Camouflage can’t hide numbers

Hunting numbers on track to be strong

Brandon Johnson

Hunting season has barely started, but local businesses already are seeing an increase in sales.

“We’re seeing a little bit more foot traffic,” Craig Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Annette Gianinetti said.

Gianinetti said the archery hunters who started showing up late last month have boosted local business but that the major influx of hunters won’t come until the middle of October when rifle season starts.

“We’re not in full swing yet by any means,” Gianinetti said.

Archery season for deer and elk started Aug. 27 and runs through Sept. 25. Muzzleloading season starts Saturday and runs through Sept. 18. Rifle season, which is commonly the busiest time of year in Craig, starts Oct. 15 and ends Nov. 20.

“This is the biggest part of our tourism,” Gianinetti said about hunting season.

The Chamber has chili lunches planned for rifle-hunting season, and the Chamber Ambassadors have chili dinners planned as a way to extend hospitality to out-of-town hunters.

Division of Wildlife officials won’t have a final tally on the number of tags sold in Moffat County units until March, but not much is expected to change from last year.

“We do have last year’s numbers, and I don’t think too much has changed, but if gas prices stay high, that may have an effect,” said Division of Wildlife spokesman Tyler Baskfield. “Especially for the guys who drive out just to buy licenses over the counter.”

Gary Cook, owner and manager of the Taylor Street Bed and Breakfast, said he has seen a slight boost in his business from archery hunters, but he expects a major increase next month.

“We get real busy during rifle season,” Cook said.

Cook said archery season has been a little slower this year because some of his regular customers from back east didn’t draw tags this year.

At Craig Sports on Victory Way, owner Joe Herod said bow hunters have been buying calls and knives in the past few days.

“It’s been pretty steady,” Herod said.

He said customers also are calling and coming in to get ready for rifle season.

Hunters have been buying licenses, maps and ammunition to get ready for rifle season.

Leftover licenses went on sale early last month and have remained steady, Herod said. He sells about 12 licenses a day.

Hunting guides also are gearing up for the season.

Linda and Kenny Hyatt, owners of Diamond H Ranch near Slater Creek, said they plan to start hunting this morning.

For the past few weeks, the Hyatts have been scouting for places to hunt.

Kenny Hyatt said the land looks a little dry and dusty, but he doesn’t think it will hurt hunting.

“We will kill game no matter what,” Hyatt said.

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