With vast tracts of public land and sizable animal herds, Grand County, which encompasses Kremmling, Hot Sulphur Springs, Granby and Grand Lake, also can apply its grand namesake to big game hunting.
“The hunting opportunities there are excellent, especially for mule deer,” maintains Colorado Parks and Wildlife Communication Manager Mike Porras. “It definitely has its own unique opportunities and tons of hunting acreage.”
The Middle Park deer herd is modeled at more than 15,350, with a target objective of 11,500, making deer a primary target for many hunters.
“Historically, this region has always been known for its deer hunting,” says Lyle Sidener, CPW Grand County area wildlife manager. “It has lots of low-lying central sage brush areas surrounded by mountains, which is what gets deer through winter. There’s also a long history of deer research here, from habitat use to nutrition. Deer here have probably been studied more than they have anywhere else.”
Adding to the region’s hunting opportunities is its vast acreage, comprising units 15, 18, 27, 28, 37, 181 and 371. “There’s a high percentage of public land here to hunt,” Sidener adds. “That’s largely what makes it such a prime hunting destination.”
Every fall, hunters come from the Front Range and out of state to the area, joining a strong population of local hunters to fill the area’s hills, restaurants, campgrounds, hotels and more. The region also harbors a robust outfitter business, with the area home to several of the state’s busiest guides and outfitting services.
Driving this demand is the area’s elk and moose populations, Sidener adds. Moose have migrated down from North Park to Middle Park and elk herds are also blossoming. The region’s three elk herds — Gore Pass, Troublesome Creek and Williams Fork — total nearly 15,000.
Hot spots for hunting include Gore Pass, William Peak, Willow Creek Pass, and Parkview, Elk and Grouse mountains. Big bulls also can be found south of the boundary for Rocky Mountain National Park in the Meadow Creek area, Sidener says. “That area is pretty under-utilized because it’s so hard to get to,” he says. “While there’s no hunting in the park, elk don’t necessarily understand that boundary — but they figure it out pretty quickly.”