MONTE VISTA— On the February 6 around 30 hunters gathered at the Monte Vista office of Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to give their input and listen to a presentation on big-game season structure. Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for the San Luis Valley, led the meeting and gave a short PowerPoint presentation followed by a survery for the attendees.
According to CPW, every five years the big-game hunting seasons are evaluated. Hunters are asked for their opinions and it is determined if any changes to the current structure are needed. The results will help determine the new structure which will take effect for the 2020-2024 seasons.
The meeting was also a part of the ongoing statewide “Sportsmen Roundtable” process that is set up by CPW to assure that hunters, anglers and everyone who cares about wildlife can provide input and discuss issues with CPW leaders.
Basogoitia took questions from the hunters first to determine what local issues they may want to discuss. Afterwards he dived into CPW’s PowerPoint presentation. He began by explaining the purpose of having a big-game season structure and why it is reviewed every five years.
The purpose according to Basogoitia is to establish a five-year big game hunting framework. This helps to determine what types of opportunities will be available, and where, when and how they will be implemented. It is reviewed for a five-year period to provide consistency and predictability. It helps to achieve wildlife management objectives, have hunter satisfaction and participation and takes into account law enforcement and regulation complexity.
The timeline also helps those who benefit economically from the hunting season. Hunters are able to know what the season offerings will be and request vacation time or schedule their trips accordingly. Land owners are also able to plan for hunting opportunities on their properties. Businesses such as motels and restaurants can then shape their business plans around the hunting seasons by being provided some certainty about what the structure will look like over the next five years, according to information provided by CPW.
Basogitia then shared the proposed changes that CPW is looking to make and asking the public to share their opinions on. These topics include altering day of the week season start dates and increasing the breaks between seasons, increasing youth and outreach participation and changing some issues around archery season.
After the presentation Basogitia and the audience participated in a brief survey to establish how the group acted during hunting season and what changes they may like to see.
These public meetings will continue through the month of February throughout the state of Colorado. Public comment is open and anyone may participate in the online survey by visiting CPW’s website. A rough draft of the proposed 2020-2024 big-game season structure is expected to be ready by June 2019 and the final version may be adopted by July 2019.