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Late seasons offer youth chance to fill tags

The Colorado Division of Wildlife reminds youth hunters who didn’t fill their cow or either-sex elk tags during the regular seasons that they are eligible to hunt antlerless elk anywhere in the state where a late season is scheduled. Those with unfilled bull elk licenses are not eligible.

Most late seasons begin sometime after the fourth rifle season which ended on Nov. 21, but the starting dates vary depending on the Game Management Unit. The late season opportunity allows youths between 12 and 17 years old to hunt in some units through January.

“It looks like the overall elk harvest statewide might be a bit down for the regular rifle seasons, so these late hunts should give some youth hunters a great chance at getting an animal,” said Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for the San Luis Valley.

Hunters who hold an either-sex tag must go to a DOW office to convert the license to an antlerless tag. Those with a cow permit do not need to go to a DOW office. Hunters under 16 must be accompanied by a mentor. Mentors can hunt with a youth only if they hold a late-season license that is valid for the same unit and dates as the youth license. Those who turn 18 after purchasing the original license are still eligible to hunt during a late season.

In addition, regulations for the late-season youth hunts may differ from regular seasons. So the DOW strongly encourages youth hunters and their mentors to read the 2010 Colorado Big Game Hunting Brochure to check the regulations and the late season dates for the GMU where they will be hunting. Hunters are also reminded to be sure that they know the boundaries of the GMU. Late seasons in some units are for private land only, so hunters must have permission from the landowner before going onto those properties.

“Adults and youth must know the specific regulations that apply during these late seasons and in these units,” Basagoitia said. “Be sure to read the regulations in the hunting brochure and get a good map so you know the location of the GMU. Hunters who violate the rules can lose their hunting and fishing privileges.”

The youth licenses cannot be used for special distribution management hunts.

A 2010 Big Game Brochure can be picked up at any DOW office or license agent. The brochure can also be viewed at the DOW’s web site at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame. Read “Late Youth Elk Hunts” on page 2 of the brochure and look for the late season dates in the 2010 Elk Seasons section.