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Colorado Deer Tag Numbers Slashed

Colorado deer tag 4 17 blog

Alert! If you applied for deer in the Gunnison area, GMUs 54, 55, 551, 66 or 67 – listen up. The Gunnison office of Colorado Parks and Wildlife Dept. (CPW) just announced the following mule deer tag reductions:

GMU 54 – 54%

GMU 55 – 85%

GMU 551 – 65%

GMUs 66, 67 — low to mid 60%s

Since almost everyone has their application in, what are the options?

  1. Submit a change online at http://cpw.state.co.us/buyapply/Pages/ApplicationCorrections.aspx . The deadline for submitting changes is April 10. Note that “CPW cannot guarantee that all correction requests will be accommodated. However, an effort will be made to complete every request. Due to time constraints, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) cannot confirm that your correction has been made.”
  2. .Stand pat on your current application. What’s the worst that can happen? You either get drawn anyway, get your second choice or get a preference point and a refund.

Some Gunnison tags may be returned after the drawing and you could be hunting there anyway. Pay attention to the new additions to the leftover list on Mondays starting the first week in August.

Because the tough winter was widely known I expect that applications for Gunnison areas will be down, maybe significantly. So, while tags are down a lot, applications should be too, though probably not as much as the tags.

The Gunnison Basin has bad winter kills every few years, which is frustrating for game managers and hunters alike, but that’s the nature of a basin at 7,000-8,000 feet with no real routes for deer to migrate to lower elevation. It is routinely the coldest spot in the state and this winter, on top of the average snowpack in the basin being 170% of normal at the end of February, there were crusting issues in places as well as 24 nights during the first six weeks of winter with temps between 0 and -29. Ten days during that period were -15 to -29, not counting wind chill.

Don’t be surprised at some tag reductions in other areas around the state, especially the north-central area. It could be harder to draw this year in many areas. The areas that fared best are those around Colorado Springs and Pueblo down to the New Mexico line, as well as eastern Colorado and the far northwest corner of the state.

Please note that these are local recommendations, not final numbers. They must be approved by the Commission.

-Dave Hoshour

Want to get it done this fall after a tough winter? Give this episode of Eastmans’ Elevated a listen to hear Guy Eastman’s take on how to fill your tag after a tough winter!


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  1. so its a unit by unit decision?will some units not be hit with reductions as bad as others?not good to hear on tag app deadline day,,though I figured it would be bad in the Gunnison units.

    • Avatar photo
      Scott Reekers

      Yeah, it is tough news to get today. We put this out as soon as we had confirmation from CPW.

  2. How about the elk heard in unit 55. Any reduction in those tags?

  3. Elk should not be nearly as affected as deer but CPW has not said anything about elk tags that I’ve heard.

  4. Didn’t they just make unit 54 an over the counter unit for elk this year ? …

  5. David L Hoshour

    I believe so, but these are deer tag reductions, not elk.

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