Archery hunting may change on the Grand Mesa

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – Colorado Parks and Wildlife will host two virtual meetings for the public to discuss potential over-the-counter archery license changes for Game Management Units (CMUs) across the Grand Mesa.

There is currently one survey available that focuses on the archery and elk hunting season for Grand Mesa Elk Data Analysis Unit (DAU) E-14. This DAU includes GMU 41, 42, 52, 411, 421 and 521.

Currently, unlimited over-the-counter licenses are available in all six GMUs. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is collecting feedback to determine if archery licenses should be restricted. These limitations can be determined by increasing hunting pressure, decreasing bowhunter satisfaction, decreasing bowhunter harvesting success, and changing the distribution of elk among public and private lands.

The public is encouraged to submit comments through the survey. For more information, the public is invited to attend one or both virtual meetings on September 28 and October 10. Both meetings will take place on Zoom from 6-7:30 p.m. The meetings will begin with a brief introduction from CPW staff before opening up to questions.

“We’ve been discussing the potential limitations of archery in GMU 521 for several years, but now the conversation has expanded to all of Grand Mesa. We appreciate public input on this matter to help guide our decision-making process,” said Brandon Diamond, CPW Area Wildlife Manager in the Gunnison office. “What’s most important to us is maintaining a healthy and well-distributed elk population, while providing a quality hunting experience for archers.”

To attend the September 28 meeting, go to https://cpw.info/3dhVCME and enter passcode 663938.

To attend the October 10 meeting, go to https://cpw.info/3RIH1J1 and enter passcode 151080.

Wildlife managers have intentionally reduced the E-14 elk herd from a peak of over 20,000 elk in the early 1990s to a post-hunting 2021 population estimate of around 14,000 elk. The population goal for the herd is 15,000 to 19,000 elk.

Permit limitations would address issues of hunter overcrowding, provide a better experience for hunters, and recognize that the distribution of elk between public and private lands is influenced by increased hunting pressure.

For questions about upcoming meetings, contact the Grand Junction office at 970-255-6100 or the Gunnison office at 970-641-7060.

Earnest A. Martinez