Chamber records fewer walk-in visits this year |

Chamber records fewer walk-in visits this year

Paul Shockley

When measuring the health of this year’s hunting seasons, numbers tracked over 2002 by the Craig Chamber of Commerce don’t tell the whole story, officials said


“It’s looking a lot better this year,” Tony Stoffle, head of sportsman information at the Craig Chamber, said of the most recent seasons and likely harvest.

This, despite numbers tracking walk-in visits and telephone

inquiries being off from the pace set in 2001.

Through November, Stoffle alone recorded 1,404 walk-in visits over 2002, compared to 1,641 in 2001. Telephone inquiries through the same month are off at 1,384, compared to 2,050 from last year, according to chamber figures tracked exclusively by Stoffle.

“There were calls someone else might have taken,” said Stoffle, adding that he isn’t at the office 40 hours in a week.

Contacts including both walk-in and telephone calls during

Northwest Colorado’s lucrative hunting months of September through November are up this year, with 1,744 total contacts from 1,677 in 2001

Tyler Baskfield, public information officer with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said recently harvests statewide “look to be

pretty good, but it’s not going to reach the 60,000 figure from


Official numbers statewide, or specific to Northwest Colorado’s prime hunting units, won’t

available until the spring,

Baskfield said.

Stoffle said word-of-mouth figures put the state’s harvest between 50,000 and 55,000 heads. He estimates between 35,000 and 40,000 of those come from hunting units west of Steamboat Springs, east to the Utah border and south to U.S. Highway 70.

Numbers both in the Craig area and statewide dropped considerably in 2001.

“Last year was one of our worst seasons ever,” Stoffle said.

“When you increase the cost of licenses, you have a kind of a protest year but it seems we rebounded pretty nicely,” said Baskfield, adding he suspects the state’s Chronic

Wasting Disease testing capability might have encouraged hunters to return.

Through November, hunters had submitted 20,800 heads for testing, while DOW had published 16,000 results on its Web site, he said.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 to at

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