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Areas in southern Colorado nominated for trophy units

By Jeremy Browning

Saturday, July 3, 2004

Trophy elk hunting will expand in Colorado in 2005, but none of the hunting areas in Moffat County was nominated to be part of the Colorado Wildlife Commission's new program.

There were rumors that groups in Northwest Colorado might ask for more limited bull elk hunting, but nothing became of the rumblings, said Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

"We heard there was some discussion about a proposal up there, but no paperwork came through," Hampton said.

The DOW was soliciting nominations for areas that should be converted from unlimited bull elk hunting to a draw system. Residents' concerns about dwindling numbers of large, mature bulls, and overcrowded hunting units, prompted the Wildlife Commission to solicit the recommendations.

The DOW received nominations for limited hunting of five elk herds, including areas near Salida, Gunnison and in the San Luis Valley, according to a report by the DOW.

About 17 percent of the state's bull elk units are managed in a limited fashion, in which hunters must draw a license. In other units, bull elk tags are unlimited and can be purchased over the counter. The Wildlife Commission authorized increasing the limited hunting units to 30 percent of the total. As many as three herds can be added in 2005.

Now that the nominations have arrived, DOW employees will study the proposed areas and make recommendations to the Wildlife Commission, Hampton said. It will take into account the effects on communities as well as the effects on the elk herds, Hampton said.

Stakeholders, including chambers of commerce, livestock producers and governments will have a chance to weigh in on the proposals.

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