Steamboat Springs The Colorado Wildlife Commission has guaranteed that 60 percent of deer and elk draw licenses will be available to Colorado residents next year.
The decision was made Thursday in response to different interests groups pushing the issue.
On one hand, private outfitters wanted more nonresident licenses in the state because they cater to that crowd, Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Todd Malmsbury said.
On the other side were private businesses who stand to do better serving in-state hunters.
"It was a tough decision because the commission wants to represent both groups," Malmsbury said.
The 60/40, resident/nonresident split came after the commission saw numbers from last year's hunting seasons.
Last year, 60 percent of deer and elk hunters were residents, and commissioners thought it should stay that way.
However, that may not be true everywhere.
"In some units, the most popular units, there might be an increase of resident hunters up to 70 percent," Malmsbury said.
Residents in those areas have demanded that more licenses be available to them. To handle those requests, the commission has decided to do just that in sought-after units, but will determine which units those will be on a year-to-year basis.
But for the units that aren't specifically identified, more nonresident hunters than Coloradans may end up in the field.
That's because when a license is denied to a hunter, the hunter builds up preference points to a particular area. That gives them an advantage in the next season's drawing. As the number of out-of-state hunters with preference points in one unit accumulates, it increases the potential for more nonresident hunters in those areas.
"In a few units. the percentage of nonresidents will be over half," Malmsbury said.
The new regulations go in effect in 2001. At that time, nonresident deer licenses will increase from $150 to $270 and elk and bear licenses from $250 to $450.
Resident fees will remain at $30 for elk and bear and $20 for deer.
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