CWD shows little effect on hunting season |

CWD shows little effect on hunting season

Hotel owners report packed houses

Paul Shockley

Hunters have come and gone for more than two decades at Ron Ringhand’s Bear Valley Inn.

Ringhand, along with several local hotel owners and operators, was spooked a few months back as drought and growing concerns over chronic wasting disease looked to hurt the hunter-driven peak occupancy months throughout the fall.

So much for that.

“I’ve haven’t had one reservation canceled because of CWD,” said Ringhand, adding he hasn’t fielded any questions from hunters about the issue.

“Nothing is different yet about this season.”

Elsewhere, business halfway through bow hunting and muzzle-loading seasons with the more lucrative rifle period for hotels around the corner in October is better than last year.

“We sold out four days last week,” said Carol Hebel, guest services manager at the Holiday Inn.

“I’ve been referring people and

giving directions to other


From Sept. 1, Hebel said the hotel is more than 1,400 guests above the pace this time last year roughly 60 percent of whom are repeat out-of-state hunters from California to Pennsylvania.

Hebel said the hotel’s October reservations are going fast, while some weeks in November are already sold out. The hotel, which employs about 90 people, will soon add more front-desk help to be ready for that period, she said.

Trena Everding, manager at Travelodge, said September numbers are “a few thousand” from 2001’s pace. September, despite the arrival of bow hunters and muzzleloaders, has been slower in years past with children returning to school and with many families having wrapped up summer vacations. Sept. 11 and a weakened economy didn’t help last year.

Add CWD to this year’s picture, and September expectations were not high, Everding said.

“I thought it would be slower,” she said. “I’m a little bit surprised simply because we haven’t done anything special.”

Hebel attributes the increased business to the Department of Wildlife’s decision to issue more hunting licenses this season. The DOW has reported some 123,000 “antlerless” and either-sex elk licenses were made available this year, which was an increase of 14,000 from last year.

Hunters spend some $7 million annually in Moffat County, according to DOW.

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