Hunting season starts in Northwest Colorado | SteamboatToday.com

Hunting season starts in Northwest Colorado

Patrick Kelly







Expect to start seeing lots of blaze orange around town — hunting season is underway.

Archery season for deer and elk begins Saturday and hunting guides like Eric Hamilton of Big Rack Outfitters are ready to get out of the office and into the field.

"We've done a lot of preparation, a lot of leg work," Hamilton said. "Now, we finally get to put it all together and actually start guiding."

Bow hunting is popular with many hunters, and Hamilton said the beginning of the hunting season is the most enjoyable time to guide.

"We're always excited for the kickoff of archery season," he said. "It's actually our favorite season."

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Archery season for deer and elk runs through Sept. 25 and is followed by muzzeloading, which runs from Sept. 10 to 18, and the first riffle season, starting on Oct. 15.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras said there are few important changes that hunters should be aware of for the 2016 season.

First, to be eligible for a refund on a hunting license, the license must be submitted to CPW postmarked at least 30 days prior to the start of the season for which it is valid. There is also a new $15 processing fee.

Previously, CPW would accept licenses for refunds up to a day before the start of the season and did not charge a fee.

"That's important — hunters need to keep that in mind," Porras said.

There are also two changes to hunter education requirements.

Hunters age 50 or older and U.S. military personnel defined as active-duty, reserve-duty, veteran and National Guard are allowed to test out of hunter education requirements by passing an online test.

"It gets them out of the class if they pass," Porras said.

In an effort to get new hunters in the field, CPW is now offering apprentice licenses for free. The requirement to take the hunter education course is deferred for one year with an apprentice license but the holder of the license must be at least 10-years-old and accompanied by a hunter over 18 who has had education.

Hunters also have a new fashion option this year with fluorescent pink now satisfying the blaze requirement for hunters using firearms.

It every hunters' responsibly to be familiar with the area where they are pursuing game and CPW officers are always available to answer questions, Porras said.

The Meeker CPW office can be reached via telephone at 970-878-6090 and Steamboat Springs at 970-870-2197.

And regardless of whether or not you bag the big buck or walk away empty handed, Porras said success in hunting doesn't necessarily come from harvesting an animal.

"The success comes from spending times outdoors with friends and family in one of the most beautiful states in the country," he said.

For information on season dates and license fees visit http://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/BigGameDatesandFees.aspx

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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