Hunting accidents have declined rapidly since the passage of two laws in 1970. One law requires hunter education training for all hunters born on or after January 1, 1949. The other requires hunters to wear at least 500 square inches of fluorescent orange clothing above the waist--including a head covering visible from all directions.
Hunting mule deer in Colorado is always challenging. Hunters can improve their success by understanding the habits of these critters.
During the 2016 seasons, for all manners of take, 81,000 hunters harvested 37,000 mule deer for a 45 percent success rate. It is estimated that Colorado is home to about 435,000 deer.
The popular hunting magazines often display colorful photographs of huge bull elk standing in open meadows presenting easy targets. The reality in the mountains of Colorado, however, is far different.
In the 1980 movie classic, "The Mountain Men", the character Henry Frapp is questioned by a young green horn: "Haven't you ever been lost?" Frapp scratches his whiskers and after a recollecting pause, replies, "A fearsome confused for a month or two... but I ain't ever been lost!"
Every year more than a few hunters must be rescued from the wilds and high country of Colorado. Hunters get trapped by snowstorms, injured in various types of accidents or simply get lost in the woods.
Hunters must remember that altitude can affect their health and their ability to move easily. And in the Rockies, weather can change quickly with fast-moving storms dumping a couple of feet of snow in just a few hours.
Now's the time for big-game hunters to get ready for the season by sighting in their rifles. Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges hunters to begin practicing well before the start of the seasons.
Hunters looking for information to help with their big game adventure will find plenty of helpful material on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife web site, cpw.state.co.us. The information includes how to apply for a license, where to hunt, tips for hunting elk, detailed maps, how to field dress a big game animal and much more.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has released a video which provides state and regional hunting condition updates for the 2017 Colorado big-game hunting season.
The nearly 19-minute long video states that hunting conditions will generally be good across the state, with strong elk, deer and antelope populations.
Every hunting season, officers for Colorado Parks and Wildlife hand out hundreds of tickets for violations that cost hunters hundreds of thousands of dollars. While some of those tickets are for flagrant violations of wildlife regulations and hunting laws, many more are for minor violations that could have been avoided.
Hunters are reminded that not only can they be fined for violations, they can also lose their hunting privileges in Colorado and the 44 other states that cooperatively participate in a nationwide wildlife compact agreement.
Hunters who plan to go to the Taylor Park area for the 2017 big-game seasons are reminded that the Cottonwood Pass road is closed west of the summit in Gunnison County.
The road, known locally as Gunnison County Road 209, is being widened and paved from the summit to Taylor Reservoir at the intersection of Gunnison County Road 742. Construction work on the 16-mile section started in May and is scheduled for completion in September of 2018.