PWC approves lion quotas, tweaks falconry rules at September meeting

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved mountain lion harvest quotas for the upcoming lion season in the state last week at the commission’s September meeting in Glenwood Springs, the agency announced in a news release.

During Friday’s morning session, the Parks and Wildlife Commission also denied a citizen petition requesting that crossbows be approved for use during archery seasons. Commissioners also approved changes to falconry regulations to make it easier for non-resident falconers to participate in falconry events in Colorado, the release stated.

The meeting was held at The Hotel Denver in Glenwood Springs.

Each year, the commission approves lion quotas, which establish the maximum allowable of harvest for lions in each game management unit. The commission established a statewide quota of 630 for the 2012-2013 season, an increase of 12 over last year, according to the release.

The quota includes an increase of up to four additional lions in the Hayman burn area where newly introduced bighorn sheep are being impacted by lion predation. Quotas were adjusted in 13 different other areas of the state, the release stated.

The 2012-2013 season begins on Nov. 21 and runs through March 31, 2013.

In other business, commissioners denied a citizen petition to the Parks and Wildlife Commission requesting approval of the use of crossbows during Colorado’s archery season. Currently crossbows are only allowed during the big-game rifle seasons, according to the release.

Bob Goode of Buena Vista, who submitted the petition, argued that allowing crossbows during archery season could help to recruit new hunters. Several members of the Colorado Bowhunters Association testified against the proposal, the release stated.

Staff from Colorado Parks and Wildlife testified that the current structure, harvest and participation in the existing archery season seem to be functioning properly and, on those grounds, staff did not see any biological or management basis for the change, according to the release.

Commissioners also approved a change in falconry regulations to reduce the paperwork necessary for falconers from outside of Colorado to participate in competitive events in Colorado. Birds brought into the state for these competitions will still require a health certificate from a veterinarian before being brought into the state in order to protect the health of native species, the release stated.

The commission also began work to implement House Bill 12-1330, which allows individuals with license suspensions of at least 10 years to petition the commission for reinstatement but only after serving half of their suspension or 15 years of a lifetime suspension. Commissioners discussed a proposed administrative process that will require people requesting reinstatement to submit a package of information, including a letter explaining why the petitioner is unlikely to violate wildlife statutes in the future, according to the release.

Under the draft regulations, individuals who are considered and approved for reinstatement will be required to pay a $300 reinstatement fee, successfully complete a hunter education course and perform 40 hours of service on a Colorado Parks and Wildlife-approved project. The commission will review the draft regulation for final approval at a future meeting, the release stated.

Individuals whose hunting and fishing license privileges are suspended in Colorado are also prohibited from hunting or fishing in 37 other states under the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, according to the release.

Commissioners also received an update on the future cost of non-resident hunting licenses in Colorado. The cost of non-resident hunting licenses are set by Colorado law in accordance with the annual Denver-Boulder Consumer Price Index, the release stated.

The current CPI would increase the cost of most non-resident big game licenses by $5 to $10 in 2013. The new rates will be considered for approval by the commission at its November meeting in Yuma, according to the release.