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Dentry: Hunters disapprove proposal
August 16, 2005

Big-game hunters flatly shot down recommendations of an ad hoc committee looking into changing the way limited elk, deer and pronghorn licenses might be doled out among user groups.

In a public-input survey, a heavy majority of hunters gave a steely thumbs- down to virtually every option the License Allocation Work Group favored for rearranging the balance of big-game licenses among hunters, landowners and outfitters.

The survey results fairly snarl at the committee's efforts to accommodate special interests that profit from commerce in hunting. The Colorado Wildlife Commission got first glance at the results Thursday at a workshop in Alamosa.

The work group - it was comprised of five sportsmen and 10 business representatives from ranching, farming, outfitting and community governments - spent three months coming up with different ways of slicing the license pie. For each issue, the committee gave its preferred option.

Hunters blasted nearly all of those preferred options.

Most people who filled out the survey forms roundly rejected all efforts to boost the number of transferable licenses Colorado sets aside for private landowners to sell to paying hunters.

Currently, a statute passed by the legislature guarantees the top 15 percent of limited licenses to big landowners as transferable license vouchers. Ranchers resell the licenses as "access fees" to mostly nonresident hunters. The arrangement exempts pay-to-hunt customers from having to enter state license drawings.

The license allocation committee wants the landowners' share raised to 35 percent in eastern Colorado, 25 percent in four premier trophy hunting units in the northwestern corner of the state and 18 percent elsewhere in western Colorado.

The survey respondents also were strongly opposed to any licensing scheme that would favor outfitters and their paying customers over ordinary hunters.

Opposition to raising the percentage of private land set-aside licenses was just as strong among nonresident hunters as residents. Both groups also strongly opposed the notion of special drawings for outfitter customers.

In fill-in-the-blanks input forms, residents and nonresidents also challenged the committee's recommendation to allow landowners who receive game-damage payments to charge "access fees" five times higher ($500) than state law now allows ($100).

Not surprisingly, the major area of disagreement among residents and nonresidents was how their respective big-game license helpings should be dished out. But even there, a majority among both groups "strongly disagreed" with the license committee's preferred option, which would establish three resident/nonresident quotas in separate regions of the state.

The way things work now, the first 60 percent of limited licenses in a game unit is reserved for residents, 40 percent for nonresidents (after the 15 percent cut for landowners).

Overwhelmingly, survey respondents who live in Colorado said they are not happy with the 6 0/40 arrangement. They want their share increased to a firm 80 percent, with 20 percent of licenses going to nonresidents. Out-of-staters strongly opposed that.

"Preference-point creep" was one of the rare areas where hunters agreed with the license committee. The group offered a number of suggestions for treating the chronic bloating that now requires hunters to wait 10 to 12 years to draw licenses for some special, quality areas.

The number of points grows every year, while applicants grow older and tired of waiting.

Some possible solutions: Colorado could stop giving preference points to people who make mistakes on their applications. Hunters who draw licenses and don't hunt should not get a preference point (except in emergencies). Those who use landowner vouchers to hunt bulls and bucks on private land should lose all their preference points.

Public input strongly favored anything that would deprive people of easy preference points. But few hunters said they would give up the system and go back to a random draw without preference-point weighting.

By far, the thorniest issue the work group has raised, and its apparent main mission, is deciding how to give private landowners more transferable licenses.

Most people who responded to the survey were powerfully opposed to all 10 private-land options the group proposed. Residents even said they strongly disliked the status quo. Apparently, they would choose Option X.

That would be the option that isn't on the survey form: How to stifle preferential treatment for anyone who would turn a national heritage into a private industry.

[email protected]nNews.com
 

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I read the same article and I'm glad we spoke up and was heard.
My wifes uncle is running for governor, I don't see him losing. I've been talking to him about the DOW catering to private land owners and outfitters. He's been listening.
 

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Keep up the good work

Vpier, it's nice to know that there is a voice of reason (our side, of course) behind a politician. The day do-it-yourself hunters can't hunt, the antis will have won.
I lived in CO for a couple years, and it was nice to be able to go buy a deer license, but I'd forget CO altogether if the residents got the 80% and guys like me had only 5% to compete for, after the landowner vouchers took the other 15%.
I'd go along with the resident 80% if the landowners took only 5%. Last time I checked, the nonmigratory game animals were still the property of whole state.
 

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460461whatever said:
Vpier, it's nice to know that there is a voice of reason (our side, of course) behind a politician. The day do-it-yourself hunters can't hunt, the antis will have won.
I lived in CO for a couple years, and it was nice to be able to go buy a deer license, but I'd forget CO altogether if the residents got the 80% and guys like me had only 5% to compete for, after the landowner vouchers took the other 15%.
I'd go along with the resident 80% if the landowners took only 5%. Last time I checked, the nonmigratory game animals were still the property of whole state.
Where is Springfield? I bought a house on a lake near Crosslake.
 

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about 1/2 way between Mankato and Brookings

vpier said:
Where is Springfield? I bought a house on a lake near Crosslake.
Which lake? I used to own a house and 40 acres 1/2 way between Crosslake and Crosby, about a mile your side of the Mississippi. That was only five years ago. I sure do miss that land. I still have inlaws with land NW of Pine River. I really miss the fishing around there. "Hmmm, which lake should I fish tonight?" Now it's a half hour to the nearest bullhead hole. :sad:
 

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460461whatever said:
Which lake? I used to own a house and 40 acres 1/2 way between Crosslake and Crosby, about a mile your side of the Mississippi. That was only five years ago. I sure do miss that land. I still have inlaws with land NW of Pine River. I really miss the fishing around there. "Hmmm, which lake should I fish tonight?" Now it's a half hour to the nearest bullhead hole. :sad:
Im on Mitchell
 
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