Sportsman's Paradise

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When it comes to the six prime game management units of the Middle Park region around Kremmling, Dean Billington says taking the road less traveled is the key.

The owner of Bull Basin Guides and Outfitters, Billington won't reveal his favorite spots, but he will offer the advice of getting off the roads in units characterized by steep, high elevation terrain with private property lining the valley floors.

"I see guys putz-ing around the roads on their jeeps and ATVs," Billington said. "It's the guys who get off the beaten path and go one more ridge over, where there's absolutely awesome deer hunting."

Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton pointed out that Middle Park's mild winters and habitats with good forage bases have resulted in healthy deer numbers -- approximately 12,000, well more than the DOW's population objective for the units.

That's why Kremmling is known as the Sportsman's Paradise.

Billington focuses on hunting these high numbers of mature mule deer bucks during the third and fourth rifle seasons when the combination of cold weather and hunting pressure pushes the deer out of the heavily timbered high country.

"A big mule deer buck is more likely to be careless this time of year, and much more active during the day as he searches for does that are in heat," Billington said.

He said areas north and east of Kremmling in GMUs 18 and 181, such as Black Mountain and Wolford Mountain Reservoir, are great for capitalizing on these seasonal migrations.

Hester Hunting Company guide Forest Hester agreed that GMU 18 offers the highest potential for harvesting both large deer and elk.

"Overall, it's my best area," Hester said. "For quality and numbers it's an awfully good unit with lots of public and private land."

The Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce in downtown Kremmling caters to hunters' needs and can serve as a reference for the area. Licenses can be purchased at Kremmling Mercantile, Sportsman's Quikstop and Shop & Hop.

For more area hunting information, call the Kremmling Division of Wildlife office at (970) 725-6200 or the Kremmling forest service office at (970) 724-3000 to check forest service maps for road closures, restrictions and public land information.

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