By JEFF SWANSON
Daily Press writer
If you are a Northwest Colorado deer hunter who was unsuccessful in filling your tag this year, there is still a chance to harvest that record buck.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife, in cooperation with the Motherwell Ranch near Hayden, will be holding a special deer management hunt from Jan. 9 through Jan. 13.
The hunt will be held on an 1800-acre section of the private ranch, just south of Hayden in Routt County.
When the land was purchased to develop the private game ranch, a number of wild animals still remained on the property.
According to Colorado law, private ranches may not contain wild animals within their boundaries.
"That's what we are facing here," DOW District Wildlife Manager Bill DeVergie said. "We are not really certain how many natural deer or elk remain on the ranch, but we think that we have a pretty good idea. We hope that by holding this special hunt, we can get the number of wild animals that are still on the ranch reduced to a much more manageable level.
"At least we'll know a little better about how many animals are still there."
DeVergie said that the hunt will not only help to reduce the number of mule deer on the ranch, but possibly elk as well.
"We know that there are not a large number of elk on the ranch, but we think that there may be about a dozen or so still remaining," he said. "We plan to issue permits that will be good for two animals, regardless of species, so that will help to give us an idea about the numbers that we are dealing with.
"As far as the deer go, there may be a few nice bucks out there, but we haven't seen any that are really big," he said. "You never know, though, because you can't see them all."
Licenses will cost the same as they would during the regular hunting season, with resident hunters being charged $20.25, and non-residents paying $270.25.
"It is a great opportunity for people that still want to get out and get a deer yet this year," DeVergie said. "Not to mention, it is a good way for us to help control the population on this private ranch."
If the initial hunt does not meet management goals, additional opportunities may still be available after Jan. 13.
"We're going to see how it goes," DeVergie said. "We want to get the herd reduced to a level where it won't continue to reproduce in future years. It is not only what we must do legally, but good for the health of the herd."
Licenses for the controlled hunt will go on sale at 8 a.m., Jan. 4, 2002 at the DOW Office in Meeker, and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. All laws that apply during hunting season will also apply for this special hunt.
For more information, contact the DOW's Meeker office at (970) 878-6090.