Colorado Landowner Voucher Program up for review

robby denning

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This is sometimes a hot topic. Right up front, I'll say I play both sides of the fence as I've bought the vouchers before but have also seen the downside of climbing voucher prices and other issues. Anyway, they're having another meeting:

LANDOWNER VOUCHER DISCUSSION ON TAP MAY 10

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife is inviting sportsmen to attend a town hall meeting with agency director Rick Cables on Thursday May 10 to discuss proposed improvements to the Landowner Voucher Program.

The meeting is scheduled to be held in the Hunter Education Building at the agency's Grand Junction regional office, located 711 Independent Avenue. The meeting is scheduled to run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. All members of the public are invited to attend.

The landowner voucher program offers hunting licenses to private landowners whose farms and ranches provide habitat for big game. The program has evolved over the course of five decades and today enrolls approximately 5,000 properties across Colorado that allow hunting for deer, elk and pronghorn.

"The landowner voucher program helps us manage Colorado's wildlife by building relationships with private landowners, encouraging good stewardship practices and providing additional hunting opportunity," said Cables. "Because private lands play such a key role in supporting Colorado’s wildlife, we all have a stake in strengthening this important program."

Two years ago, the former Division of Wildlife convened a committee of landowners, sportsmen, outfitters and wildlife managers to address concerns that had built up through the years. The committee held more than 20 public meetings and dozens of informal meetings across the state. Members developed a package of recommendations which include tightening enforcement of the program's rules and providing a stronger connection between the voucher program and the habitat value of participating ranches.

Under current rules, up to 15 percent of deer, elk and pronghorn licenses in each totally limited hunting unit are made available through a draw process for landowners who own at least 160 contiguous acres of agricultural land. The licenses are valid throughout the entire game management unit where the private land is located and can be sold or transferred to any eligible hunter.

The recommendations for improving the program include changing the proportion of licenses set aside for landowners and tightening up program eligibility rules to ensure that participating properties are used by big game animals. The recommendations also call for closer enforcement of program rules, including eligibility requirements and bans on "brokering" of hunting licenses.

"We've worked for a long time to understand the concerns sportsmen and landowners raised about the program and how it is currently operated," said Cables. "We believe these changes will improve the program and strengthen the partnership between landowners and sportsmen that we need to best manage big game populations that depend on private lands."

Sportsmen, landowners and interested members of the public are asked to call the committee's facilitator, Dave Chadwick at 303-291-7174 to reserve their spot. You can also send an email to [email protected].

Who: Director Rick Cables, Colorado Parks and Wildlife

What: Town Hall discussion - Landowner Voucher Program

When: May 10, 2012 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Where: Hunter Education Building, 711 Independent Ave., Grand Junction. For more information about the Landowner Voucher Program, please visit:
http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame/PriorityLandowner/Pages/PriorityLandowner.aspx
 

In God We Trust

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This is a long time coming. I do not believe these tags should go to the highest bidder. The current system goes against everything that is great about the American hunting system. Tags are not supposed to go to the wealthy. Programs like this are what steer the average Joe from hunting.
 

Muleyhunter92

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I am a average joe, and I buy a landowner tag sometime. I think it can be a good thing to pay the land owner for feeding the wildlife that lives on his place. It keeps them from gitting bitter at the deer and elk for eating the alfalfa that he planted to feed his livestock. I live in Idaho and know lots of ranchers that hate deer and elk. This is a touchy subject, like Robby said.
 

dirtytough

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I kind of think they would be better if you lost your points, just like when getting drawn for a tag. It would reduce point creep for the guys that can't afford to buy a tag.
 

evan williams

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I have no lived in two states that have/had landowner vouchers. One got rid of them all together and now Colorado is having the discussion!!! I am all for landowners getting tags that they can turn around and use as "supplemental" income BUT not when they go to the guy/gal with the deepest pocket. Hunting is becoming a wealthy mans sport faster and faster with the few western states that have a TON of public grounds our last safe haven. I agree with the above statements...if I were to purchase a landowner tag...it is GOOD ONLY ON THAT RANCHERS PROPERTY.
 

wapitibob

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Game Dept's don't have the money to pay them directly. The transferable tags become a way for the Dept to essentially print their own. If the public is willing to pay a fee that will totally fund that reimbursement, and those LO tags then went into the public draw, that would be a decent program in my opinion but I have yet to see where the public hunter is willing to fund it. You could be talking a $50 fee.
 
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T43

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The Idaho Senate almost passed a bill this year that would have allowed landowners to sell their tags for personal profit. While I see a need to help mitigate costs associated with crop loss to wildlife I was adamently opposed to the idea of these tags becomming a personl profit system. Here is my personal opinion on how an lap reimbursement system should work.

All LAP tags currently come out of the NR pool that means for every LAP tag F&G loses out on NR funding and a NR loses a chance at a tag. To resolve that issue I would allow LAP participants 2 options. Option 1 would be to keep the LAP tag and allow it to be used or transferred but not sold. In order to qualify for a LAP tag the land owner must allow access eliminating the trespass fee some have used to get around the current tag sale laws. Option 2 would give LAP tag holders the option of turning their tags in to LAP draw. Here is how the LAP draw would work. Both residents and NRs could put in for the LAP tags entered into the pool. All tags would cost the same as an NR tag (after all it is NR tag funds being lost by the F&G). Tags would be considered extra tags for residents ie. a resident could draw a LAP tag along with another limited entry or general tag but must pay the NR price for the LAP tag. Funds generated by the LAP draw including the draw entry fee would first go to cover the price of administering the draw system then be devided giving F&G a small percentage to help cover the revenue lost to the NR tag pool and the rest being awarded to the participating landowners. Assuming the application fee would more than cover the actual cost of running the draw and that the draw would be used by both residents and NR applicants it should guarentee that each landowner who participated would receive no less than the cost of a NR tag. It would be possible they could get even more depending on the ammount of applicants.
 

In God We Trust

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If Colorado scraps the LO tag altogether the land owners who sell the tags to the highest bidder have no one to blame but themselves. What these people are doing is pure B.S driven by greed. If they didn't try to play the system then the public would not be outraged. Because of the way these tags are handled I am against LO tags.
 

dotman

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Land owner vouchers don't bother me, but having them go to the highest bidder pisses me off to no end!
X2... If it wasn't abused. They should not be used to conduct a second business. I say take them away and if the rancher allows public access for hunting then reimburse the land owner, they already have this system in place. I bet these same land owners are also applying for property damage by big game to the state on top of selling tags to the highest bidder.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Didn't see anything on the CDOW website yet.

Would be surprised if much changed as the DOW likes the program and do the landowners. We're only 1/3 of the pie.

On an inside note.

I personally know a landowner in Colorado Vail ski country. Has a relatively small ranch (few thousand acres) that has been appraised at $8 Million. It's prime "trophy home" country and he's been approached several times with offers, of which he's refused. This is what he told me:

"I'd hate to see this ranch go into homes so I look for every reason to keep it. The $20,000 or so we make in Landowner vouchers gives me one more reason to keep it."

I quoted him, but it's a paraphrase of a few conversations we've had.

And you can hunt his ranch if you buy the voucher from him, so public is not locked out anymore (actually less) than before the Landowner program.

Just a view from the other side.
 

dotman

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Well maybe you could get him and the RMEF to discuss possibly setting up a conservation easement?
 
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