elkWe’re still trying to wrap our heads around the spin job coming out of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife folks on how much they intend to gouge hunters and anglers for future fees.

There’s no need to panic over fees doubling, because it’s just one option, they say. The other option is to raise fees, or blackmail us with this option:

Without a fee increase, (wildlife manager Lyle) Sidener said, the agency would lose access to tens of thousands of acres it leases for access by hunters and angler. Fish hatcheries would close. License allotments would be cut. Invasive-species inspections would end. Conservation efforts would stop.

See? Nothing to worry about.

We’re confused by their reasoning that revenues are down because of the national economic downturn, so they need to raise prices even more because people already can’t afford to pay nearly $60 for an elk tag.

Equally driving us crazy, is that in “downplaying the doomsday scenario” to the Denver Post, state officials didn’t bother to tell us exactly much money they are already collecting, or the amount needed to stay fully operational, just bits and pieces.

We know they have cut $40 million over seven years, but had money to run around the state this year and host 18 forums to tell us they might have to double fees.

They collected nearly $44 million just from elk permits, don’t know how much from fishing, but doubling fees for both would raise $16 million.

How did they get into a budget shortfall? We don’t know that either. More importantly, is the money really needed to sustain operations, or to expand operations they already can’t afford?

Lawmakers will have to do a lot of soul-searching, and budget crunching before they approve any increase, including the option of doubling prices.