Home / General / Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission License Distribution Workshop – Part I

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission License Distribution Workshop – Part I

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is in the process of considering changes to policies and regulations that could potentially impact how big game hunting licenses are distributed in the state. Some of the topics being considered are resident and non-resident elk and deer license allocation, preference points, weighted points, and Over-the-Counter (OTC) elk licenses. This process began a-while ago with Phase 1 below, collecting feedback from hunters. Phase 2 was recently completed, and then this unofficial License Distribution Workshop was scheduled so CPW members could update/educate the Commissioners on the status of issues being considered. Phase 3 will occur next month when the Commission considers potential changes/solutions.

  1. February and April 2022 – CPW conducted a survey of hunters to assess their perspectives about the topics listed above and held focus groups to help inform the development of alternative strategies. The Big Game Attitude Survey was mailed to randomly selected resident and non-resident hunters.
  2. May and June 2022 – CPW hosted stakeholder workshops and public meetings to provide opportunities to review and discuss possible alternative strategies.
  3. September and November 2022 – The Parks and Wildlife Commission will consider proposed policy and regulatory changes with opportunities for further public comment.

During this License Distribution Workshop, CPW members updated/educated the Commissioners on the following topics:

  • Making changes to license Allocations (proportion of licenses for Resident vs non-residents), 
  • Limiting Over-the-Counter (OTC) license distribution, 
  • Changing how Preference Points are used,
  • More substantial changes to the Draw System.

The Commission is considering whether any changes are warranted and if so, whether changes should be implemented incrementally or all-at-once (before 2023 Big Game season). This was a 4:56 minute Virtual Meeting with no public comments.

I imagine if you currently apply for licenses and/or hunt Colorado you are already aware of our more pressing issues. From a hunter’s perspective, many of our limited draw hunts require massive amounts of preference point to draw, and point creep is exacerbating this problem. Also, many residents are dissatisfied with how many licenses are set aside for landowners, youths, and non-residents. If you decide to hunt an Over-the Counter (OTC) unit to avoid all that, you’ll likely encounter overcrowding. 

A primary objective of this meeting seemed to be for CPW officials to update the Commissioners on the status of these issues and to assist the Commission in determining if there is anything they can do about them. CPW officials presented a great deal of information to the Commissioners, and the CPW folks were all extremely knowledgeable and gave amazing presentations. They were able to easily answer all the questions that came up, regardless of complexity, and they were very impressive. Conversely, many of the Commissioners appeared to have limited knowledge on these issues and asked questions which indicated their lack of in-depth understanding. At one-point CPW even gave a tutorial on how to read the Hunt Codes used in the Big Game Brochure. This is very basic knowledge it would seem the Commissioners should already understand. 

Commissioners also occasionally asked questions on whether or not they had the authority to execute a potential solution. It was surprising that they seemed unclear on their own authority. In any case, it was obvious the CPW members and Commissioners alike were genuinely concerned about the issues and were truly looking for ways to improve the hunting situation here in Colorado. It could be a challenge for the Commission to determine effective solutions without a firm grasp on all the pertinent information. It will likely be up to CPW to present strong recommendations to the Commission to assist them with making meaningful changes.

Toward the end of the workshop, they discussed potential action items. However, it didn’t appear like any of the actions discussed would make much of a dent in these issues. It was clear there’s genuine concern to find ways to improve the situation, but they are struggling to find feasible solutions. Additionally, the Commissioners know they are in a difficult position since no matter what they come up with many people won’t like it.

The only action the Commission decided to move forward on before the 2023 season is to update to 3-year averages used to determine which hunts qualify for the hybrid draw and high demand hunts, from 2007-2009 to 2019-2021. While that is a useful bit of updating and will increase the number of Hybrid Draw hunts, it will have no meaningful impact on any of the key issues that were discussed and need to be addressed.

About Dave Shaffer

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6 comments

  1. Orion-Cazadores

    Holy smoke ! Cavalcade of cluster schmucks ! Let a bunch of persons with no clue or hunting background decide the process and program ? Sounds same- just like US Congress making decisions about student loan debt and making tax payers foot the bill. Why do idiots get to decide Everything these days ? Maybe cause persons with jobs don’t have time to babysit these idiots ?

  2. Absolutely… if you look up the commission it is a bunch of polis political favors. That said, Co needs to save more tags for residents. Born and raised here and it’s not right that they don’t allocate better for residents. Point creep has made many units unobtainable and OTC is getting down right ridiculous. Time for caps for NR!

  3. My fix would be quite simple. Any list A tag would use preference points. For example all otc tags, use your points. All leftover/ reissue tags use your points. It would reduce pressure on otc units and help purge the system of people banking points and just hunting otc or leftover year to year while they wait.

  4. Not positive this is correct “The only action the Commission decided to move forward on before the 2023 season is to update to 3-year averages used to determine which hunts qualify for the hybrid draw and high demand hunts, from 2007-2009 to 2019-2021.” We discussed this specific issue last Saturday morning at the Statewide Roundtable and there was no mention of any action approved by the Commission.

  5. First problem is that in Colorado, the state has alway seen hunting as making money not quality…they over sell licenses. Hunter orange can be seen spread over every couple hundred yards of a ridge. Second, since Colorado combined Game & Fish dept with the state Parks dept, the CPW is way more populated with Sierra Club types than hunter/fisher types with an accompanying change in their educational background & priorities (wildlife biologists vs environmentalists/ecologists).

    Colorado is in a downward spiral, has been for some time.

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