MONTE VISTA – A public meeting to discuss a new proposal for managing elk hunting in Costilla County in the San Luis Valley is scheduled for 6 p.m., Aug. 8 at the Fort Garland Community Center, 17591 E Hwy 160.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is considering making Game Management Unit 83 totally limited for elk hunting because of safety concerns and big-game management needs. If the change is implemented, hunters will have to apply for a license for the unit through the annual license draw. Currently, hunters can buy over-the-counter licenses for the second and third seasons. Distribution management licenses - game damage - will continue as usual.
At the meeting, CPW managers will explain the situation and the need for change. CPW is seeking comments on the proposal from hunters and the general public.
Conrad Albert, district wildlife manager for the area, explained that GMU 83 is unique in western Colorado because it is comprised entirely of private land; but it is also excellent elk habitat. Hunters drive the many public roads in the area looking for elk and often find themselves on private property within subdivisions and among the houses. Many hunters are there without permission from the landowners. Others mistakenly believe that because they own property within a subdivision that they have access to the entire subdivision ‒ that is not true.
“Enforcement of hunting rules can be difficult and there are safety concerns because of the proximity between the elk and the homes,” Albert explained.
If all reviews go as planned, the new rules could be in effect for the 2020 big-game season.
“The elk herd and traditional hunting are important to residents of the county and others. We want to strike the best balance that we can to meet those needs and do it safely,” Albert said.
For those who cannot attend a meeting, submit comments by email to the Monte Vista CPW office [email protected]