Letter: Reader frustrated by wait to hunt

I am a resident of Colorado and as such would like to be able to hunt the wildlife of this state at least every three to four years. But if I have to wait 10 to 20 years, I will have grown too old to remember how to shoot a gun, much less be physically able to hunt.

The reason is that I am 61 years of age. The last time I went antelope hunting was 10 years ago. The DOW wants all of us (hunters) to feel that we have a chance to go hunting for the animal of our choice one in a while. But I feel that most of us will never get to hunt but once or twice in a lifetime if we continue with the system we have now.

The DOW has reduced the amount of licenses that are issued to people who want to hunt public lands. Moffat County alone has 54 percent (1.6 million acres) of land that is federal and another 121,826 (state trust) that is leased by the DOW for public hunters. Yet the DOW has most of the licenses going to private land or Ranching for Wildlife.

For example, units 3 and 301 in Moffat County had four female licenses and 24 male licenses available for public land hunting and 101 female and 119 male licenses for private land and Ranching for Wildlife. There were 3,329 applications for female licenses and 6,593 applications for male. The odds for hunting are worse than going to Vegas.

Let's take my unit for example. The DOW's quota for 3 and 301 rifle season male are 13 general and two landowner and there were 3,880 applications (2,661 first choice) for these licenses. I had 9 preference points for antelope with 79 other people. There were 12 people with more points than I had, so that leaves 78 people with 10 preference points for next year. If the DOW leaves the quota as is for the next five years, I may get to hunt antelope again before I die. But I think we need to find another way to let people hunt because this is not a trophy area, and I hope that the state doesn't make any more of these trophy areas.

If you need to confirm this information, go to www.wildlife. state.co.us then hunting, big game and look at the 2004 hunting recap and drawing summaries on that page.

The DOW would like to get hunting to expand by getting youth hunters interested, but all it is going to do is get them interested and then they will have to play a waiting game. If they are lucky, maybe a 16-year-old will get to hunt an antelope by the time he is my age.

The DOW needs to quit letting people apply for licenses and let the people who have preference points apply until those with points quit applying or get their license and not let the points get above about three before shutting down the application process. I realize the DOW would not get the application fees that way, but license fees should be able to keep the DOW viable.

Ken Fleming


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