Wildlife Commission receives nomination for ‘totally limited local elk season’

If former Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) Director John Mumma has his way, elk hunters will soon have to enter a lottery and successfully draw a license to hunt anywhere between the Animas River and Wolf Creek Pass.

Via e-mail on March 5, Mumma asked the Colorado Wildlife Commission (CWC) to, “Please accept this nomination for DAU (Data Analysis Unit) E-31 for a totally limited elk season.”

As defined by the commission, a DAU is a geographic area representing the year-round range of a specific big game herd, including all of its seasonal ranges. A DAU typically encompasses several Game Management Units (GMUs), while a few contain just one.

DAU E-31 spans an area bordered on the north by the Continental Divide, the south by the New Mexico state line, the east by Wolf Creek Pass, and the west by the Animas River.

Though DAU E-31 embodies GMUs 75, 751, 77, 771 and 78, Mumma’s notice of intent to nominate it for limited draw cites GMUs 77, 771, 78 and 76, the latter of which is part of another DAU (E-34) altogether, and is already limited. By press time, Mr. Mumma had not returned calls and it remained unclear whether his exclusion of GMUs 75 and 751 and the inclusion of GMU 76 were intentional, or simple oversights.

According to the DOW Web site, Mumma had to notify the agency by Feb. 28 of his intent to submit a nomination. Nevertheless, the agency has apparently accepted his notice and will now allow him until May 1 to complete the nomination application.

For the CWC to consider an application, it must contain a completed 2010 Limited Elk Nomination Form, including a proposed bull/cow objective or other DAU management objective. Documented public support for the nomination, and verification that all major interest groups have received a copy of the completed nomination form must also be provided. 

The CWC says it will evaluate nominations based on public consent for the management change, and its potential for supporting the proposed management objective. The commission will take public comment on nominations between June and September 2009, with a decision likely by its Colorado Springs meeting, Sept. 10-11.

As nominations are approved, DOW wildlife biologists will draft new DAU plans or amendments for the affected areas. At its January 2010 meeting, the CWC will adopt limited license quotas for the 2010 hunting season.

Hunters with questions, concerns or an opinion regarding this nomination or other big game hunting issues should consider attending one of two public meetings now scheduled by the DOW. The first will take place this evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Dolores Public Lands Center, 29211 U.S. 84, in Dolores. The second will be between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Monday (April 27), in the south conference room of the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

chuck@pagosasun.com