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Sharpshooting volunteers needed to help cull elk

CPW said it is not a hunting or recreational opportunity, but an intensive elk management effort.

MONTE VISTA, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is looking for qualified volunteers to help with an elk dispersal project in southern Colorado.

For a second year, CPW said it is working with National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to disperse elk in Great Sand Dunes National Park and National Wildlife Refuges in the San Luis Valley.

CPW said actions to disperse the elk include culling. The project will take place through February 2023.

"This is not a hunting or recreational opportunity – it is an intensive elk management effort," CPW said in a press release.

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Interested volunteers must complete an application that outlines strict requirements and those under 18 are ineligible, according to CPW.

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. CPW said those attending the qualifying shoot must hit each target three times in a row without a miss within a three minute time period.

Volunteers who take an antlerless elk are allowed to possess the carcass.

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

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

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