Archery season deemed a success | SteamboatToday.com

Archery season deemed a success

Meat-processing companies see average-plus business

Doug Crowl

— After two weeks worth of hunting, reports from the state’s Department of Wildlife are predicting a successful big game archery season.

“They seem to be doing really well,” Colorado Division of Wildlife District Manager Jim Haskins said. “The last I heard, everybody was seeing elk.”

Haskins patrols the California Park and Slater Park areas north of Hayden.

Those spots are under the second year of hunter restrictions to reduce the stress on elk.

The hunters who drew tags for those hunting areas are doing well and say they are happy about the conditions, Haskins said.

“It’s nice for the hunters because they don’t notice any crowds,” Haskins said.

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However, since hunters there are on draw tag only, which are picked up at a DOW office instead of local merchants, not many are going into Hayden businesses, said Lorraine Johnson, owner of Rainbow Sporting Goods in Hayden.

“Things are slow,” she said. “There is nothing to bring them into the store.”

Hunting pressure was down in and around the Service Creek Wilderness, too, said Libbie Miller, DOW District manager for that portion of the Routt National Forest.

“A lot of folks are going over to Dunckley Pass,” she said.

In more southern portions of south Routt County, it’s business as usual.

“We’ve seen a lot of the hunters coming in,” said Russell Gehl, owner of the Toponas Country Store.

Gehl also processes big game meat in his store.

“I think processing is up from last year,” he said. “But we haven’t sat down and done the numbers. If we have a drop, I don’t think it’s very much.”

Gehl said he’s had about 30 animals brought into the store, including one deer, two cow elk and 27 bull elk.

The largest of the bulls was carrying a 6-by-6 rack. It was shot in the Gore Pass area.

“Most are in the four-by-four and four-by-five range,” Gehl said.

Bruce Sigler, DOW District manager in Yampa, said between Gehl and Jim Hammer, another processor in south Routt County, about 50 animals have been brought in for processing.

Steamboat Spring Meat and Seafood Company’s numbers on animal processing also are strong. Plant Manager Chip Jespersen said the company has received 30 animals, including two antelope, eight deer, one mountain lion and the rest bull elk.

“It’s picking up, day by day,” Jespersen said.

He estimated that the company is on a similar pace to last year at this time.

Archery season lasts until Sept. 23. Muzzle-loading season (black powder rifle) starts Saturday and ends on the Sept 16.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206

or e-mail dcrowl@steamboatpilot.com