Hunting limited license deadline Tuesday

Big-game applications can be filed online

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At a glance

Seasonal hunting dates:

(Type: start date to end date)

Pronghorn muzzleloading: Oct. 21 to 29

Pronghorn archery (males only): Aug. 15 to 31

Pronghorn archery (either sex): Sept. 1 to 20

Moose archery: Sept. 11 to 26

Deer and elk archery: Aug. 28 to Sept. 26

Deer, elk and moose muzzleloading: Sept. 11 to 19

Moose rifle: Oct. 1 to 14

Pronghorn rifle (draw only): Oct. 2 to 8

First elk season: Oct. 16 to 20

Second season (deer and elk): Oct. 23 to 31

Third season (deer and elk): Nov. 6 to 14

Fourth season (limited): Nov. 17 to 21

Black bear (draw only): Sept. 2 to 30

Black bear archery: Sept. 2 to 26

Black bear muzzleloading: Sept. 11 to 19

Mountain lion: Nov. 22 to March 31

— Although hunting season doesn’t start for another five months, Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesmen Randy Hampton said it’s time to start thinking about licenses.

The deadline for big-game limited licenses is Tuesday, and applications can be submitted online at http://wildlife.state.co.us/hunting or by calling 1-800-244-5613.

Hampton said there will be one big seasonal change.

“The biggest thing people will notice is that the seasons are a week later this year,” he said. “It’s not because it’s been warm, but just because that’s the way the calendar fell.”

A later starting date could be better for hunters, Hampton said.

“What that means is that there will be much more opportunities for colder weather,” he said. “It’s the cold weather elk hunters need to get elk concentrated and on their migratory pattern.

“Once that happens, elk hunters are always more successful.”

Hampton said warmer weather in past hunting seasons have lowered success rates.

“The last two years were not only warm, but very wet,” Hampton said. “The winter of (2007-08) provided a tremendous amount of snow, and it took forever to melt.

“Last year, we had a very wet June. Both years led to good forage growth and a high availability of water.”

With water in abundance, the elk were less likely to concentrate together, Hampton said.

“The elk were able to spread out,” he said. “They were widely dispersed.”

In the eight to 10 years preceding the 2007-08 hunting season, there were dry summers which forced elk to become concentrated in areas because of limited resources, Hampton said.

“When there are very dry conditions, the animals are forced to concentrate around water,” he said. “Hunters can find animals by sitting on water in the morning and at night when the animals come.

“Elk hunters got used to the way things were.”

Hampton said with the animals dispersed, it appeared that there were fewer animals.

“Everybody said there must not be any elk,” he said. “That’s not the case at all.

“Our flight data show the populations are still very healthy.”

Hampton said there is no way to gauge how the upcoming season would be in terms of success rates because there’s no way to anticipate the weather.

Nonetheless, there are an abundance of licenses left in northwestern Colorado.

“We have enough elk licenses in northwestern Colorado to meet the demand,” he said.

The limited license is used for “quality units,” which include game management units 1, 2, 10 and 201, cow elk licenses and licenses for the first and fourth seasons.

Licenses for the second and third seasons are sold over the counter.

“We encourage people to get an application in early so they can hunt in the unit they want to hunt in,” Hampton said.

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