DOW sets elk management meetings in Kremmling, Granby | SkyHiNews.com

DOW sets elk management meetings in Kremmling, Granby

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is interested in hearing from the public about management of two elk herds in and around Middle Park.

Public input is critical in helping revise herd management plans, called Data Analysis Unit or DAU plans. DAU plans establish herd population objectives and set goals for male-female ratios within populations.

The public is invited to attend DAU planning meetings for the elk in Division of Wildlife Game Management Units 18, 181, 28, 37 and 371. In order to maximize the public’s opportunity to comment, these meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

• Kremmling – Tuesday, July 6, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the CSU Extension Hall

• Frisco – Thursday, July 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the County Commons – Mount Royal Room

• Granby – Friday, July 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Granby Library

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Elk DAU E-8 and E-13 encompass the Middle Park herds, which occupy the area west of the Continental Divide including all of Summit County and most of Grand County surrounding the communities of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Granby, Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, Kremmling, Silverthorne, and Winter Park.

The DAU plans will guide elk management in the area, which currently produces tremendous hunter opportunity by being open to over-the-counter bull elk hunting during archery season and the 2nd and 3rd rifle seasons. Large numbers of limited licenses are also available for muzzleloader and other rifle seasons.

“Herd size is a function of biology, but it is also a function of what the public desires for a population,” added Ron Velarde, regional manager for northwest Colorado. “While the DOW is well-suited to make biological decisions, we need public input to determine if larger or smaller herds would be acceptable.”

Sportsmen, outfitters, business owners and landowners all have a vested interest in the big game populations in an area. Sportsmen may want larger herds for increased hunting opportunity. Outfitters and hunting-tourism dependent businesses like hotels and restaurants may want increased hunting opportunity that brings more hunters to an area. Landowners may want decreased herd sizes to limit damage to crops and fences.

“The E-8 and E-13 DAU plans were last updated in the 1990s,” said Kirk Oldham, DOW Terrestrial Biologist for the area. “Reviewing herd objectives will need to address changes in the area including habitat changes because of mountain pine beetle, increasing development on winter range and changes in recreational use of these lands in the last 20 years.”

Anyone interested in elk management in these areas is welcome to provide comments to the Division of Wildlife. Draft plans and alternatives will be explained at the public meeting and can be found on the Division’s webpage at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame/HerdManagementDAUPlans/.

A short survey about the elk herds is also available. Comments and completed surveys must be submitted by July 16 to the Division of Wildlife’s Hot Sulphur Springs office at P.O. Box 216, Hot Sulphur Springs CO 80451.

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