Bad news for SW colorado elk

Slick8

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It's the way of the world unfortunately.

I can't speak to your woes but I've grown up fishing and hunting in Texas. While both are in good shape the participant numbers are higher than ever. Particularly the Texas coastal bay systems which is essentially public land. The number of people fishing and far reaching capabilities of today's boats have greatly shrunk the size of they bay's making it near impossible to get completely away from the crowds. The fish are in good shape but that's thanks to a robust restocking program and ever reducing limits. Ain't like it was when I was a kid. Course I guess nothing really is.
 

TheHardWay

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I live in SW Colorado and read this as the Durango Herald ran this same story. One thing I don't buy into is the statement that predators are not an issue. Bear and lion numbers appear to be up. In the last several years, as a ranch manager, I have run across lion kills on the property I care take. It is only ~1800 acres. Expand those instances to the million plus acres of the San Juan NF and surrounding areas and I'm sure you'd find a lot more.
That brings up the topic of wolf reintroduction. It makes no sense to restore an apex predator that is known to be detrimental to elk populations when the elk populations are already hurting.
 

Barrelnut

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Oregon hunting license sales were up 22% this year. This is in a state with fast dwindling herd numbers due to predators, unsustainable Native American bag limits, and generally bad game management due to a liberal state that is anti-hunting! I cannot imagine what it is like somewhere where there is actually a decent chance of filling a tag.
 
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Elkeater

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I looked. It looks like CO elk applications were up 13% from 2017 to 2018. That is just the draw numbers and doesn’t include the OTC license sales.
 

1Moose

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Won’t be a popular thought in many circles but maybe someday we will consider population limits. Our natural resources certainly aren’t expanding, but people are.
 

RockyMtnMT

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Won’t be a popular thought in many circles but maybe someday we will consider population limits. Our natural resources certainly aren’t expanding, but people are.
What??? I think I'll leave it at that.
 

Plinker147

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With OTC tags that what happens. Don't blame non-residents for wanting to go hunting. You can make it like AZ or NM where all elk tags are a draw. The Elk hunting is outstanding but you will be lucky to draw a couple bull tags in a life time. So which do you want crowded hunting condition or go drawing and hope you get to go once every 10 years (maybe). There is no good answer once demand is high than the resource can manage.

Technology has changed hunting, not only does the word spread but with all the better equipment and knowledge the pressure/harvest on the mature animals is high than ever.
 

1Moose

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With OTC tags that what happens. Don't blame non-residents for wanting to go hunting. You can make it like AZ or NM where all elk tags are a draw. The Elk hunting is outstanding but you will be lucky to draw a couple bull tags in a life time. So which do you want crowded hunting condition or go drawing and hope you get to go once every 10 years (maybe). There is no good answer once demand is high than the resource can manage.

Technology has changed hunting, not only does the word spread but with all the better equipment and knowledge the pressure/harvest on the mature animals is high than ever.
I saw first hand the difference of highly pressured areas vs. those that are managed tightly this Thanksgiving. I visited relatives in AZ for the holiday and stopped into local taxidermy store at recommendation of my father. Of course I knew there were places where huge animals lived and were taken, but I was still amazed by the average size of the bull elk around the shop. Lots of really big animals. Talking to a man who worked at the shop learned that most of the big animals he sees come off of Apache lands where they manage the herds very closely.

This year in CO, over an full week during muzzleloader season, I saw one bull that was following a cow and was fortunate to have the shot (and on the very last evening; the only 2 elk I saw). I hunt there because I can get drawn each year, but it's tough. Some of the challenge could have been fires in the area earlier having pushed animals away temporarily. And it was clearly much drier than I've ever seen, and indeed the locals reported the elk were down in hay fields a lot more than usual. The bull I shot this year was very low on body fat compared to others in prior years.

I don't know what's up, but I hope for healthy elk populations for years to come.
 

Techy

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I looked. It looks like CO elk applications were up 13% from 2017 to 2018. That is just the draw numbers and doesn’t include the OTC license sales.
Everyone is applying for everything now because it is virtually free compared to in the past. Just going to take longer to draw now
 

Mike 338

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Well, in my opinion, it isn't hunters accounting for low herd numbers. It's two things. Number 1, wolves. I put wolves up front for no particular reason. They're bad but not as nearly as bad as Number 2. Number two would be poor management. You see, we can always count on an Administrator to want to appease the public, regardless if it makes sense or not. After all, how are you going to coast to a nice State retirement, when everybody with an opinion, hates your guts? They bunch up these herds in winter by feeding them and thus expose them to the biggest killer of all... disease. Also, if you've ever hunted in the snow, you know that predators follow game animals when they migrate. If all the game animals migrate to a spot where some dope rancher or government program is feeding them, it's easy pickings for predators. Predators with easy picking during the winter, do very will during breeding season. Only a complete and massive die-off can curb the predator population. That said, is it predators or people trying to help elk get through the winter that are creating this perfect storm? Well, just ask your local Administrator, who is probably old as heck and just coasting to retirement... what his height and weight are. If he can't run a mile under 7 minutes, and hasn't bivouacked for over a week, in 2 decades, he's more interested in what the local hippies who run the local news rags, are saying, then saving elk herds.

Maybe not... Just an opinion.
 

1Moose

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Everyone is applying for everything now because it is virtually free compared to in the past. Just going to take longer to draw now
I don’t have a long history of hunting in CO. Have elk permit prices gone down since before?
 

Elkeater

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I don’t have a long history of hunting in CO. Have elk permit prices gone down since before?
Not exactly but you used to have to put down the whole tag fee to apply. If you didn’t get drawn you got a refund minus the $3 application fee. These days you just pay the $3 application fee and you only pay for the tag if you actually get drawn. So now instead having to put $660 down to enter the elk draw you just pay $3.

Because of that Non resident sheep apps were up like 5000% this year if I remember right.
 

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