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All elk licenses for rifle hunters now limited in GMU 83 in the San Luis Valley

MONTE VISTA, Colo. – Over-the-counter rifle elk-hunting licenses are no longer available for Game Management Unit 83 in the San Luis Valley during the second and third rifle seasons. All elk licenses for the unit are now limited; rifle hunters must apply for an elk tag through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife limited license draw.

The deadline to apply for a limited license is April 7. The easiest way to apply for a limited license is through the CPW web site at: https://cpw.state.co.us/buyapply/pages/hunting.aspx. Hunters can also go to CPW’s office in Monte Vista or any wildlife office throughout the state.

A local citizens’ petition and CPW wildlife managers in the San Luis Valley recommended the change to limited licenses because of safety concerns. GMU 83 is unique in western Colorado because the vast majority of the area is private and provides excellent elk habitat. Hunters drive the many public roads that crisscross the area looking for elk and often find themselves on private property within subdivisions and among houses. The volume of hunters shooting at elk there is dangerous for hunters and area residents.

Hunters also must secure permission from land owners to hunt on private property. Some hunters mistakenly believe that because they own property within one of the subdivisions that they have access to the entire subdivision ‒ that is not true.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved the regulation. The change was also supported by local government officials and hunters who participated in meetings and through an on-line survey.

“For many years we’ve had serious concerns about unsafe conditions in Unit 83,” said Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for the San Luis Valley. “We know the elk herd and traditional hunting are important to residents of Costilla County and others. We believe the new regulation moves us toward striking the correct balance between hunting opportunity and safety.”

For all four of the rifle seasons either-sex licenses will be available. The hunt code can be found on page 49 of CPW’s 2020 Big Game Hunting Brochure.

For more information, call the CPW office in Monte Vista at 719-587-6900.