On Thursday, Nov. 13, the Colorado Wildlife Commission approved regulations for the 2009 fishing and turkey hunting seasons with minimal changes.
The Commission also adjusted fees for non-resident big game hunting licenses that by statute increase along with the Consumer Price Index, which rose by 3.7 percent in the past year.
The 2009 spring turkey seasons runs April 11-26 or April 27-May 17; depending on the unit. The 2009 fall season runs Sept. 1 through Oct. 5.
Commissioners voted to open GMU 101 to limited either-sex fall turkey hunting, establish private-land-only spring turkey licenses in GMU 102 and open GMU 138 to limited spring and fall turkey hunting. Colorado offers over-the-counter turkey licenses or limited licenses based on population estimates within each unit.
Beginning in 2009, anglers will be limited in the number of mountain whitefish they can take from the upper Yampa River drainage. The daily bag limit will be four fish with a total possession limit of eight. There are no bag or possession limits on mountain whitefish anywhere else in the state.
Commissioners were briefed on a number of proposed changes to the 2009 big game hunting seasons. Among the new proposals were suggestions for new seasons for bighorn sheep in Glenwood Canyon and Mount Zirkel, and closing bighorn sheep hunting in Taylor Canyon. Other issues included a proposal for a new moose season on the Grand Mesa and a statewide mandatory check of harvested moose. Other topics included expanding elk management hunting seasons to reduce crop damage in the San Luis Valley, modifications to Private Land Hunting (PLO) seasons in certain areas to address herd management, game damage and changes to the hunting season dates in Fort Carson. Final actions on the proposals are scheduled for the January Commission meeting in Denver.
Commissioners were also briefed on a proposed regulation change to allow the Division of Wildlife director to enact emergency closures on Division-controlled properties to protect wildlife or habitat in addition to his current authority relative to public safety.
Commissioners also heard information on a proposal to remove the bald eagle from the state threatened species list. A citizen petition for rulemaking was heard, asking the Commission to expand the seasonal closures on shed-antler collection within the Upper Gunnison River Basin to protect Gunnison sage-grouse.
Division of Wildlife (DOW) staff gave a presentation regarding the five-year Review of Big Game Hunting Season Structure. Colorado’s current five-year Big Game Hunting Season Structure expires at the end of the 2009 hunting seasons. Members of the public who wish to submit comments regarding the Big Game Hunting Seasons can do so on the DOW Web site at www.wildlife.state.co.us.
The Colorado Wildlife Commission is an 11-member board appointed by the governor. The Commission sets DOW regulations and policies for hunting, fishing, watchable wildlife, nongame, threatened and endangered species. The Commission also oversees DOW land purchases and property regulations.