April date for renewing fishing, small game licenses

Colorado hunters and anglers holding valid 2008 small game or fishing licenses need not obtain 2009 licenses until April.

Thanks to a regulation change adopted by the Colorado Wildlife Commission in July, “calendar-year” licenses, which have historically expired Dec. 31 every year, will be replaced by “season-year” licenses, beginning April 1, 2009.

The change affects annual fishing, senior fishing, small game, furbearer, and combination fishing and small game licenses; as well as Colorado waterfowl stamps, habitat stamps, and walk-in permits. Any such license or permit purchased in 2008 will remain valid through March 31, 2009. Those purchased after Jan. 1, 2009 will be valid from the date of purchase through March 31, 2010.

Though invalid until April 1, annual 2009 fishing, small game, furbearer and combination licenses will be available for purchase beginning Dec. 15 and will remain valid through March 31, 2010.

According to the commission, switching to season-year licenses will improve customer service, by establishing effective dates coincidental to various small game seasons. For instance, rabbit, jackrabbit, snowshoe hare, pine and fox squirrel, and various upland bird seasons typically begin in the autumn of one year and run well into the following spring.

As before, Colorado’s general fishing season will remain open year-round. Only valid license dates will change.

Anglers should continue using the 2008 Colorado Fishing Regulations brochure through March 2009. The 2009 brochure will be available at all Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) offices and license agents by mid- to late March. That brochure will be valid through March 2010, corresponding with the new season structure.

For more information on Colorado small game and angling licenses, or to purchase the same, visit the DOW Web site at www.wildlife.state.co.us, stop by a license agent, or call (800) 244-5613.

chuck@pagosasun.com