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Rac Changes for 2004 Hunts

Staff Writer

Changes are coming to elk hunting in 2004.

Jim Karpowitz, Division of Wildlife Resources Big Game Coordinator, announced at the recent Regional Advisory Council meeting that there will be changes coming to the big game proclamation. For the year 2004, the changes for the mule deer section of the proclamation will be several wording changes only, but for the elk section, there will be an extensive overhaul of the proclamation format.

The elk permit system is very complicated and needs simplification without hurting the quality of the hunts and herds. Dropping the AR 301 category will add fairness, consistency and simplicity to the process. It will also spread the hunter pressure over three seasons and allow for increased permit numbers in the future. Another advantage will be to increase odds in the drawing. One disadvantage to this proposal would be that archery hunters would lose some permits and will be subject to the points system in the future.

Also dropped would be the ML 300 category. The advantages and disadvantages would be the same as the AR 310, but would apply to the muzzleloaders.

As for the distribution of the permits, the number would be on a split, 25 percent for archers, 65 percent for rifle hunters and 10 percent for the muzzleloaders and there would be no auxiliary permits.

When the proposal was put to the RAC, the board decided to approve the changes in the proclamation with the exception of the split being 25/50/10/15, with the 15 percent being any weapon permits.

The mule deer proclamation will see only small wording changes with the numbers of permits to be set in the spring. The DWR suggested that 15 percent of the permits be set aside for youth hunters.

Bill Bates, regional wildlife program manager explained one major change in the region. That is to the Dolores Triangle hunting unit. Due to conflicts with the Colorado rifle hunters and the Utah muzzleloaders, the dates of the hunts will be changed to avoid the conflict.

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