Hunting season kicks off in Northwest Colorado | CraigDailyPress.com

Hunting season kicks off in Northwest Colorado

Derek Maiolo

A rutting bull elk bugles near Browns Park in Northwest Colorado as he tries to sneak into a nearby herd. Colorado is known for having the largest elk herds in North America, as well as 23 million acres of public lands. Hunters have plenty of options to choose from, however those seeking tags for certain units must sometimes save preference points for 20 years before drawing a license.

With the 2015 hunting season under way, the Elk Hunting Capital of the World is set to welcome hunters from nearby and abroad who area eager to take down the area's prized game.

The season kicked off Aug. 15 with buck pronghorn archery hunting; that season ends Aug. 31. Deer and elk archery season begins west of Interstate 25 on Aug 29. and runs until Aug. 27.

It is important to remember the dangers hunting imposes. Mike Porras, Craig's Public Information Officer for Colorado Parks & Wildlife, had some advice for hunters.

Before going on a hunt, hunters should meet with the area wildlife manager in order to ensure they are up-to-date on new regulations, restrictions and hunting and camping conditions. Bill deVergie and Jim Haskins manage the hunting units in Moffat County.

Weather in the region can change drastically in short amounts of time. Hunters should observe weather forecasts in the areas they plan to hunt, but should also be conscious of sudden changes in conditions.

"Having a safe hunt is critical and that is priority," Porras said.

Recommended Stories For You

Those coming from lower elevations should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness. Headache, loss of appetite, confusion, trouble sleeping and trouble breathing are common symptoms of such sickness. While going to a lower elevation is the best treatment, drinking plenty of water and resting are also effective in treating symptoms. However, those showing symptoms of altitude sickness should not go to a higher altitude until their symptoms go away, something which could take up to four days.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife is now offering chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing for deer hunters. Those who take down a deer are strongly advised to bring the head of the animal to a CPW office to determine if the animal is infected. The disease — similar to mad cow disease — affects the neurological systems of deer, elk and moose, eventually resulting in death. While no humans have ever contracted the disease, officials still want to monitor how the disease is affecting local deer populations.

"There remains a low level of incidents, but it's still out there," Porras explained.

Finally, hunters must understand while Northwest Colorado is home to some of the largest elk herds in the world, success is not guaranteed. Rules and regulations must be followed in order for hunting to be sustainable and responsible.

"Just being here is a success in and of itself," Porras said.

Below are the dates for this year's hunting season. For more information on hunting licenses, registrations, camping and more, visit http://cpw.state.co.us/. Also, contact DeVergie at 970-878-6061 or at the Meeker CPW office at PO Box 1181. Haskins can be reached at 970-871-2842 or at the Hayden CPW office at PO Box 1165.

Hunting season dates:

Archery:

Aug. 15 to 31: Pronghorn (bucks only)

Aug. 29 to Sept. 27: Deer/elk (west of I-25)

Sept. 1 to 20: Pronghorn (either sex)

Sept. 12 to 27: Moose

Oct. 1 to 23 Plains deer (east of 1-25, except unit 140) (first season)

Nov. 4 to 30 Plains deer (east of 1-25, except unit 140) (second season)

Dec. 15 to 31 Plains deer (east of 1-25, except unit 140) (third season)

*Muzzleloader

Sept. 12 to 20: Deer/elk/moose

Sept. 21 to 29: Pronghorn

Oct. 10 to 18: Plains deer (east of I-25, except unit 140)

Rifle:

Oct. 1 to 14: Moose

*Oct. 3 to 9: Pronghorn

Oct. 10 to 14: Separate limited elk (first season)

Oct. 17 to 25: Combined (deer/elk) (second season)

Oct. 24 to Nov. 3 Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140)

Oct. 31 to Nov. 8: Combined (deer/elk) (third season)

Nov. 11 to 15: Combined limited (deer/elk) (4th season)

Dec. 1 to 14 Late plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140)

*By draw only

Go back to article