Hunters, businesses hope Owens can help

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Upset about new hunting license allocations, some locals are looking to the governor's office for help.

Tom and Susan Mikesell of Hamilton have drafted a letter asking Gov. Bill Owens to help business owners who they say will be hurt by a decision made by the Colorado Wildlife Commission last week.

The Mikesells run M and M outfitters.

The CWC decision means fewer licenses for out-of-state hunters and more for in-state hunters. The CWC is an 11-member board appointed by the governor to set Division of Wildlife regulations and policies.

Under the old allocation rules, in-state hunters were given 60 percent of big-game licenses in the general draw. Out-of-state hunters were given 40 percent. The old rules applied to the whole state.

The new rules say in-state hunters will receive 80 percent of the licenses in premier hunting units. Premier hunting units require five or more preference points for an in-state hunter to draw a tag.

Out-of-state hunters will receive 20 percent of the licenses in premier units.

In units that require four or fewer points for an in-state hunter to draw, the new split is 65/35.

Susan Mikesell said the new rules will drive away out-of-state hunters and hurt economies that rely on hunting, such as Northwest Colorado.

She is hoping businesses from all over the state will sign the letter.

"We're trying to get it out to any business person who feels that decreasing the number of out-of-state licenses will hurt their business in any way," she said.

Mikesell said she hopes the letter will let the governor know how concerned local business owners are so maybe he can do something.

Although the letter states the new regulations will hurt Colorado's $1.5 billion hunting industry, the DOW says the new regulations will have a minimal effect on hunting economies.

In a statement last week, DOW Director Bruce McCloskey said the new rules will not have a large effect.

"We are hopeful that this move will have few economic consequences and minimal impact on nonresident participation. We will continue to sell unlimited over-the-counter bull licenses to both residents and nonresidents for a significant portion of the hunting opportunities available," he said.

Copies of the Mikesells' letter can be found at the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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