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Did you know that Colorado offers some of the best big-game hunting in North America? Whether you’re an experienced hunter seeking a new adventure or a complete beginner who is looking to participate in your very first elk hunt, here are five reasons why you should hunt big game in Colorado this fall:
1. Millions of Acres of Public Land
Wide open spaces. That’s what you’ll find here. With more than 23-million acres of public land, Colorado boasts some of the best hunting access in the nation. To put this into perspective: Colorado’s public-land acreage is equal in size to the entire state of Indiana. Here you can hunt national forests, state wildlife areas, state parks, state trust and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. Hunting big game in Colorado truly epitomizes the spirit of fair chase in vast expanses of open terrain. Read more
The April 4th deadline to apply for a big-game license is fast approaching. And if you plan to hunt big game in Colorado this fall, now’s the time to submit your application.
Although Colorado offers a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) hunting licenses, many big-game tags, called “limited licenses,” are only available through the annual drawing.
Whether this is your first time applying for a limited license or you’ve applied before but are seeking some additional tips, here’s some information to help you successfully navigate this year’s drawing. Read more
If you’re a big-game hunter, now’s the time to prepare for Colorado’s limited-license drawing. The application deadline for this year’s drawing is April 4.
Did you know that Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Draw Recap Reports provide a valuable resource to help you apply for a limited big-game license? The newly redesigned reports show how many licenses were available last year in all game management units (GMUs) throughout Colorado, how many hunters applied for those limited licenses, how many of those hunters were successful drawing and preference-point requirements. Be sure to study these reports before submitting your 2017 big-game application. Knowledge is power! Read more
Gunnison, Colorado is famous for its severe winters and snow-covered landscapes. In fact, the small, Western Slope town has earned the reputation as one of the coldest places in North America because of its sustained periods of sub-zero and record-low temperatures.
By Gunnison’s standards, 2016-17 brought warmer-than-average temperatures throughout fall and early winter. However, above average snowfall across the region in late December and early January created difficult forage conditions for big-game animals. To locate food, elk and deer moved to the lowest areas of their winter range, bringing them dangerously close to Highway 50. Read more
So, you’re new to Colorado, or perhaps you’ve lived here for a long time and have always been curious about the traditional outdoor pursuits but have never participated yourself. If you fit into the statistical curve, the biggest reason you’ve cited for not taking the first step to becoming an angler or hunter is lack of somebody to teach you. That’s right, if you were not taught outdoor skills at a young age, getting that knowledge later in life has proven to be the major barrier to entry for those wanting to hunt, fish and generally enjoy the benefits of a life in the great outdoors. But, it doesn’t have to be that way!
First off, why would you want to take up hunting or fishing? An increasingly common reason for adults getting out there is the desire to eat better quality food of known origin. Want to know where your protein came from? Harvest it yourself. Wild game and fish are nutrient dense, chemical free and very, very free-range. Physical exercise, a reason to explore your outdoor resources and inner self and the general feeling of accomplishment are also all great reasons to take that first step. But how? Read more
Hunter: Chris Pangburn
I began planning my moose hunt 10 years ago. I didn’t know anything about moose, but a friend told me it was hard to draw a tag, so I thought I better get started applying.For the next five years I applied for preference points thinking someday I would apply for an actual moose tag. About then I met Dale Rush and he told me that he had harvested a moose in 2008 and that I needed to apply for an actual tag because it’s hard to get drawn. Well 2016 was my year.
Dale joined me on my hunt in early October. We hunted tree lines along willow-heavy meadows the first day and saw nothing. The second morning we spotted a cow moose alone in a meadow just before the weather turned and the snow came. We hunkered down out of the fierce wind and snow until late afternoon and spotted a small bull playing near a creek like he was the only one for a hundred miles around. The wind was so brutal that at sunset we nearly ran back to camp. On day three we hiked the tree line around other meadows until we began seeing tracks in the snow. After a couple of hours we saw this 44-inch bull following a cow into the middle of an open meadow. Just like that, I took a single quartering shot at 150-yards with my 300 Weatherby Mag. It was a great hunt with a good friend that I’ll never forget.
It is 3 a.m., and my dad is ready to head out. After weeks of anticipation, the time had finally come. Finally, I was going on my first hunting trip for a mule deer. After jumping out of bed, stuffing my face with whatever breakfast was available, I boarded our van. We had started packing the evening before for a weekend of hunting and camping under the stars, and now it was finally time for the adventure to begin.
A distance of 105 miles from my home in Highlands Ranch awaited our hunting spot; Kremmling, Colorado . It was still dark at 6 a.m. when we reached our youth hunt coordinator, Ted Zagone’s, quiet residential subdivision. Mr. and Mrs. Zagone were very welcoming. Mrs. Shelly Zagone offered us hot chocolate, coffee and sandwiches. Mrs. Zagone showed me the pictures of her son who serves in the United States Navy. She was so proud of him and missed him so much. I felt so happy for her and hoped that I would make my parents feel proud someday of my accomplishments.
It’s 15 minutes before last light on the final day of the season. You’re hunting alone and still trying to fill your tag. As your mind pours all its energy into flexing your senses to the max, you notice movement; then an ear; then a head; and finally the full body of your four-legged quarry making its way out of shadow-dappled trees and into your view some 350 yards away.
You confirm your target with binoculars then settle into the appropriate shooting position, aim, and gently, but purposefully, press the trigger. The animal goes 25 yards and drops. You smile, your heart races and you take 10 minutes to collect your thoughts. It’s now rather dark but you’re not concerned. You grab your headlamp and eagerly head to the animal only to discover that you can’t find it. You spend the next hour searching but come up empty handed–not even a drop of blood.
You go back to camp and spend a sleepless night wondering what happened. The next morning you find the animal more than 200 yards away from where you thought you saw it drop. Embarrassed and frustrated, you quickly void your carcass tag, get the animal field dressed and start packing it out. Thank goodness none of the meat has spoiled. Read more
Hunter: Ava Nelson
My day began at 3 a.m. when I thought, “What did I get myself into?” This was my second day of hunting for a bull elk with a muzzleloader. My dad and I figured we would try another spot that he knew since we were unsuccessful the first day. I promptly got out of bed and took a shower and got dressed in camo. My lunch was already packed so we were ready to rock and roll.
It was pitch dark outside on Sept. 11, 2016 for our 60-minute commute to the trailhead. My dad and I arrived at 4:30 a.m. and began hiking on a trail that started out easy but gradually got more difficult. We were about half way to the spot when it got daylight. We circled around to the spot where my dad thought there would be elk. This required some cliff scaling and some balancing skills. When we finally got there, the wind was not in our favor. My dad called a few times and a bull elk bugled back. Unfortunately, the bull did not sound like he was too interested and eventually stopped answering us. Read more