Public input needed for elk and deer herd planning

MONTE VISTA — Colorado Parks and Wildlife is evaluating big-game management in the South San Juan mountain area and the public is invited to upcoming meetings where issues and plans for Game Management Units 80 and 81 will be discussed.

The meetings will be at 7 p.m., July 13, in La Jara at Centauri High School, 17889 U.S. Highway 285; and 7 p.m., July 14, at the Monte Vista Co-Op, U.S. Highway 160, about a mile east of Monte Vista.

"CPW is reaching out to the public, including landowners, sportsmen, outfitters, business owners, and anyone who is interested in deer and elk in the San Luis Valley to attend one of these meetings and offer input," said Area Wildlife Manager Rick Basagoitia. “These animals are an important public resource and CPW intends to manage them for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Every 10 years Colorado Parks and Wildlife terrestrial biologists update big-game management plans which take into consideration a variety of factors, including: hunter perception, harvest history habitat availability, agricultural conflicts, forest management plans and social issues. At the meeting CPW staff will talk about what is known currently about the deer and elk herds in the area, and the history of planning efforts.

Public input is needed to help CPW draft the management plan that will set goals for the most-desired population, sex-ratio objectives and the amount of hunting opportunity that will be available in the area for the next decade. All stakeholder input will be considered and combined with biological data to inform a revised management plan.

For those who can’t attend the meeting, comments can be made on line starting July 13 at The survey will be available for 30 days.

The planning process will take about a year. A draft of the plan will be presented to the public in the fall.