SAN LUIS VALLEY— Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking public comment on a proposal to limit elk licenses in the southern San Luis Valley. Input can be provided through a short on-line survey at https://forms.gle/s8Y6NrVWKiAEH5996. Deadline to submit comments on-line is Sept. 10.
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. A group of hunters and property owners has also made the request. If the change is implemented, hunters will have to apply for all elk licenses for the unit through the annual license draw. Currently, hunters can buy over-the-counter licenses for the second and third seasons.
GMU 83 is unique in western Colorado because it is comprised entirely of private land. Elk gather in large numbers in the subdivisions throughout the GMU which is located in Costilla County. 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. Especially during the second and third elk seasons, when over-the-counter licenses are available, shots are often fired across roads from all directions creating dangerous conditions for hunters and the public.
Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the San Luis Valley, said CPW wants to assure safe conditions for hunters, homeowners and the public.
“Enforcement of hunting rules is difficult and there are safety concerns because of the proximity between the elk and the homes,” Basagoitia said. “CPW is addressing this situation to alleviate public safety concerns and to better manage elk herd in the area. 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,”
If the change is approved by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission the new rules would take effect for the 2020 big-game season