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Colorado Elk hunting and Colorado Mule deer hunting updates with AEI Guide and Outfitter

January 27, 2015 by

Below are some new changes that relate to hunting elk, mule deer and moose with AEI Guide and Outfitter.

Allowing the Use of Lighted Nocks and Recording Devices

This change was initiated by a citizen petition from the Colorado Bowhunters Association, which requested that lighted nocks on arrows and recording devices on bows be allowed during the archery season. The CBA argued that these technologies do not violate the principles of fair chase since they do not assist the hunter in taking an animal, just enhance the hunting experience and aid in the recovery process. CBA cited support from the majority of their constituents as well as the fair chase standards of the Pope and Young Club to also support the change. Language from the Pope and Young fair chase standards was used for drafting this regulation. 

Open Antlered Moose Hunting Within Low Density Areas of the Southwest Region

Following transplants to the upper Rio Grande 25 years ago, and the Grand Mesa 10 years ago, core resident herds of moose have become well established in GMUs 66, 67, and 76 where hunting is currently allowed, as well as GMU 55. In the last 5 years, moose have expanded into many of the surrounding units and appear to be establishing residence and are reproducing. Southwest Region staff have discussed expanding moose hunting opportunity for several years to take advantage of the current distribution and numbers. The objective of this regulation change is to allow sportsmen a unique bull moose hunting opportunity, without impacting a very valuable watchable wildlife resource or inhibiting population growth and increased distribution. Four sets of temporary hunt codes have been created for bull hunting within the following GMUs: 48, 55, 56, 481, 551, and 561; 65; 68, 79, and 681; and 74 and 75.


New Second and Third Season Antlerless Hunt Codes for Deer in GMUs 55 and 551

The mule deer herd in DAU D-22 has increased following the severe winter of 2007-08 and can now support some antlerless harvest. Mule deer licenses are highly sought after in the Gunnison Basin; however no antlerless hunts were previously available in the northern GMU’s. Doe licenses provide an outstanding big game hunting opportunity and contribute to recruitment and retention for youth hunters in local communities.

Forth Season Antlered Deer Licenses for GMU 201 and GMUs 54, 55, 551, 66, and 67

Mule deer populations in GMU 201 have been steadily increasing over the past 5 years and the GMU has a high fawn:doe ratio as well as buck:doe ratio. The intention of implementing a 4th season antlered rifle license is to allow for a very limited, high quality buck hunting opportunity.

Wildlife managers eliminated 4th season buck hunt codes in the Gunnison Basin following the severe winter of 2007-08; however mule deer populations have been increasing since that time. There is currently opportunity for limited 4th season buck hunting in the Gunnison Basin, and history has shown that there is extremely high demand for these licenses. Not only is 4th season buck hunting highly sought after, but it is also a tool for mitigating preference point requirements during other seasons, particularly the 3rd rifle season. 

Elimination of Hunt Codes EF054L2R and EF055P5R

Beginning in 2010, wildlife managers in the Gunnison Basin began aggressively working towards reducing the elk populations in DAUs E-41 and E-43. Limited archery & muzzleloader licenses, either-sex licenses, list B & list C cow licenses, late seasons, and expanded private land opportunities were all tools that were used as part of the effort to harvest elk in these DAUs. Currently, local managers feel like elk numbers have been successfully reduced and certain hunt codes and strategies are no longer necessary for elk management purposes. Harvest from these licenses have not reliably addressed game damage concerns, and has consistently come from areas where managers never intended. Managers have been more successful at managing game damage issues with targeted damage hunts. 

Allowing Hunting in S-26 with an S-13 Ram License

One resident ram license is currently issued in GMU S-13, while GMU S-26 has been closed to hunting since 1998. Recent GPS collar data from bighorn rams captured on both sides of the boundary confirms that rams cross freely between the S-13 and S-26 ridgeline boundary. Bighorn sheep could realistically use either side of the current boundary throughout the hunting season, so there was a need to adjust the area open to hunting to reflect the natural movements of these sheep. Future license holders in S-13 will be afforded the opportunity to pursue S-13 rams across their range in both S-13 and the northern portion of S-26.