Colorado Parks and Wildlife asking for public comment on herd management near Grand Junction and Rifle

CPW seeks public comment on herd management plans near Grand Junction and Rifle
CPW seeks public comment on herd management plans near Grand Junction and Rifle(Colorado Parks and Wildlife)
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 5:06 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking public comment on herd management plans drafted for deer and elk north of Grand Junction and for deer north of Rifle.

The following information is provided by CPW:

Rifle Creek deer herd

Since 1993, the Rifle Creek deer herd population has been largely stable between 6,000 - 8,000 deer, which is lower than the previous herd plan objective of 7,700 - 9,400 deer.

In the new deer draft herd management plan for 2022 - 2032, CPW proposes a reduction in population objective range to 6,200 - 8,200 deer. This would not be a reduction of deer numbers in Rifle Creek, but a management of the deer population at the current population average.

CPW also proposes to change the sex-ratio objective from 30 - 35 bucks per 100 does to 25 - 32 bucks per 100 does. This new range allows CPW managers to balance the management of chronic wasting disease (CWD) while maintaining a quality buck hunt.

Bookcliffs deer herd

The Bookcliffs deer herd north of Grand Junction near the Utah border has been stagnant at historically low levels for nearly two decades. The previous herd management plan was 10,000 - 12,000 deer.

CPW proposes a reduction in the population objective to 5,000 - 8,000 deer. This allows CPW to manage the D-11 herd in sync with the habitat condition and capability while increasing the resiliency and sustainability of the herd.

Additionally, CPW recommends a slight decrease from the current sex ratio of 30 - 35 bucks per 100 does to 27 - 32 bucks per 100 does. This slight decrease allows for CWD management while maintaining or increasing hunting opportunity.

Yellow Creek elk herd

The Yellow Creek elk herd north of I-70 has steadily increased over the last couple of decades. Following the 2020 hunting season, CPW estimated about 12,000 elk in this herd, exceeding the previous herd management plan’s population objective of 7,000 - 9,000 elk. This objective range was set before improvements in modeling techniques, so CPW proposes a change in the objective range to 8,500 - 10,500 elk.

Since the GMUs in this DAU offer over-the-counter licenses during the archery and rifle seasons, CPW expects to maintain the current sex-ratio objective for the Yellow Creek elk herd at 18 - 25 bulls per 100 cows.

Draft plans are open to public review from now until Thursday, Feb. 21. Input can be submitted by emailing Genevieve Fuller at

For more information, please visit

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