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Get ready to hunt Colorado

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife 2012 Big Game Hunting brochure is now available and limited license applications are being accepted for this fall’s big-game hunts. License applications for deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, sheep, goat and bear are due Tuesday, April 3.

For 2012, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has updated the interactive online version of the big game brochure that features videos with online application tips and hunting tips to use in the field. New tables in the brochure also help hunters easily identify units where licenses are valid and whether a hunter can hold more than one license at a time.

This year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is again encouraging hunters to use the secure internet portal to submit their limited license applications. About 75 percent of hunters applied online in 2011, up from 64 percent in 2010.

Henrietta Turner, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s license administration manager, said that last year, her staff called more than 15,000 individuals to address more than 45,000 errors or problems with their big game applications. Many of the errors would have resulted in the rejection of the license application. Only 25 of those calls went to hunters who submitted their application through the web.

“Our online system is easy, convenient and it keeps you from making some of the more common mistakes that could affect success in the drawing,” Turner said. “The web site also has a wealth of resources for hunters looking to plan a memorable hunt.”

Seven Parks and Wildlife offices, including Denver, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Hot Sulphur Springs and Montrose offer internet terminals for hunters to use. In addition, the secure application site can be accessed through any public internet terminal.

The 2012 brochure also explains some significant changes to Colorado’s late youth elk hunting regulations. Since 2000, 12- to 17-year-olds with an unfilled elk tag could take advantage of cow elk hunting opportunities in any unit offering a late-season hunt. These late hunts were extremely successful in encouraging youth participation, but some areas around Craig, Meeker and Steamboat Springs experienced high levels of hunting pressure. Changes to the program this year will ensure hunting pressure is more evenly distributed.

“When we were over our elk population objective, we committed to landowners that we would develop innovative ways of reducing elk numbers and elk conflict,” said Ron Velarde, regional manager for northwest Colorado. “We’ve accomplished that and we found a great way to encourage youth participation. Now that we’re getting close to population objectives, we want to be sure these young hunters have a quality experience in the field if they take advantage of these late hunts.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife hunt planners are available again this year to help hunters who have application questions or are looking for areas to hunt. Hunt planners can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time at (303) 291-7526.

Hunters ages 18 to 64 are reminded that they must have a $10 Habitat Stamp prior to applying for or purchasing a hunting or fishing license in Colorado. Only one stamp is required per hunter per year. A lifetime Habitat Stamp is available for $300.

The Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp program was initiated by sportsmen and established by the Colorado legislature in 2005. Proceeds from the Habitat Stamp have helped conserve more than 124,000 acres of wildlife habitat and secure more than 54,000 acres of new public hunting and fishing access.

Hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1949 are also reminded that they must complete an approved state or provincial hunter education course prior to applying for a hunting license in Colorado. Since the hunter education requirement was imposed in 1970, hunting accidents have significantly declined in the state.

The interactive version of the brochure can be accessed at www.bit.ly/COBigGame2012.

A .pdf version of the 2012 Colorado Big Game brochure can be viewed at http://wildlife.state.co.us/RulesRegs/RegulationsBrochures/Pages/BigGame.aspx.

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