Letter to the Editor: Submit comments on the Colorado big game management plan

David A. Lien
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

For over 20 years I’ve had the privilege of hunting, hiking, climbing, fishing and floating Colorado’s vast expanse of public lands and waters, including some 8.3 million acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Colorado’s public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management are home to some of the nation’s largest migratory deer and elk herds. These lands, marked generally by low-lying canyons and dry hills, also sustain a greater abundance of big game species important to hunters.

However, Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff recently provided the Parks and Wildlife Commission with an update on the state’s big game populations and the agency’s recommendations for big game hunting season license numbers. For the 2022 season, Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommended 1,400 fewer pronghorn licenses, 500 fewer deer licenses and 800 fewer limited elk tags in total compared to last year.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s presentation noted that the state’s total offering of antlerless elk licenses is now less than half of what it was at its peak in 2004. Since then, the number of antlerless elk tags has decreased by 68,000, while the number of people applying for all types of elk tags has increased by 50,000. And some elk herds are simply dying off, with their preferred habitats being increasingly overrun by year-round recreationists.

Which is why our Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers chapter was pleased to hear that the Colorado Bureau of Land Management has initiated a Big Game Resource Management Plan Amendment process. The agency will amend some of its land management plans so they reflect the best-available science on big game behavior and needs. The Bureau of Land Management is accepting community feedback on its proposed scope for this planning process until Sept. 2, 2022. You can submit your comments and learn more about the process online.

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