By Randy Hampton
Special to The SUN
Colorado Parks and Wildlife 2013 big game brochures are now available, and limited license applications are being accepted for this fall’s big game hunts. License applications for deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, sheep, goat and bear are due Tuesday, April 2.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is again encouraging all hunters to apply for licenses online. In 2012, more than 474,000 applications were received, and more than 80 percent of those were filled out using the easy online system.
“Applying online means almost no chance for entering an invalid hunt code or making some other simple application errors,” explained Devon Adams, Limited License Draw Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “There were 22,000 applications last year that came in with errors — less than 100 of them were online applications.”
The biggest change that hunters should be aware of this year is a modification to the youth late season elk hunting program. Originally developed to help address overpopulations of elk on agricultural, private lands in western Colorado, the youth late season elk hunting program is transitioning, while still offering hunting opportunity at a time when elk populations are nearing desired long-term levels. In 2013, youth with an unfilled limited cow or either-sex elk license will be able to hunt late seasons in the general area of their original license, but in smaller areas than previously allowed.
“Allowing youth to hunt late seasons has been very popular because the late seasons typically overlap the holiday breaks from school and that makes participation easier,” said Rick Cables, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Given the changes this year to the program, we’ll be looking for other ways to provide additional youth opportunity.”
Youth big game hunters interested in 2013 opportunities should closely examine the 2013 Colorado Big Game brochure that is now available at license agents and Parks and Wildlife offices. The brochure provides a map showing the changes, as well as links for online information that will explain the youth late elk hunts in detail.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife hunt planners are available again this year to help hunters who have application questions or are looking for areas to hunt. Hunt planners can be reached from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. mountain time Monday through Friday at (303) 291-7526 (303) 291-PLAN).
By state law, hunters ages 18 to 64 must have a current 2013 Habitat Stamp or a lifetime Habitat Stamp prior to applying for or purchasing a hunting or fishing license in Colorado. The online system assures that applicants have a Habitat Stamp in advance of application. Only one $10 stamp is required per hunter per year. A lifetime Habitat Stamp is available for $300.
Hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1949, are also reminded that they must complete an approved state or provincial hunter education course prior to applying for a hunting license in Colorado. Since the hunter education law was imposed in 1970, hunting accidents have significantly declined in the state.
The interactive version of the brochure can be accessed at www.bit.ly/coloradobiggame.
A complete list of upcoming hunter education classes can be found at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/HunterEducation/CourseCalendar/.