Elk NetworkHunters Sought to Reduce Colorado Elk Herd

General | November 17, 2022

Below is a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is in search of qualified volunteers to assist with the second year of an elk dispersal project in Great Sand Dunes National Park and National Wildlife Refuges in the San Luis Valley.

CPW is working with the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to implement ungulate management plans within this area. Along with these efforts is an opportunity for the public to participate as qualified volunteers to assist the partner agencies with elk distribution throughout the complex. Dispersal actions include culling.

The elk dispersal project is ongoing through Feb. 2023. This project uses volunteers and CPW staff to effect elk management. This is not a hunting or recreational opportunity – it is an intensive elk management effort.

The volunteer commitment is as much as two days of effort. Volunteers who take an antlerless elk are allowed to possess the carcass.

Interested volunteers must complete an application that outlines strict requirements. Youths under the age of 18 are ineligible for this opportunity.

Those who advance through the application process then must complete a shooting qualification hitting small targets the size of an elk’s vitals at 200 and 300 yards. Those attending the qualifying shoot must hit each target three times in a row without a miss within a three-minute time period.

“This qualification has proven to be difficult for even the most seasoned elk hunters,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Rick Basagoitia. “This standard is likely the minimum allowable standard given the difficulty of the work we need volunteers to do.”

Applicants also must pass a background check, sign volunteer agreements and will operate under a dispersal coordinator.

Once interested volunteers complete the application, they will be contacted regarding scheduling the shooting qualification.

(Photo credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)