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Important Changes to Colorado Big Game Structure

September 14, 2009.

Last Thursday, the Colorado Wildlife Commission adopted the season structure for the 2010-2014 hunting seasons. A few notable changes are included in this five-year plan, especially for hunters who have been building preference points in Colorado.

In general, the standard structure for Colorado's deer and elk seasons is not changing.

But, there will be some changes made to the Colorado preference point system. Under Colorado's system, the applicants with the most preference points always draw ahead of other applicants. So if you haven't been building preference points for a decade or two, there are certain tags in Colorado that you'll never draw because there are so many guys in line ahead of you with 10+ preference points.

Starting next year, every hunter with 5 or more preference points can enter into an auxiliary random draw, where 20% of licenses will be set aside in any unit requiring 10 or more points to draw. This includes deer, elk, pronghorn and bear units statewide.

If you're eligible, you can apply in the random draw for your first choice, and still earn a preference point if you don't draw.

Except large numbers of hunters with 5+ preference points to start taking a chance in the random draw for premier units during 2010.

Also of note is a cap that has been placed on elk licenses in the Gunnison basin, well-known for its deer hunting. This is great news for deer hunters, who currently have to compete with huge numbers of elk hunters.

For more details, see coverage in the Grand Junction Sentinel.

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