Animals roam Rio Blanco County |

Animals roam Rio Blanco County

Luke Graham

Rio Blanco offers some of the best hunting for elk in the state.

“Elk are incredibly strong in those units (Game Management Unit 12 and 13), Especially in the White River region,” said Randy Hampton, the public information specialist for the Colorado Division of Wildlife northwest region.

Although the hunting for elk is good, the chance of getting a trophy bull is low because of the unlimited bull elk licenses.

The elk are generally up at higher elevations in the eastern portions of GMU 12 during the early seasons, and then they move west to lower elevations as hunting pressure and snow depth increases.

As for deer hunting, Hampton said it is really coming back strong in Rio Blanco County.

“We rebounded pretty well for deer,” he said. “We have seen a lot more deer in western Rio Blanco County and Rangely.”

Deer hunting in Rio Blanco is good in GMUs 21 and 22.

A good rule to follow, Hampton said, is the west portion of Rio Blanco is good for deer hunting, and the eastern part is better for elk hunting.

One possible change to the area could be the closure of hunting areas near the community of Rio Blanco. The areas around the community of Rio Blanco are units in the former naval oil shale reserve.

The DOW had a 20-year contract with the oil company to allow hunting on the land. The contract will end after this year, and Hampton said the DOW is trying to renew a contract to with the energy company to allow hunters to continue to hunt on the land.

As for antelope, Hampton said the Rio Blanco area doesn’t have the strength some other areas do.

“Most of the pronghorn hunting will be north of the Rio Blanco area,” Hampton said. “If you’re going to pronghorn hunt, the area between Meeker and Craig is strong.” n

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