Northwest Colorado offers variety for hunters

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Key Information

ARCHERY

Deer/elk: west of I-25 (and Unit 140) Aug. 25 to Sept. 23

Antelope

Bucks only Aug. 15-31

Either sex Sept. 1-20

MUZZLELOADING RIFLE

Deer/elk (by drawing only) Sept. 8-16

Antelope Oct. 21-29

RIFLE COMBINED DEER/ELK

Separate limited elk Oct. 13-17

Combined (deer/elk) Oct. 20-28

Combined (deer/elk) Nov. 3-9

Combined limited (deer/elk) Nov. 14-18

RIFLE ANTELOPE

(by drawing only) Oct. 6-12

BLACK BEAR

Limited (by drawing only) Sept. 2-30

Archery (unlimited) Sept. 2-23

Muzzleloading (unlimited) Sept. 8-16

Rifle (unlimited): Oct. 13-Nov. 18

To participate in unlimited bear season, a hunter must also hold a deer or elk license for the same unit(s) and season.

Big-game license fees

License Resident Non-resident

Elk(cow) $46 $254

Elk(bull) $49 $504

Deer $34 $304

Antelope $34 $304

Bear $44 $254

Fishing (annual) $26 $56

Fishing (5-day) N/A $21

Fishing (1-day) $9 $9

— Northwest Colorado has been described as a hunters' paradise.

And with herds this size, it's no wonder why.

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the White River elk herd south of Craig has about 40,000 elk, making it the largest migratory elk herd in North America.

The Bears Ears herd, north of Craig, has about 12,000 elk, according to the DOW.

The elk populations can be controversial at times, but during hunting season, the only concern area hunters and guides have is that there are plenty of elk in the field.

And the thousands of hunters who make the trek to the region every year usually meet with success.

Hunters took home 12,000 elk from the White River Herd in recent years. Hunters took another 8,000 elk from the Bears Ears herd.

The more than 20,000 elk killed in Northwest Colorado accounted for more than 30 percent of the elk killed statewide in 2004.

If hunters are new to the game or if they want to hunt some of the best hunting units in the region, they can contact area outfitters, who can take them on a guided hunt.

But if hunters aren't interested in taking down one of the region's many elk, there are plenty of other options.

In the Routt National Forest, hunters can go after black bears and mountain lions. The region also has wild turkey, deer and antelope.

Ned Miller, sportsman information specialist for the Craig Chamber of Commerce, said hunters can legally obtain two deer and two elk licenses apiece.

"You can fill the freezer and still have a go at it," he said.

About one-third of Moffat County is considered a trophy area, meaning you have to wait more than 15 years to draw for the opportunity.

Hunters must reapply each year.

Miller and the Chamber staff try to make all hunters feel welcome before each of the four main seasons.

"We serve them chili two days prior to the beginning of the season," Miller said. "We try to spoil the heck out of them."

For more information about the region's many hunting opportunities, call the Craig Chamber of Commerce at (970) 824-5689.

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