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State to set 2012 big game licenses, consider climbing at Rifle Falls
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will establish license numbers for most big game species for the 2012 hunting season and consider a petition to allow rock climbing at the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery during its monthly meeting May 10.
Thursday's meeting will be held at the Courtyard Marriott, 765 Horizon Drive in Grand Junction.
Commissioners also will be asked to set or modify property regulations at several state wildlife areas and formalize an annual tradition of granting military veterans free admission to state parks on Veterans Day.
The commission will set limited license numbers for deer, elk, black bear, moose and pronghorn. Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists estimate the state's post-hunt elk population at about 265,000, which is the largest herd in North America. Colorado has an estimated 418,000 deer and 71,000 pronghorn.
Wildlife managers recommend a quota of 139,000 limited elk licenses, which represents a drop of about 2 percent from 2011. Biologists adjust license numbers to maintain population levels. Wildlife managers propose a quota of 80,000 deer licenses and 24,000 pronghorn licenses, which also represent slight declines.
Meanwhile, licenses for the state's growing moose population are recommended to rise by 12 percent, while bear licenses may jump by 25 percent.
Commissioners also will hear a proposal to open a limited hunting season on sandhill cranes in northwestern Colorado.
State Wildlife Areas
In addition, commissioners will hear about a proposal to consider changes to property-specific activity regulations at several state wildlife areas.
Also on the agenda: a petition by Rifle Climbers Coalition and the Boulder-based Access Fund to allow rock climbing In the lower portion of Box Canyon at the Rifle Falls State Fish Hatchery.
Commissioners also are expected to vote to grant free admittance for military veterans to state parks on Veterans Day each year, and not leave this action to a year-by-year vote.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is a 14-member board, appointed by the governor, which sets regulations and policies for Colorado's state parks wildlife programs. View the complete agenda for the May meeting.
The commission meets monthly and travels to communities around the state. The commission will travel to Craig, Sterling, Gunnison, Glenwood Springs, Durango, Yuma and Colorado Springs in 2012.
You can listen to the proceedings via the Internet by clicking on the "listen to live audio" link at the bottom of the commission webpage.