The Parks and Wildlife Commission will establish license numbers for most big game species for the 2012 hunting season and consider a petition to allow rock climbing at the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery during its monthly meeting in Grand Junction on May 10.
During the meeting commissioners will also be asked to set or modify property regulations at several state wildlife areas and formalize an annual tradition of granting military veterans free admission to state parks on Veterans Day. The meeting will be held at the Courtyard Marriott, located at 765 Horizon Drive in Grand Junction.
Colorado remains a destination for big-game hunters from across the world and May is the month when the commission sets limited license numbers for deer, elk, black bear, moose and pronghorn for the upcoming hunting seasons. CPW biologists estimate the state’s post-hunt elk population at slightly more than 265,000, which is the largest herd anywhere in North America. With an estimated 418,000 deer and 71,000 pronghorn to boot, Colorado offers hunters a wide array of options for season, species and method of take.
For 2012, wildlife managers recommend a quota of 139,000 limited elk licenses, which represents a drop of about 2 percent from 2011. With elk herds in parts of the state nearing objective, biologists are adjusting license numbers to maintain population levels. Wildlife managers are proposing a quota of 80,000 deer licenses and 24,000 pronghorn licenses, which also represent slight declines. Meanwhile licenses for the state’s growing moose population are recommended to rise by 12 percent, while bear licenses will jump by 25 percent, as managers look to stabilize growing bruin populations in many hunt units.
Commissioners will also receive an informational presentation on a proposal to open a limited hunting season on sandhill cranes in northwestern Colorado and consider changes to property-specific activity regulations at several state wildlife areas.
Also on the agenda is consideration of a citizen petition to allow rock climbing at the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery. In January, commissioners first discussed a request by the Rifle Climbers Coalition and the Boulder-based Access Fund to open the lower portion of Box Canyon on the Rifle Falls State Fish Hatchery to recreational rock climbing. Commissioners deferred action on the petition to allow time for staff evaluation.
Commissioners are scheduled to vote on a proposal to implement provisions of a law passed in 2011 granting free admittance for military veterans to state parks on one day each year. The change formalizes an annual tradition of the former Parks Board, which voted each year to provide veterans free entry to state parks each November 11 to commemorate Veterans Day.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is a 14-member board, appointed by the governor, which sets regulations and policies for Colorado’s state parks wildlife programs. To view the complete agenda for the May Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting, please see the commission web page: http://wildlife.state.co.us/ParksWildlifeCommission/Archives/2012/Pages/May10-11_2012.aspx.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission meets monthly and travels to communities around the state to facilitate public participation in its processes. For the remainder of 2012, the commission will travel to Craig, Sterling, Gunnison, Glenwood Springs, Durango, Yuma and Colorado Springs.
Members of the public who are unable to attend Parks and Wildlife Commission meetings or workshops can listen to the proceedings through an Internet link. The commission provides this opportunity to keep constituents better informed about the development of regulations and how it is working with Parks and Wildlife staff to guide the management of parks, wildlife and outdoor recreation programs.
To access the live audio feed during the meeting, click on the “listen to live audio” link at the bottom of the commission webpage at:http://wildlife.state.co.us/ParksWildlifeCommission/Pages/Commission.aspx.