Herd management plan proposals will be presented in Zoom webinar


RBC | Wildlife managers and biologists with Colorado Parks and Wildlife are preparing a long range plan for deer and elk herds in the western parts of Rio Blanco, Garfield, and Mesa Counties. A public meeting will be held to gather input for the draft plans for deer in the Bookcliff herd (game management units 21 and 30) as well as elk in the Yellow Creek herd (game management units 21, 22, 30, 31, and 32). 

Proposals for the two herd management plans will be presented in a public Zoom webinar on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. Anyone interested in learning more about the management of the deer or elk in these areas can click on the following link to register for the webinar: tiny.cc/CPWZoom (This is a shortened link, type it into your browser to be redirected to CPW’s page.)

The Bookcliff deer herd has seen continued habitat changes since the previous herd management plan was approved in 2009. Growth in outdoor recreation in the area has resulted in increased habitat disturbance and fragmentation. In addition, managers are monitoring the impacts from drought, CWD, and predation on this herd. The current deer herd is estimated at 7,450 with the current population objective at 10,000 to 12,000 deer. Just over 80 percent of the land in game management units 21 and 30 is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The Yellow Creek elk herd is currently estimated at 12,420 animals with a population objective of 7,000 to 9,000. Similar to the deer herd in the area, elk are faced with challenges from increasing recreational activity, disease, drought, predation, and wildfire. The Yellow Creek herd roams across the 3,748 square miles covered by the plan with 70 percent of the land managed by the BLM. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife sets management objectives for big game herds in Colorado and uses those objectives to set hunting regulations for specific areas. Herd Management Plans, like the one for the Bookcliff deer herd and the Yellow Creek elk herd, are crafted in consultation with area public lands agencies, affected county commissioners, and the public. Public meetings like the virtual meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m., allow the public to weigh in on proposed management decisions. Herd management plans recommend population objectives as well as guiding the preferred ratio of bucks-to-does and bulls-to-cows in an area. 

Anyone who is interested in learning more about big game management or the specifics of the proposed management plan for these herds, should plan to participate in the Zoom webinar. Zoom webinars are available via computer, smartphone, tablet, or via a call in phone number by using the provided link.