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Colorado Parks and Wildlife implementing changes for big game hunting licenses

Posted at 7:19 AM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 09:27:18-05

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is changing its limited hunting licenses for big game hunters.

Currently, licenses are broken up and distributed out of two categories - areas with high demand and those in low demand.

The changes are only affecting low-demand areas and areas that suffered a high number of deaths over the winter, according to CPW. The area affected most was the northwest corner of the state from Rangely to Steamboat Springs.

CPW is now reserving 75% of licenses in those low-demand areas for in-state residents. Last season, 65% was reserved for people in the state.

The rest will be available to hunters out of state. This change is part of their efforts to track chronic wasting disease (CWD) and see how it could be affecting the big game in our state, CPW said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has also implemented mandatory CWD checks for deer and certain big game animals, depending on what hunting code you have. CWD testing is done for free, courtesy of CPW, if your animal is required to be tested.

"What this does is we just try to rotate around the state and then we go between deer and elk and that just helps us look at those herds and see how those individual herds are tracking through that disease," Travis Sauder, assistant area wildlife manager at CPW, said.

While there still is no evidence that the disease can be passed on to humans, CPW said if a deer or elk does test positive, hunters should contact them and CPW will destroy the body.

The first round of applications for big game hunting licenses open on March 1 and close on April 2. The second round will open June 20-28 for the 2024 license year.

Click here to see more details on CPW's new rules.

Hunters with Colorado residency given priority for certain licenses