Big game populations are managed to achieve population and sex ratio objectives established for Data Analysis Units. A Data Analysis Unit (DAU) is the geographic area that represents the year-around range of a big game herd and includes all of the seasonal ranges of a specific herd. Each DAU usually is composed of several Game Management Units (GMUs), but in some cases only one GMU makes up a DAU.
The purpose of a DAU plan is to integrate the plans and intentions of Colorado Parks and Wildlife with the concerns and ideas of land management agencies and interested public to determine how a big game herd in a DAU should be managed.
In preparing a DAU plan, agency personnel attempt to balance the biological capabilities of the herd and its habitat with the public's demand for wildlife recreational opportunities.
The primary decisions needed for each DAU plan are how many animals should exist in the DAU and what is the desired sex ratio for the population of big game animals (e.g., the number of males per 100 females).
The selection of population and sex ratio objectives (which are set for a 10-year period of time) drive important decisions in the big game season setting process, namely:
How many animals must be harvested to maintain or move toward the objectives
What types of hunting seasons are required to achieve the harvest objective