Colorado Parks and Wildlife Makes Changes to 2020 Hunting, Fishing Licenses

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is getting busy. And if you’re hunting or fishing this year, you best be too.

Licenses for sportsmen and women went on sale this month and came with some notable changes from years past.

Anglers have been gifted an extra month on the waters, with licenses valid starting March 1 rather than April 1. And for big-game hunters who miss the first draw of coveted tags for preferred animals in preferred areas, CPW is promising a new lottery with greater opportunity.

The “secondary draw” replaces “leftover day,” the day in late summer when enthusiasts dashed to agency offices vying for deer and elk licenses that dodged them in the “primary draw.” Now anyone can participate in the secondary draw, not just primary participants. Now in the follow-up draw, licenses for bear and pronghorn will be available along with deer and elk.

And while past preference has gone to hunters who’ve racked up points by repeatedly applying for a certain license, now preference during the secondary draw will go to youth applicants.

The moves are in line with CPW’s top goal: to grow hunting and angling ranks. That’s listed with nine other goals as part of the agency’s 2025 vision.

The goals were stated in 2018, when the legislature passed the Future Generations Act, granting CPW the right to modestly increase fees to address a reported $41 million in shortfalls to conservation tasks.

Officials reported revenue from fishing and hunting licenses was up 20% last fiscal year largely thanks to raised fees. Costs of licenses are up 1.3% this year, spelling a difference of 30 cents to a few dollars in most cases, according to a CPW news release.

Prices for bears, however, are down. With lower-than-anticipated harvest counts, wildlife managers are upping the license quota. Also new this year, archery and muzzle-loading deer and elk hunters can add an over-the-counter bear tag.

On the other hand, archery tags for elk are limited in the southwest due to what CPW sees as a declining herd in some game management units.

As always, prospective hunters must buy a qualifying license before being picked in the primary or secondary draws. Primary applications are open through April 7. Secondary applications will be taken June 5 through July 7.

Related:  5 Things Sportsmen Need to Know About the Upcoming Farm Bill

For more information and a full rundown of changes, read the 2020 big-game hunting brochure available in stores and online.

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