How Avid Hunters Boost Ranching for Wildlife
What is Colorado’s Ranching for Wildlife (RFW) program and how do hunters help the program? The RFW initiative coordinates hunting access on 1.2 million acres of private ranches throughout Colorado. Many of these properties are adjacent to public land. Consequently, these large ranches offer important wildlife habitat. Ranching for Wildlife helps improve livestock grazing systems as well as encouraging successful hunting in Colorado.
Hunters Boost Ranching for Wildlife
The licensed Colorado hunter also contributes in many ways to the goals of Ranching for Wildlife. First, successful hunts assist with wildlife management by culling out unbalanced wildlife populations. Next, hunters assist financially because many participating ranches donate the monies to conservation organizations. These funds most often go to improving additional wildlife habitats. Every year, the Ranching for Wildlife program helps create 50,000 acres of better wildlife habitat.
Another way hunters help is by providing feedback. It is important to measure the success of any program. Hunters involved with Ranching for Wildlife offer valuable feedback and on-the-ground details used for hunting strategies. Colorado Parks and Wildlife regularly surveys the hunters.
Hunters & Points
These are not canned hunts. Experiences vary throughout the state, from the eastern plains through the Colorado Rocky Mountains. They are not easy hunts but remain extremely popular. It may require five or more points to draw male or either sex licenses. If a ranch requires a high number of preference points to draw a license, it does not necessarily mean the ranch boasts a large population of big-game. Preference points may instead refer to the reputation of the ranch for high-quality hunting.
How Do Hunters Obtain Hunting Licenses?
Only residents of Colorado may obtain licenses and hunt on the private Colorado ranches signed up with the Ranching for Wildlife program. A third of the ranches participate in use hunting opportunities. Seasons and license allocations are in place to increase hunter harvest on member ranches and public lands.
Licenses are specific to species and the ranch. The species offered by individual ranches varies. The complete list of species includes elk, deer, Pronghorn, black bear, turkey, moose, and bighorn sheep. A set of rules developed by each landowner will be given to the winning licensee. Licenses are available through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s draw process.
How Hunters Apply for RFW Draw
Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Big Game Brochure becomes available in the middle of February. Look for the application in the section for Ranching for Wildlife. Licenses for turkey and bighorn sheep are issued through a special drawing described in the brochure. Applications are due in early April.
Guidelines for Hunters
The private landowners plan the distribution of hunters across the acreage to increase the chances of success. Hunting guides are often provided free of charge. Tipping guides for free services is forbidden. Some of the ranches require hunters to hire private guides; and some ranches offer additional services such as packing and lodging.
Request information about Colorado hunting real estate and Ranching for Wildlife. Contact Dave Harrigan or Hunter Harrigan at Harrigan Land Company at (800) 524-1818. Specializing in large ranch and recreational properties in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah.