what percentage of calves are actually born and are they born at the right time to survive? If so, can you link an article that shows these numbers?
CPW states that they have ruled out predators as the main cause of mortality after birth, but I have a real problem accepting that. Also, If a substantial number of calves are born late, therefore less likely to survive, then hunters disrupting the rut would be a real possibility. If most are still born at the correct time to survive, then lowering hunter numbers to not disrupt the rut is bogus
I think all the people out shed hunting in the spring are stressing the cow elk causing them to abort.
Ban shed hunting!!!
I still want to know how they are going to know what numbers of tags to allocate. They have no idea how many people were hunting these units OTC. So I'm not sure how they are going to determine if their number is actually a decrease.
If the reason for the change, lack of calf survival, is the real reason, which I doubt, I am calling BS that predators are not the cause. The area of unit 70 where I have hunted several years is overrun with bear. I have not hunted bear, but could have had slam dunk archery shots on over ten bear over six archery elk hunts. This is not to mention many many other sightings during those hunts. I would like less crowded hunting, but in my opinion, the fix for the problem is bogus.
I went to a lot of meetings when CPw “sustainability” was being discussed. I did not support the resident license increases based on:
1. Colorado was already making more on hunting license sales than any 2 western states and the highest revenue in the USA for hunting license sales.
2. The license price increases were focused on hunters when the major cost items that CPw provided were issues that had nothing to do with hunting (fish hatcheries and dams). Although fishing licenses went up $8, every hunting license increased by at least $8 (some much more!) and in this state you need a separate license for every species.
3. There was no accountability in the bill to make ANY improvements to big game herd numbers, public access, or reduction in hunter pressure.
4. There was no accountability in the bill for the CPw to reduce expenses and work within a budget.
5. No additional restrictions to nonresident hunters was allowed.
6. Colorado resident hunters already paid more than most other states when looking at hunting license prices for multiple species.
Typical backwards bureaucracy think. Raise taxation with no focus on control of spending.
CPw did and does not have a revenue problem, they have a spending problem.
On the calf recruitment issue in the SW:
Cow elk are getting bred in the September breeding season at normal rates.
They are having calves when they are supposed to.
Elk calves are not living through the year to become adults.
SW Colorado has very high bear and lion populations.
Bears and lions eat elk.
Obviously, bowhunters are disrupting the rut and causing all the calves to die 9 or 10 months after the cows are bred...
If CPW really wanted to help the elk herd they need to limit all the seasons. Set specific tag numbers, make harvest reporting mandatory and start getting some real data. Right now they have no idea how many guys are hunting specific OTC units and they also don't know exactly how many elk are being taken.
"I still want to know how they are going to know what numbers of tags to allocate. They have no idea how many people were hunting these units OTC. So I'm not sure how they are going to determine if their number is actually a decrease?"
They're gonna wait till all the applications are in this year for those units. Then they'll decide in May how many tags they give out. You are right they have no clue how many hunters is too many. What's gonna throw a wrench in all of it will be all the residents that try to draw the tag 2nd choice cause they are building points for some other place. Will they just give their whole quota to non residents who put in for 1st choice? Or will they just revenue grab and issue as many tags as necessary for this first year?
Your also forgetting all the guys who won't put in because they think it's still OTC. You laugh but how many times have we seen people complaining they didn't know about changes when they have been advertised to death.
Also if I remember correctly the geniuses at CPw gave out another 90 muzzleloader tags for 77/78 last year. The previous year they gave out 150 last year it was 240. They didn't care about overcrowding then! In the same units they gave out 150,70 and 50 rifle cow tags respectively for 2nd,3rd and 4th rifle. Way more cows than what's harvested by archery hunters in those units.
So basically none of their numbers make sense to accomplish what they say they want to accomplish. Typical government bureaucracy.
How many guys do you think will people run into in those units this year hunting on an OTC tag? I am betting a lot of people will just buy a tag and not even realize it is a draw down there now.
That is certainly a possibility especially with a lack of enforcement down here
I believe you, but can you post a link to data that supports your statements?
A friend has a trail cam that captured 2 lions in broad daylight about a mile from my cabin in southwest Colorado. I have never seen a cat in the wild, but I know they have seen me many times!
CPW: Bears are not the problem (wink, wink), but we decided to lower bear tags for NRs from $450 to $100 just because.
The tags also increased from 250 to over 600 in the units I hunt down here for the limited September season. But your right we don't have a bear problem (wink wink)
"1. Colorado was already making more on hunting license sales than any 2 western states and the highest revenue in the USA for hunting license sales."
Perhaps that has something to do with total hunter numbers?
"2. The license price increases were focused on hunters when the major cost items that CPw provided were issues that had nothing to do with hunting (fish hatcheries and dams). Although fishing licenses went up $8, every hunting license increased by at least $8 (some much more!) and in this state you need a separate license for every species."
Perhaps that has to do with the fact that they also manage all of the state parks too?
"3. There was no accountability in the bill to make ANY improvements to big game herd numbers, public access, or reduction in hunter pressure."
When has there ever been accountability for CPW decisions?
"4. There was no accountability in the bill for the CPw to reduce expenses and work within a budget."
See my response to #3.
"5. No additional restrictions to nonresident hunters was allowed."
Tell your resident hunting buddies to release their purse strings. That's the only way the CPW will reduce NR hunters.
"6. Colorado resident hunters already paid more than most other states when looking at hunting license prices for multiple species."
Besides Montana, name one state with lower resident elk tag prices than CO.
"Typical backwards bureaucracy think. Raise taxation with no focus on control of spending. CPw did and does not have a revenue problem, they have a spending problem."
So, you have specific knowledge of CPW budgets and how they spend their revenues from tag sales? If so, do share. If not, quit speculating.
Limited archery and OTC rifle is ridiculous!
"Tell your resident hunting buddies to release their purse strings. That's the only way the CPW will reduce NR hunters." Do you really believe they will reduce NR hunters? Or will they just rake in more money? My bet is that they will just laugh at our willingness to feed the pigs, take our money, and continue to take the money from as many nonresidents that will give it up.
Colorado's fees for elk tags is cheaper then most if not all Western States for nonresidents
You can spin something like NR tag costs just about any way you want to. For instance, Colorado also probably has the lowest success rate of any of the states (lowest value) and sells more than twice the numbers. So just depends on which side of the coin you are on.
Well the success rate would be better if it wasn't an unlimited free for all on a limited resource
I absolutely agree! I am going to be OK when they limit all elk hunting.
But residents generally want low RES prices AND limited NR tags. The higher the NR price, the less likely that will happen. CPW will be cutting their own throat financially if they do that. So by letting NR prices get so high, you have essentially killed that option
NR prices aren't high at all.
WY Special draw for NR general is almost $1500 now, including the two PPs required, habitat stamp, etc, etc.. And they all get sold and point creep continues.
CO's NR elk price is ridiculously cheap in the grand scheme, but as we all know, CO CPW is all about quantity (of hunters) vs quality of hunting.
Like I've said Colorado needs to go all limited with a straight 80/20 resident non resident split and adjust the prices accordingly on both sides. Also implement mandatory harvest data and get some real numbers to manage the elk properly.
I really am tired of this particular topic, but any price increase(other than annual CPI) has to be done by the legislature.
We just passed a legislative fee increase, NO LEGISLATORS like to pass fee increases, it makes it harder to get re-elected. The one thing ALL Colorado voters regularly vote against is tax increases and increased fees. Our legislators can't figure out basics like how to fix roads, & other simple stupid crap. The legislature would rather steal CPW's money than give them more.
The fee increase did include a bunch of things that CPW is supposed to do. Public access is one. My concern is they will lease up hunting rights to some already ag leased overgrazed state lands for a buck an acre and call it good rather than get elk property west of I-25 for the elk. Sportsman need to apply pressure to get it done, and bowsite bickering ain't going to do squat.
As far as hunter decline, with another million or so people moving here I can't see resident demand dropping anytime soon. We also have millions and millions of NR's that will come. We have sold ~225,000 annual elk licenses since 2000.
On looming statewide limitations, we lose 3 commissioners in June. Who knows what nonhunters will be appointed next. McDaniel is currently the vice chairman, and will assume chairmanship. He favors total limitations and wants to start the discussion which will likely take over a year and will look at financial impacts. Elk alone is 50 million a year income. In the meantime, we may see a legislative bill to change the makeup of the wildlife commission. Imagine instead of 11 commissioners, having 20 to 30 with all kinds of environmental and anti-hunters represented! Remember, the first gentleman is an animal welfarist, and we have a welfare caucus now. They are running a puppy mill bill right NOW, and the anti's constantly complain about no representation. We can't fix roads, but let's regulate dog breeders? HSUS testified this month opposing increased quotas for bears and lions, and lost. When they lose they have remedies including a democrat controlled legislature, the governor, and ballot initiatives. Be scared!
The only solution I see is to join a conservation org, volunteer, get involved and apply pressure. The good ole days will be gone for good if you don't. I miss 1986, but it is gone for good.
Why doesn't the annual CPI increase apply to resident tag prices, like it does to non-resident? Didn't resident elk tags remain constant at $45 for over a decade, while non-resident tags continued to climb?
I understand how politics and tax or fee increases work. It just seems to me that cheap resident hunters want it both ways.....cheap tags AND fewer non-residents. Ain't gonna happen.
Good post, Orion.. I agree completely.
1987-88 was it for this guy.
If (when) Colorado goes 100% limited for all methods:
Unit XYZ = 100 tags
-20% landowners = 80 tags left
65% resident tags = 52
52% of total tags for residents in the draw is too low for me to support.
The cpi increase does now apply to residents. The commission has to pass the increase annually, it is not automatic for res or nr's. Will they add it on this year? I don't know, they just made millions on points and qualifiers.
We probably should be worried about ballot intiatives for wolves, lions, and bears. Hsus is the real enemy.
Last commission meeting a lady got up and asked to ban the use of dogs for lions because she walks her dog and does not want to be attacked by a lion. That is the logic folks have.
Why would those percentages necessarily stay the same, Glunt?
I would support a limited draw, across the board for archery and rifle, with a change to those percentages to go along with it.
Steve, God bless you for your efforts. If I heard that type of logic expressed, I think I'd lose composure and say something I regretted.
Based on the past, my only guess is that percentages would get worse for residents. If they want to change the percentages to something more acceptable first, then I'm on board.
We have units that qualify for moving to the 80:20 split due to high demand but the Commission doesn't want to include them. I have no reason to believe they would reduce nonresident percentages anywhere in the future.
He!!, the whole state might as well be draw now...
I'm in favor of this area going draw!!!
It also provides a link to a survey that will begin Feb 4.
Wondering if they do minutes at the meetings and post on line .
I would love to hear their justification on the rifle tags.
How many of you think these units going draw has nothing to do with the elk numbers declining? I think the CPW has visions of a cash cow and after a test run last year knows it will work. All applicants for the limited draw have to buy a qualifying license. If I understand what I have read, they are only going to come up with the number of license available for the new draw units after the draw deadline. That will make determining the number of tags easy. They see how many applied and that just happens to the number available. No reduction in tags and a big increase in $. I would not be surprised if there are left-over tags for these units as well. They don't want to let all of those NR $ get away. After all CPW will need the $ for pay for wolves damage to livestock.