Page 1

Vol. 18



G N I P M A C & G N I T N U H R U O Y


Selection varies by store and is limited to stock on hand.


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in this issue ...

6 22

Northwest Colorado Hunting Outlook


Preparing yourself physically for a successful hunt

Trophy Gallery

30 36

African Safari: The Hunt of a Lifetime

Fishing the White River

Do you need a brain check?


CWD testing on kills

Continuing the tradition


Raising responsible hunters

Game on


Delicious ways to prepare venison

Hunting the web

Digital resources for outdoor enthusiasts PUBLISHER Solas Publications, Inc.

45 40


Do you have what it takes? Preying on a premier predator

All in the family

Life lessons through hunting

Get into your scope

Mishaps of a first-time elk hunter

Be bear-aware

Tips for hunting in bear country

Hunting Planner Advertiser Index


41 48 50 51 52 SALES/CIRCULATION Pat Turner

Vol. 18 | All rights reserved. | ©Solas Publications, Inc. 2017 | Meeker, CO | 970.878.4017

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NORTHWEST HUNTING GUIDE • 5 Licensed, bonded COLORADO & insured: Colorado Outfitter #1208

HUNTING Northwest


By Niki Turner NWCO Hunting Guide

f you’ve chosen Northwest Colorado as your hunting venue, you’ve hit the hunting jackpot. Besides the fact the northwest portion of the state is home to the world’s largest mule deer and elk herds, this year’s hunting outlook is rosy, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife Bill deVergie, the Area 6 Wildlife Manager. deVergie heads up a territory that encompasses range from the Roan Divide to the Wyoming border, and from the Utah border to the heart of the Flat Tops region. It’s home to more than 75,000 elk and 100,000 mule deer, as well as untold numbers of antelope, bear, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain lion. In other words, if you’ve come to hunt, your opportunities are almost limitless. This year, if weather cooperates, hunters in northwest Colorado can expect a good outcome. “It’s pretty consistent for both species (deer and elk). Elk hunting should be good this year after a moderate winter, but not a super heavy one The further north you go, they had a

much heavier winter. We did not have an unusually high mortality rate on deer or elk. We’re expecting hunting season to be good,” deVergie said. If we have another year of warm, dry fall days, that outlook will be challenged again. “Elk are very dependent on weather. They stay high, remote and in isolated areas with warm fall weather. They don’t start moving until December.” The elk rutting season falls between archery and rifle seasons. “It was designed that way to stay out of the rut as much as possible so hunting pressure doesn’t change behavior,” deVergie said. Unless we have an unusually cold, wet fall, first season rifle hunters should be prepared for a more rugged hunt than second and third season license holders, as elk will be higher in elevation and in more remote areas. By contrast, mule deer keep to a schedule. “Deer are like clockwork. They have a calendar in their mind and they know when to go.” The deer rut occurs somewhere around Thanksgiving. “Prior to that you’ll find bachelor groups of bucks,” deVergie said,

adding that deer hunters should expect to see a number of mature bucks this year. As a reminder, in the D7 White River herd, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is conducting a mandatory check for chronic wasting disease during the second and third rifle seasons for harvested bucks. The check is free of charge. While the antelope population, which resides mostly in Moffat County, should be good this year, numbers are a bit below target due to drought and “winters that have affected them and they haven’t bounced back as quickly as we’d like,” deVergie said. Conservation efforts have

For information on licenses, quotas, 6 • 2017 NORTHWEST COLORADO HUNTING GUIDE

OUTLOOK Colorado’s

accomplished their goals when moose harvest, for hunters states. it comes to black bears. CPW is lucky enough to get one of the There is also a small encouraging bear hunting. few draw-only licenses. Several population of bighorn sheep in “We have put out about as small groups of moose which the area, but they are not many bear tags as we can. were reintroduced to the area in thriving like the other species, There’s not many reasons the last decade are flourishing or even like the other bighorn people can’t pick up a sheep in Colorado. bear license. If you’ve DeVergie is hopeful that ever wanted to hunt a “This year’s hunting outlook is good.” last year’s Lost Solar fire bear this is as good a time will improve the habitat -Bill deVergie, CPW Wildlife Manager as any.” Bear season on this side for bighorns. starts Sept. 2 and runs Mountain lion season through the end of September. here. starts the day after the end of “We have one of the higher “If you keep your eyes open fourth rifle season and bear densities in the state,” you’ll probably have a chance to continues into April. deVergie said. The black bear see one,” deVergie said. The “They’re on the increase a populations have done so well moose are predominantly little bit,” deVergie said. “We’re in the past few years CPW is located east of Meeker, east of trying to get control on it, and trying to increase the bear Hwy. 13 around Miller Creek are working on a statewide lion harvest. and up toward the Flat Tops in plan.” The same is the White River National Forest. Lions are on a quota system, true for More can be found near Black and updates are posted every the Mountain and in the Steamboat evening, so hunters should Springs and Walden areas. check to see what’s still Although adult moose don’t available before heading out. really have any natural For hunters who harvest their predators, a determined bear or animals ahead of time, all nonmountain lion might be able to resident hunters purchasing a bring down a moose calf, but deer or elk tag receive a fishing mother moose are extremely license with their hunting protective of their young licenses, so fishing is and very aggressive. encouraged. Wolves were once the Hunters are also encouraged primary predators for to check with CPW for available moose, but wolves have over-the-counter elk licenses. not been reintroduced Some are available for archery into northwest Colorado season, and more in the second as they have in other and third rifle seasons.

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Do You Need a Brain Check? By Colt Allred NWCO Hunting Guide

This year Colorado Parks and Wildlife has started an initiative to better understand the distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease throughout the state, and hunters have been called upon to help them out. In 2017, mule deer hunters from specific game management units will be required to submit a sample from deer that they have harvested to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife office in order to be tested for Chronic Wasting disease or CWD. Chronic Wasting Disease is a form of what scientists call a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, or a disease that targets the brain. CWD has been specifically recognized in deer, elk, and moose in western states, including Colorado. Basically, CWD is the result of a misfolded protein called a prion that targets the brain of an animal that is infected and leaves microscopic holes in that particular animal’s brain. This leads to the animals displaying behavior that would otherwise seem irrational. Infected animals often become emaciated and weak, and all animals infected will die at some point from the disease. The problem is, animals that are

infected with CWD often show no signs of being sick, so it is difficult to acquire an accurate estimate as to how many animals in an area are infected. This year, selected hunters will be required to submit the heads of harvested mule deer to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife office to help biologists get a better understanding of how many deer are affected by CWD throughout the state. Hunters selected from 20 different game management units (these units are listed on page 19 of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s 2017 Colorado Big Game Brochure) will receive a notification in the mail before hunting season letting them know that if they harvest a deer they must bring the deer’s head to the closest CPW office. For the hunters required to bring in a sample, the testing will be free of charge, if you want to get your deer tested on your own, it will cost $25. In order to have your animal tested, you just need to bring in the animal’s head. If possible, remove the animal’s head 2-4 inches below the skull. Do not bring in just the brain or a piece of the brain, as that is not accepted for testing. It is recommended that you get the head of your animal to the CPW within five days of

harvest. If you have been selected to bring in a sample, but you have an animal that you would like to mount, have no fear. The sample that the CPW will remove will in no way damage the skull or hide of the deer. To help make things simple, the CPW has asked that if you plan to have your deer mounted with the hide on, take your deer to the taxidermist first so that they can remove the cape. On the other hand, if you plan to have a European style mount you should bring your animal to the CPW before the taxidermist. A couple weeks after the sample is taken, you will be able to find out whether or not your deer was positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. If your deer happens to test positive, it is recommended by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, that you do not eat the meat of that animal. There have not been any known instances of CWD being transmitted to humans, but it is also a disease that is not well understood and as the cliché goes, It is better to be safe than to be sorry. In some areas, if your animal tested positive you may be able to get an antlerless license through the CPW office so that you can still fill your freezer.


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Continuing the Tradition:

Raising the next generation of sportsmen and women

By Suzan Pelloni Special to the NWCO Hunting Guide

Our lifestyle is not by accident. We come from a long line of sportsmen. I guess you could say it’s genetic. My grandparents moved to the White River Valley in the 1950s. In tow was their young son who always dreamed of living in the mountains. His wish came true and the rest of his childhood years were spent exploring the woods. Hunting, fishing, camping—falling in love with the great outdoors. I grew up a child of the woods too. Some of my fondest childhood memories are tagging along with my dad archery hunting, long before I could hunt myself. I loved the challenge of being quiet and getting as close as possible to animals. Observing wild animals in their own habitat made such a positive impression on me. Seeing two bull elk, horns locked together fighting, a doe and fawn tentatively making their way to water, a squirrel dropping pine cones out of a tree or coming face to face with skunk on a dark trail are experiences that are not easily

explained, just felt and never forgotten. I wanted to be a sportsman just like dad. In the off season, my dad and I had an ongoing archery competition, held each evening in the hay shed, where we took turns trying to hit the bullseye on a paper plate, whoever shot better each evening would get a dollar. I’d gather bottles and cans to shoot with my open sight .22 at the dump or test my aim with my slingshot and gravel chunks. Because I was so young, it came naturally and my love for hunting was forever engrained. My husband and I met hunting. Our mutual love and respect for the outdoors is the foundation of our relationship. I love our ability to understand each other’s intentions, in silence, while hunting. Allowing the wild game to direct us, we have shared some remarkable moments in the outdoors. At almost eight months pregnant with our first child, I shot a nice bull during archery season. I wore a heart rate monitor, trying my best to stay in a safe rate for the baby. After I shot that bull, it


took a few moments for me to check my heart rate, it was sky high. No wonder the poor baby likes to hunt, it’s in his blood! Our children got their own .22 rifles when they were 5 and 6 years old. Endless hours have been spent teaching them hunting safety, etiquette and conservation. As all traditions demand, if it’s going to be a way of life, you start early and perfect the sport with repetition. They are young, but I can see their passion for the woods is growing. They follow us along game trails and wait for animals to come to water. Watching them discover their surroundings is magical. I can only hope that they will embrace the outdoors as much as I do and want to carry those experiences on to their children. We, as sportsmen, are the ones who can preserve this lifestyle for future generations, please share your love for the outdoors with someone this season! Photos courtesy of Suzan Pelloni.


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Preparing Yourself Physically for a Successful Hunt


By David Schwartz NWCO Hunting Guide

ver the years I’ve spent countless hours listening to hunting guides discuss the challenges they face when working for successful hunts. The most common concern I hear is that too many hunters are not physically prepared for the rigors of hunting the rugged terrain and high altitude of Colorado. Lack of physical preparation not only reduces the likelihood of a successful outing, but often turns what could be a rewarding experience into a miserable slog. Fortunately, most hunters can be ready to meet the physical requirements with some basic planning, preparation and awareness. Before choosing a hunt, each hunter would do well to complete an honest evaluation of his or her level of physical fitness. I don’t know anyone who is as young as he or she used to be and it’s often challenging to maintain a regular exercise routine. Although a visit to the doctor is a great idea, it’s not a requirement for determining whether one is shape for a few days on the trail. Throw on a backpack weighted with twenty pounds or so and go for a brisk two to three-mile walk. Were you able to complete the walk? How do you feel during and after the walk? The answers to these questions will give you an idea of where you stand. You’ll then have a realistic idea of where you’re starting as you begin to look forward. With your current level of physical fitness in mind, determine the kind of hunt you are prepared to or willing to prepare to take on. Are you capable of hiking five grueling uphill miles through difficult terrain at 10,000 feet or is sitting on a log

50 yards from camp more your speed? Maybe you’re somewhere in between. Keep in mind that transforming your physical condition is not something you can do in a day. That extreme wilderness hunt might just have to wait until next year. Do the research necessary to find out where and when you can find a suitable hunting opportunity. Contact an outfitter in the area you’d like to hunt. Ask for information about the characteristics of the terrain, the range of altitude, the degree of difficulty of the trails in the area and the likely weather conditions. Find how much hunters typically walk each day, the number of hours spent in the field and whether hunters travel by horse or mule. Gather the information you need to determine the level of physical fitness you need to attain to give yourself the best opportunity for a successful hunt and begin to prepare a plan for reaching that fitness level. Your timing and approach to creating and implementing a fitness plan will vary based on you and your objectives. If you are already in good physical condition, you might just need two or three weeks to ensure that you are prepared for the higher altitude. If you need to take a breather after climbing a flight of stairs, you’ll want to consider a three to six-month plan. Hunters who are self-motivated and somewhat knowledgeable of basic fitness principles will likely find innumerable online sources for basic fitness plans designed specifically for hunters. Those with limited knowledge of fitness principles who benefit from an occasional pat on the might want to enlist the services of a personal trainer. Whatever your approach, keep some basic guidelines in mind: • Keep your plan simple. You’re

not preparing for a triathlon or the CrossFit championships. You just want to be able to spend a few consecutive days engaging in moderate to mildly rigorous physical activity at higher altitudes. • Start slow. It’s important to start slow and focus on improving daily, especially if you are not already in good physical condition. • Create a plan that improves your stamina, strength, balance and flexibility. Keep in mind that you’re not likely to find any paved trails with handrails while hunting in Colorado. Hiking and riding through challenging terrain is not simply a matter of good cardiovascular conditioning. You might be required to pull yourself up a steep incline, negotiate slippery rocks or scramble through downed trees. Simply climbing into a saddle requires some strength, balance and flexibility. • Plan for the days immediately prior to and during the hunt. A week to 10 days prior to your hunt, begin preparing for the altitude. Drink plenty of water. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. If possible, spend two or three days acclimating at an altitude close to where you’re hunting. Don’t throw it all away during your hunt. Get as much sleep as possible. Drink plenty of water. Don’t push yourself too hard on the first day or two. You might harvest an animal on day one, but don’t count on it. Be prepared for several days in the field. Be aware of the signs of altitude sickness including dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and increased heart rate. By taking some time and energy to plan and prepare you’ll be ready to take on the physical challenges of hunting in Colorado and you’ll increase your chances of a successful hunt.


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Welcome to Northwest Colorado The Land of Big Game!

Enjoy your hunt. Be safe.



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Game On Five simple and delicious ways to prepare venison Recipes & Photos by Joe Gutierrez




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SOUTH AFRICA — East Cape and Limpopo Province

30 in Years a Afric


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African SAFARI:


By Niki Turner NWCO Hunting Guide

ifelong hunters Tom Allen and Larry Beck drove by the “Hunt Africa” sign outside Antler Taxidermy in Meeker for years, like everyone else on Market Street. This spring they took advantage of Meeker taxidermist and hunting guide Bill Wille’s African safari opportunity. Both returned from their “hunt-of-a-lifetime” adventure more than satisfied. “You will never find a better professional hunter that will care for you better than Bill,” Allen said. He and his wife Joy traveled to Africa in April. Allen has hunted all his life, and worked for years as an outfitter and hunting guide in northwest Colorado. “I grew up hunting,” Allen said. “My dad taught me how and I loved it, and then I started outfitting. I’ve seen so many animals killed, so many

bad shots, so many hunters who, quite frankly, didn’t want to be there, and I kind of lost the thrill. This (safari) brought the thrill back for me.” Allen filled his list of African animals while on his two-week trip to South Africa, Limpopo Province and the East Cape. He harvested a kudu, a waterbok, two impalas, a warthog and one common and one white blesbok. “Everyone should see it, whether you hunt or not. The animals are just incredible. There’s an animal behind every bush,” Allen said. Allen’s wife, Joy, also fulfilled a goal: she got to dip her toes in the Indian Ocean. For Larry Beck, going on an African safari was something he had long wanted to do, and he is full of praise for Wille’s work as a professional hunter. “One time we’re going along in the back of a pickup,” Beck said.


“The grass was super high. Bill told the driver to stop, he sees the tips of the horns of the kudu in the grass, just the tips.” “I’ve been blessed with a good eye,” Wille quipped. That “eye” has carried Wille through almost three decades of African hunts. Much of what he has been able to accomplish can be attributed to good relationships with his African connections. “I spot and appraise the animal before I’ll allow my hunters to shoot. There’s a lot of animals and a lot of opportunities, so I’m not going to have my hunters shoot an inferior animal,” Wille said. It’s that kind of integrity that has earned Wille an exceptional reputation in the industry, that and plain old-fashioned skill. He works with 23 different “concessions”— hunting providers—just in South Africa, and has connections in four other African countries.

The Hunt of a Lifetime

“I heard before I left, ‘If he tells you to shoot, shoot!’” Beck said. Beck’s hunt, in May/June 2017, started with the traveler’s classic nightmare: lost luggage. For a hunter, besides the inconvenience of not having personal items, he didn’t have the gun he was accustomed to for his hunt. Until the eighth day of his safari, he had to borrow everything, even underwear. That didn’t stop him from taking what may well be a world-record quality wildebeest. In fact, all the animals Allen and Beck took will make the record books, Wille said. Beck harvested 14 animals in 18 days, including kudu, waterbok, impala, warthog, steenbok and dyker in Limpopo; bushbok and blesbok (probably a top-10 world record animal) in the eastern province of South Africa, and west of Queenstown, a black wildebeest, hartebeest, gemsbok, black springbok and common springbok.

“The only thing I didn’t get that was on my list was a baboon,” Beck said. “Most people don’t get the baboon,” Wille replied. “Africa was always on my wish list,” Beck said. “He (Wille) told me ‘you’re going to have the hunt of a lifetime,’ and he lived up to everything he promised.” A lifelong hunter, Beck said learning the differences in “kill shots” for African wildlife was the main thing he had to learn. “Shot placements are completely different; most animals there you should hit at the shoulder down low. Above the shoulder is not a kill shot. That’s the main thing I had to learn, to put the crosshairs in a different spot,” Beck said. Asked about endangered species and how that’s managed, Wille, who started going to Africa more than 30 years ago to teach the Kalahari bushmen how to hunt with a bow,

said the nations that manage hunting have plenty of animals and the nations that ban hunting have next to none. All safaris are not created equal, and in recent years, according to Wille, safaris have changed, and not for the better. “It’s all about how many animals you can get for the least amount of money now,” he said. “Everywhere I take a client the animal has a better opportunity. I want to give a person a real safari. This is real Africa. You actually have the experience of a person in that country.” “I would recommend it to anyone who can afford it,” Beck said. “Here you’re lucky to see four or five animals a day, or even a season. There, you can see animals everywhere. To see the amount of species over there, and you can never experience that here. I was so thrilled, it was more than I expected.”

2017 NORTHWEST COLORADO GUIDE • 31 PhotosHUNTING Courtesy of Professionals of Africa

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Fishing the

White River


By David Schwartz NWCO Hunting Guide

orthwest Colorado is well known for a wealth of public land offering outstanding hunting and angling opportunities. One resource that anglers often overlook is the White River. The White starts as two forks in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area of the White River National Forest. The North Fork becomes fishable below the first falls downstream from the outlet at Trappers Lake. The stretch between Trappers Lake and the Himes Peak Campground is on public land and is reached from Meeker by taking County Rd (CR) 8 about 40 miles to Trappers Lake Rd. (FR 205). Take FR 205 south to the campground. The river in this stretch is narrow and steep consisting primarily of pocket water. Casting room is often limited and the surrounding terrain is marked by downed trees and steep inclines.

The angler who is willing to battle these obstacles will find an abundance of healthy brook, rainbow, cutbow and cutthroat trout ranging up to 16 inches. The North Fork travels almost entirely through private land from the campground to just upstream of mile post 33 on CR 8. The river is open to the public from there to the national forest

boundary at the Lost Creek Guard Station 3 miles downstream. This stretch offers plenty of nice runs and deep pools holding rainbow and cutbow trout along with whitefish. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not uncommon to find fish 20 inches plus in this stretch. The river in this area also presents some challenges. The banks are sometimes steep and thick with vegetation. Some wading is often required. After leaving the national forest, the North Fork again enters private land. The only public access between the national forest boundary and the confluence with the South Fork begins at the Rio Blanco County campground at the intersection of CR 8 and CR 14 at approximately mile post 24. This

access continues downstream 0.8 miles to the picnic area at CR 52. The South Fork originates approximately 10 miles south of the North Fork headwaters. The South Fork represents one of Coloradoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best kept secrets, offering 20 plus miles of public access. The upper sections of the river are protected by rugged, steep terrain with no trail. Further downstream, the river meets the South Fork Trail (FT 1827). The best way to access the South Fork Trail is via CR 8 to the town of Buford, south on Newcastle Rd (CR 17) about 1.5 miles then east on the South Fork Rd (CR 10). The South Fork Rd goes through the South Fork Campground and ends at the trailhead parking lot. The stretch of the river just downstream from the campground and parallel to the campground is on public land and can be productive; however, the best fishing is reached by hiking the South Fork Trail. The trail is relatively easy and wellmaintained as it follows the river approximately 15 miles in the scenic Flat Tops Wilderness. Anglers will find a mix of pocket water, riffles,

long runs and deep pools holding brook, rainbow, cutthroat and cutbow trout along with some whitefish. Fish that are 18 inches and up are a regular occurrence. Some of this water is buffered by thick brush and wading is often necessary. Just downstream from the campground the South Fork enters private land. The Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area (SWA) is the first public access point downstream from the South Fork Campground area. The fishing access in the Oak Ridge SWA consists of the Bell-Aire Unit, which is just north of the intersection of CR 17 and CR 10; the Lake Avery Unit, which is after the confluence at the intersection of CR 8 and CR 10, providing access upstream from the bridge over the river; the Sleepy Cat Easement, which is about 1.5 miles downstream from the Lake Avery; and the Sleepy Cat Ponds. Public fishing is permitted on the north side of the river for 1.5 miles from the Sleepy Cat easement to the ponds. Parking and river access are available at both sites. These

sections of the river are known to produce some very large trout. Closer to Meeker, the Wakara Ranch Access is reached via CR 8 east from Meeker about 5 miles then west on CR 4. Public fishing is permitted downstream from the bridge. The Meeker Pasture SWA provides public access along CR 8 at about mile marker 2. A Colorado Parks and Wildlife sign on the south side of the road marks the site. The town of Meeker also offers public access from the Circle Park Bridge in Meeker City Park near Fourth Street downstream to the bridge at 10th Street. West of Meeker, the White River travels almost entirely through private land. This section of the river can be accessed by boat, but the water is too shallow to navigate at times during the year. The river begins to change from a cold water to a warm water fishery as it moves toward the Utah border. In addition to some large brown trout, anglers will find catfish, bass, northern pike, walleye, sunfish, bluegill, bullhead, perch and crappie.

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O Hunting the


Digital resources for outdoor enthusiasts By David Schwartz NWCO Hunting Guide

ne of the growing concerns of state wildlife officials, outfitters and others who believe in the value of hunting and depend on hunters’ dollars is the decline in the number of young hunters. Members of the hunting community are constantly exploring ways to draw new people to the sport to preserve the future of hunting. One potential means for attracting prospective hunters is through new media. The hunting community might have been slow to embrace the worlds of YouTube and Instagram, but that’s changing rapidly. Hunters are using a variety of outlets to educate, inform, entertain and advocate for hunting. If you’re interested learning more about some of those at the forefront of integrating new media into hunting, we have a few suggestions.


Gritty Bowmen is a podcast dedicated to bowhunting. The hosts invite expert guests to discuss topics such as proper archery technique, physical fitness, backcountry equipment and the value of public lands. More information is available at

Jay Scott Outdoors Western Big Game Hunting and Fishing Podcast is hosted by hunting guide and author Jay Scott. Scott concentrates on topics related to hunting the western US. He covers a variety of species, hunting methods, gear and tactics specific to hunting in the west. Go to to learn more.

The Rich Outdoors Hunting Podcast hosted by Cody Rich is all about discussing the finer details of what makes a successful hunt. Rich interviews expert hunters to find out what separates them from the rest. They offer advice on preparation, gear, tactics, strategies, decision making and more. Additional information is available at


@meateatertv is the Instagram account of Steven Rinella. Rinella is an award-winning author, television host and podcaster. He delves into a wide range of topics including handling and cooking of wild game, fly fishing, conservation and successful hunting tactics. Learn more at @elk101as the name indicates is all about elk. Both the Instagram account and provide advice for both novice and experienced hunters on tactics, equipment and fitness. @nickswildride is the Instagram realm of musician and TV host Nick Hoffman. Hoffman allows his followers a window into his adventures as he explores the world in search of great food, fascinating cultures, inspiring music and outstanding hunting. You can find out more at


SOLO HNTR is the YouTube channel of Tim Burnett whose TV show Solo Hunter airs on the Outdoor Channel. Burnett documents his solo hunts for a variety of species all over the world. Find out more at

Born and Raised Outdoors is a channel focused primarily on bowhunting with an emphasis on hunting elk in sometimes difficult conditions. Visit

Randy Newberg, Hunter is the YouTube channel of TV host Randy Newberg. Newberg is known for his popular TV shows Fresh Tracks and On Your Own Adventures. He hunts on public lands and is an outspoken advocate for preserving public lands and hunter access to those lands. Newberg also created the Hunt Talk web forum and hosts the Hunt Talk podcast. For additional information visit

All in the Family G

Passing down life lessons through hunting

By Mark Ridgeway Target Tournament Director Rocky Mountain Archery Assn.

rowing up in the northwest corner of Colorado afforded me many opportunities. The typical question I receive from people when they find out where I’m from is, did I grow up hunting? It seems if you are a hunter or not, the northwest portion of Colorado is renowned for it’s abundant big game opportunities. Hunting was a family event as I grew up, and now 32 years later a tradition that is now being passed down to my son. Today we have many more options than I did as a kid back in the late ’70s to introduce our youth into the hunting world. I believe “the hunt” consists of much more than the success of harvesting an animal. As a youngster I don’t think I understood this, however, now as a father “the hunt” has an entirely different meaning. As parents we always want our kids to be successful in their adventures. However to ensure our first time hunters continue returning to the woods each year, success and “the hunt” should be measured differently. I look back to when I followed my father into the early morning dark woods in October or November. Snow on the ground, freezing temperatures, uncertainty and excitement in my mind. With

that said, it’s lucky I continued hunting from many of those experiences. Most times my feet and fingers felt as of they were going to freeze off. Running the mountains with non-insulated, non-waterproof

boots. Gloves that weren’t suitable to scrape your windshield. I was expected to keep up with the adults, remain quiet, pull my own weight, and above all else, be successful when I was of legal big game hunting age. How did my father do it in the same gear I had? As parents we tend to lose sight of the bigger picture. We are not introducing our youth to the outdoors for just that one hunt. We as parents and family have a responsibility to our kids

to ensure they have positive allaround experience with the outdoors. Northwest Colorado has much to offer those of us of all ages. Remember with youth “the hunt” is about them. Be prepared for them to be cold, be prepared for them to be hungry, to make noise and to keep asking where the deer and elk are. Make sure they are dressed appropriately, as our options for boots, gloves and coats are endless now days. Be their mentor, and teach them about the outdoors along the way. Enjoy the journey without the focus on the harvest. I’ve learned something every year from “the hunt,” however none as important as the lessons learned from listening to my own son on our hunting trips. I’m grateful for my father and my family to have introduced me into the outdoor lifestyle. It’s our responsibility to keep our youth coming back for that experience each and every year the way my parents did. It’s also our responsibility to hand down those traditions in a responsible manner so that our youth learn and come back as ethical hunters. With the grand picture in mind, a little planning, the right resources and a lot of patience, a lifetime of memories will be made second to none. Good luck and above all else—be safe! Photos courtesy of Mark Ridgeway


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Outfitters must be registered, bonded and insured to operate in Colorado and have permits to operate on public lands.

If your outfitter is operating illegally, you run the risk of having your hunt canceled in progress and your game confiscated if your outfitter is arrested. Knowingly contracting with an illegal outfitter could result in felony convictions for all hunters involved.

You may not have legal recourse if you are injured or your illegal outfitter does not provide the services you purchased.

Visit to find a listing of our professional outfitters.

Things To Ask To Be Sure Your Outfitter is Properly Registered:

• Are you registered with the Colorado Office of Outfitters Registration? If so what is your Registration number? • Will we be hunting on public lands at any time? If so do you have a Bureau of Land Management or U.S Forest Service permit?

Other Indications Of An Illegal Outfitter:

• Outfitter does not provide a written contract. • Outfitter counsels you not to talk to State or Federal officers or asks you to say we are just friends or family hunting together.

Protect Yourself:

Verify your outfitter2s registration by contacting the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies at


Things you can do if you suspect illegal outfitting or poaching activity: Gather as much information as possible. Call toll free Operation Game Thief 1-800-332-4155 or e-mail Game.Thief@State.CO.US 4you can remain anonymous5. You may be entitled to a reward offered by Operation Game Thief or the Colorado Outfitters Association. This message brought to you by the Northwest Chapter of the Colorado Outfitters Association 44 • 2017 NORTHWEST COLORADO HUNTING GUIDE

Preying on a premier predator


By Oran Rundberg NWCO Hunting Guide

remember the first time I hunted a mountain lion. I had just gotten out of the United States Navy and moved back home to Meeker, Colo. The thought of hunting a mountain lion had always spiked my curiosity but I wasn’t sure it was something I would truly enjoy. My father in-law has hunted lions for years; probably more years than I’ve been alive. Out of the blue, one day he asked me if I wanted to go on a hunt because he had a mountain lion on the ranch killing elk calves. I figured, “why not?” I had a couple days off, and I could at least get some snowmobiling in. After four days of riding sleds and running the property lines we were anxious to find a track. We came across a dead elk and a fresh track. We loaded up the dogs and headed to the track. We let a couple of our seasoned walker hounds out and they immediately proceeded to bury their noses in the snow. The chase was on! There isn’t a more exhilarating feeling than hearing a hound hot on a lion track in a deep dark canyon in Northwest Colorado. We headed up the mountain after the dogs. My heart was pounding, mostly from the 1000-foot climb up to

the tree. Hearing their barks echoing off the canyon walls we were right on their trail. They were barking treed. We arrived to find a beautiful 150 pound tom in the tree, staring down at us like an evening snack. His stare seemed to go right through us. He wasn’t intimidated by us at all. I never have had so much trouble drawing my bow back in my life, I was shaking like a leaf. I had never seen a pack of dogs so loyal to one man. They live to run through the snow after cats and to make their owner happy. After that I had to have hounds for myself. I quickly acquired some hounds and began the adventure. It’s not an easy training process, or hunt by any means, but it’s so worth it when you get on a fresh track with excited hounds. Now I anxiously await mountain lion season with my family, friends and prepared hounds. Lion hunting, in my opinion, is the premier big game hunt. If you have a love for the outdoors, and enjoy watching dogs work, this is for you. Of course being in shape never hurt anyone either. If you find yourself under a lion someday, you’ll quickly find it hard to achieve that adrenaline rush anywhere else. Happy hunting! Oran Rundberg lives in Meeker, Colo., with his wife Amy and their three children: Elijah, Dylan and Ellianne. Photos courtesy of Oran Rundberg.


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Get Into Your Scope I

By Lydia Lerma Special to the NWCO Hunting Guide

have been a sport shooter, firearms instructor and president of an 800-member gun club in Colorado and none of my experience prepared me for my first elk hunt. Other than the fact that I can safely handle a firearm, I was not properly prepared and it was entirely my fault. Russ Lambert of Colorado Outfitters was my guide for my first successful hunt and subsequent hunts. Luckily on my first hunt Russ had posted me up and I had all the time in the world to get my buck in my sights and wait for the perfect broadside shot. I kept him in my scope and tracked each step he took all the while trying to gather my wits and stop my hands from shaking. I had those first-hunt adrenaline shakes and couldn’t steady my rifle but eventually I reminded myself to breathe and as soon as he was broadside, I squeezed the trigger and got a perfect 120-yard shot through the lungs. I was spoiled. People hunt for years and never understand what feels like a lifetime to track their target in their scope. I did and completely took it for granted. The following year Russ took me for my first elk hunt and instructed me to not only prepare physically, but prepare mentally. He repeatedly instructed me to,

“get into your scope, get into your scope.” He explained that I should have my rifle next to me when I’m home and randomly pick it up and get into my scope. Obviously I was to remove the bolt to maintain safety but the drill was to get into the habit of picking up my rifle and getting into the scope. I knew the Rocky Mountains, the rugged terrain and what 10,000 feet of altitude can do to my body. I had exercised, built some strength, and was ready for the demands of high country hiking. I knew my rifle was dead set at 100 yards and how to adjust for distance, drop and conditions. But, I had only gotten into my scope a couple times. I thought my elk hunt would be like my buck hunt and I figured I’d have all the time in the world. Three bulls appeared and Russ whispered, “They’re all legal, take


your shot.” I fumbled to get into my scope and the instructor and responsible hunter in me said not to shoot because I couldn’t quite center my sights for the perfect shot and in what felt like the longest slow motion play, all three bulls sauntered down the hillside and disappeared. I would have been prepared for the shot had I gotten off the bench and practiced shooting from different positions as Russ had advised. Instead I returned home to a crying five-year old who asked how we were going to survive without food. I explained mom would get an antelope and I promised I would provide for my children and vowed to never again ignore my guide’s advice. Photo of Lydia Lerma (below) courtesy of Colorado Outfitters.

Alex Plumb Associate Broker

Carolyn Plumb Associate Broker

Onea J. Miller Broker/ Owner

1033 W Market St. • Meeker, CO 81641 • 970-878-5877

Guided Hunts in Game Management Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 14, 37, 201, 214, 371 Unguided Drop Camps • Packing Service Guided Wilderness Fishing • Horseback Pack Trips Half Day and Full Day Horseback Rides Guide Training and Packing Clinics


Full Hot Breakfast

Conveniently located near downtown district! N 488 Market Street

Meeker, Colorado • 970.878.0777

Hot Tub | Exercise Room Microwaves/Refrigerators DirecTV | Free WiFi Guest Laundry Patio with BBQ Grill

OHV & Trailer Parking Available


Tired of the crowds on public land?




Be Bear Aware

uring the fall hunting season bears are active up to 20 hours a day, foraging around the clock trying to gain enough weight to survive the coming winter. Bears are very focused on finding food and may not be as alert to your presence or as willing to abandon a good food source as they might be earlier in the year. The quiet, stealthy behavior necessary for you to surprise your quarry also increases the chance you could surprise a foraging bear, so if you are not making noise, stop often to look around and be extra alert when traveling along streams or through natural food sources like oak brush. Even though youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re carrying a weapon, experts recommend you have bear spray readily available. Wearing gloves and an apron when cleaning game will help reduce the odors you get on your clothing. Separate the carcass from the entrails and remove the carcass as soon as possible. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not immediately packing out, hang your carcass at least 10 feet from the ground and four feet out from anything bears could climb and as far away from your campsite or sleeping area as you are comfortable. Try to hang it where you can see it from a distance. Information from Colorado Parks & Wildlife Photo Courtesy of Joe Gutierrez

has private land hunts for deer, elk & lion in unit 23. 5,500+ private continuous acres




CALL BRETT WATSON @ (970) 756-5408

ilver age

Proud Member of the Rangely Chamber of Commerce


I 60 RV spaces ranging from 25 X 60 spaces 50 X 84 spaces 30 X 90 spaces (Pull-thru spaces) I Full hookups. I Monthly rates available I Free swimming passes to Recreation Center. I Propane available next door. I Location is within walking distance of post office, restaurants, grocery store, retail stores. I GREAT HUNTING ... Elk, Antelope and Deer I Minutes from the Rangely Museum, Columbine Park, Rodeo Grounds and Kenney Reservoir. I Laundry accommodations available. I 50 amp hookup/water/sewer

970.675.2259 RANGELY

'HEELH 'DQD+DQYH\0DQDJHUV 970.675.5509fax 314E.MainStreet


wite river


Telling the story of the Old West! Mil Cree Battlefield par rural scool tours Native american ute exibit old west collections


565 Park Ave. â&#x20AC;˘ Meeker 970.878.9982

open daily





Big Game Hunting Planner 2017 & 2018 BIG GAME SEASON DATES — finalized in January each year 2017


Aug. 26–Sept. 24 Oct. 1–27 and Nov. 8–30 and Dec. 15–31 Sept. 9–24 Aug. 15–31 Sept. 1–20

Aug. 25–Sept. 23 Oct. 1–26 and Nov. 7–30 and Dec. 15–31 Sept. 8–23 Aug. 15–31 Sept. 1–20

Sept. 9–17 Oct. 14–22 Sept. 21–29

Sept. 8–16 Oct. 13–21 Sept. 21–29

Moose Separate limited elk Combined (deer/elk)

(1st season) (2nd season) (3rd season) Combined limited (deer/elk) (4th season) Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140) Late plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140)

Oct. 1–14 Oct. 14–18 Oct. 21–29 Nov. 4–12 Nov. 15–19 Oct. 28–Nov. 7 Dec. 1–14

Oct. 1–14 Oct. 13–17 Oct. 20–28 Nov. 3–11 Nov. 14–18 Oct. 27–Nov. 6 Dec. 1–14

Rifle Pronghorn (by draw only)

Oct. 7–13

Oct. 6–12

Archery Deer/elk (west of I-25 and Unit 140) Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140) Moose Pronghorn (bucks only) Pronghorn (either sex)

Muzzleloader (by draw only) Deer/elk/moose Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140) Pronghorn

Rifle Deer/Elk/Moose

Black Bear Rifle limited (by draw) Archery (over-the-counter with caps) Muzzleloading (over-the-counter with caps) *Rifle (over-the-counter with caps)

Sept. 2–30 Sept. 2–30 Sept. 2–30 Sept. 2–30 Sept. 9–17 Sept. 8–16 *concurrent with deer/elk rifle seasons

*Note: To participate in the over-the-counter w/caps rifle bear season, a hunter must also hold a deer or elk license that overlaps with that rifle bear tag by at least one unit and one day of the season. These licenses can be purchased at license agents, by phone and online through Oct. 13th. Then, they are only available at CPW offices.

2017 Colorado Hunting and Fishing License Fees Habitat Stamps (non-refundable) Resident Nonresident Habitat Stamp (valid 4/1–3/31)





(Required for persons ages 18–64 buying or applying for a license)

Lifetime Habitat Stamp

$ 300.25

$ 300.25

License Fees* (Note: When applying for a license, an additional $3 non-refundable fee must be submitted with payment.) Elk, Cow Elk, Bull or Either Sex Deer Moose Pronghorn, Buck or Doe Bear Youth Elk, Deer & Pronghorn (12–17 yrs) Mountain Lion Turkey (spring) Turkey (fall) Youth Turkey (under 18 yrs) Small Game (valid 4/1–3/31) Small Game (1-day) Youth Small Game (under 18 yrs) Small Game & Fishing Combo (valid 4/1–3/31) Fishing (valid 4/1–3/31) Fishing (5-day) Fishing (1-day)

$ 46 $ 46 $ 31 $ 251 $ 31 $ 41 $ 10.75 $ 41 $ 21 $ 16 $ 11 $ 21 $ 11 $ 1.75 $ 41 $ 26 N/A $ 9

481 641 386 2,146 386 351 100.75 351 101 101 76 56 11 1.75 N/A $ 56 $ 21 $ 9

201 Big Game Limited Draw LicenseApplication Deadline

April , 201 See the regulation brochure(s) for hunt codes, game management unit boundary descriptions, information on the draw process and more.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

*Refund policy may apply. License Fees include a 25-cent search & rescue fee and a 75-cent Wildlife Education surcharge. *All non-resident big game licenses are a big game and annual fishing combination license.

For Hunter Education Classes (if born on or after 1/1/49) or Replacement Cards . . . . Customer service staff available 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (303) 297-1192

COLORADO PARKS & WILDLIFE • 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216 • (303) 297-1192 •




Cook Chevrolet/Subaru/Ford (Craig/Steamboat) McGuire Auto Parts (Meeker) Northwest Auto (Meeker)

10 19 8

Automotive & Off Road

Dining & Grocery


City Market (Craig, Rifle, Steamboat Springs) 2 Hydration Station (Meeker) 33 Ma Famiglia (Meeker) 47 Meeker Café (Meeker) 35 Mexican House (Meeker) 34 Watt’s Ranch Market (Meeker) Inside Back Cover Wendll’s (Meeker) 39

Liquor, Spirits and Bars Chippers (Meeker) JW Snacks (Craig) Pinyon Tree Liquors (Rangely) Rangely Liquors (Rangely)

11 32 42 47

Blue Spruce Inn (Meeker) Blue Mountain Inn (Rangely) Moosehead Lodge (Rangely) Silver Sage RV Park (Rangely) Trappers Lake Lodge (Meeker) White River Inn (Meeker)

49 16 46 50 39 8

Lodging & RV Spaces

Grand River Medical Center (Rifle) Inside Front Cover The Memorial Hospital (Craig) 3 Pioneers Medical Center (Meeker) 8 Pioneers Medical Center Orthopedics (Meeker) 11 Rangely District Hospital (Rangely) 42

Outfitters & Taxidermy

Antler Taxidermy (Meeker) Arrow J Outfitters (Meeker) Chris Jurney Outfitting (Craig) Colorado Outfitters (Steamboat Springs) Colorado Private Ranches (Meeker) Fritzlan Family Outfitters (Rifle) H&H Outfitting (Meeker) High Timber Outfitters (Meeker) JML Outfitters (Meeker) J Bar H Outfitters (Meeker) Lone Tom Outfitting (Meeker) M&M Ranch (Craig) Nine Mile Guest Ranch (Meeker) Northwest Colorado Outfitters Assn. Professionals of Africa (Meeker) Rocky Mountain Tanners (Denver) Sable Mountain Outfitters (Meeker) Sombrero Ranches (Meeker) Travis Kruckenberg Outfitters (Grand Junction) Villa Ranch (Meeker) Western Outdoor Adventure (Meeker)

29 50 13 49 19 46 5 10 34 43 32 38 33 14 28 10 16 39 8 10 35

Real Estate

Backcountry Realty (Meeker) Hayden Outdoors (Hayden) Steamboat Sotheby’s (Meeker) Western Exposures Realty (Meeker)

8 17 34 49

Nichols Store (Rangely) Valley Hardware (Meeker) Wyatt’s Sports Center (Meeker)

11 35 46

Retail Shopping

Services & Organizations

Chevron (Rangely) 18 CNCC (Rangely) 32 ERBM Recreation Dist. (Meeker) 38 Meeker Sportsman’s Club (Meeker) 19 Rangely Chamber of Commerce 1 Rangely Automotive Museum (Rangely) Back Cover Rio Blanco Herald Times 11 Ruckman’s Shop/T Rose Etc (Meeker) 11 Urie Companies (Rangely) 33 WRBM Recreation Dist. (Rangely) 16 White River Electric Association (Meeker) 43 White River Energy (Meeker) 10 White River Museum (Meeker) 50

Wild Game Processing

H&H Processing (Meeker) Laura’s Corner (Meeker) Purkey Packing Plant (Meeker)

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5 10 43

271 E. Market St. â&#x20AC;¢ Meeker, Colorado â&#x20AC;¢ Mon-Sat 7am-8pm â&#x20AC;¢ Sunday am-6pm




Meat Dept.

Friendly Service

Family Owned and Operated â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Since 1955 â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Northwest Colorado Hunting Guide 2017  

The premier hunting guide for northwest Colorado, home of the world's largest elk and mule deer herds.

Northwest Colorado Hunting Guide 2017  

The premier hunting guide for northwest Colorado, home of the world's largest elk and mule deer herds.