Big game managers for Colorado Parks and Wildlife are in the initial stages of revising management plans for the three mule deer herds in the Gunnison Basin, and are seeking input from the hunting and non-hunting public.
These management plans are generally revisited every 10 years and take into consideration biological factors such as population performance and habitat condition, as well as social factors such as hunter preferences and conflict issues.
Management plans are specific to big game populations within certain geographic areas known as Data Analysis Units. A DAU may consist of one or more Game Management Units. The three DAU plans being updated in the Gunnison Basin are D-21, West Elk herd, consisting of GMU 54; D-22, Taylor River herd, which includes GMUs 55 and 551; and D-25, Powderhorn herd, which includes GMUs 66 and 67.
To initiate the public input process, Parks and Wildlife has developed three on-line surveys,
one for each herd, which may be accessed through the agency web site, http://wildlife.state.co.us/Pages/Home.aspx, or by using these links: https://www.research.net/s/D21DAUplan; https://www.research.net/s/D22DAUplan;
The surveys will be posted through Aug. 10, and should only take a few minutes to complete.
Parks and Wildlife will also send out nearly 4,000 postcards to hunters and landowners who have applied for deer licenses in these units, informing them that the surveys are available and that management plan revisions are pending. However, anyone interested in completing one or more surveys is welcome to do so.
In addition to the on-line surveys, two public meetings are also planned, one in Gunnison on July 26, and one in Lake City on August 6. Both meetings will be held in the evening with locations and times yet to be determined.
“We want to hear from a wide range of people — local hunters, business owners, landowners, Colorado hunters, non-resident hunters, and the general public — about their perceptions of, and preferences for mule deer management in the Gunnison Basin,” said Brandon Diamond, terrestrial wildlife biologist in Gunnison. “The more input and information we receive from the public, the better the plans we’ll be able to develop.”
At this time, draft versions of the management plans are scheduled to be completed by early October. Those will include a summary of the public process up to that point. They will be posted on-line and the public will be able to review them and submit additional comments.
The final draft management plans will go before the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission for consideration in January. The objectives described in the plans will guide management direction beginning with the 2013 big game season.
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