Bagging More Than Big Game
Hunters Reminded of The Regs
This weekend kicks off the peak of the Colorado Hunting Season 2021 as the first rifle season for elk gets underway across the state. Hunters’ contributions to the economy stand out as bright as an orange hunting vest as the sport, combined with fishing brings in over $3.25 billion to Colorado every year, impacting all 64 counties. Unfortunately, much like the camouflage gear worn by these baggers-of-elk, comes a growing, hidden consequence. In fact, it’s another set of bags from the harvest season that have forest officials concerned: trash bags!
“Have a plan for removing all of your trash and equipment at the end of the season, which includes planning for the room in your vehicle to bring a harvested animal home,” says USFS Blanco Ranger Curtis Keetch, who points out that every year following hunting seasons, forest personnel remove literally hundreds of pounds of trash and abandoned camping equipment from hunting camps. Keetch asks hunters and other recreationists to pack out everything they bring into the forest, including trash, carpet used for wall tent flooring, chairs, and other camping equipment.
With the first rifle elk season starting across western Colorado on Saturday, Oct. 16 it’s a good time for a review of the regs from forest officials. Because as the harvest stories from the 2021 hunting season emerge from the woods, so do tales of some hunters who have not left their camps clean for the next group. All hunters should review the Colorado Parks and Wildlife regulations to ensure they understand Colorado’s regulations, specifically when it comes to Off-Highway Vehicle registration.
“The White River National Forest has some specific regulations hunters should be aware of as well,” Keetch says. “Any hay you bring into the forest needs to be certified weed-free, and off-route motorized travel is not allowed for any reason, even to retrieve an animal.” Motor Vehicle Use Maps that show which routes are open to motorized travel are available at each forest office.
Pack Out Your Trash
“It’s a basic rule of enjoying the outdoors — if it wasn’t there when you arrived, it shouldn’t be there when you leave,” Keetch says. In Lake County, backcountry trash from recreational uses has been a growing issue for years. From camping to fishing to hunting with more people enjoying the Colorado outdoors, Lake County has felt the impact with over 73% of its land open for public enjoyment.
Finally, Keetch says, be prepared for rapidly changing conditions common during Colorado big game rifle seasons.
“Not only do you need to be prepared when you are in the field, but also think about how a fall snowstorm might affect your camp,” Keetch says. “Will you be able to get out if there is a foot or more of snow? Is your equipment and gear securely stashed so it won’t be buried in snow and difficult to find?”
Big “R” Briefly Shelved
“Real Soon” is what the R stands for concerning the anticipated opening of the new retailer set to take over the #BigBox space on Highway 24 south of town in Leadville Today. At least that’s what the Big R regional operations manager told LT on Oct. 13 as activity at the store has the #bizbuzz humming. The new lettering gives shoppers a hint of what to anticipate when they open, but when?
“We’re waiting on the shelving,” the guy-in-charge explained in front of a set-up crew of about ten employees. No word on how the local day-to-day hiring process is going, but if you’re interested you can apply www.bigronline.com
By Halloween? Maybe, if the shelving arrives but it’s stuck in the supply chain like lots of things across the country. More likely a “soft-opening” the second week in November.
Big Game: Tips For The Rifle Season
By Nate Zelinsky, Colorado Parks & Wildlife Correspondent
Nate’s been out in the field talking to archery and muzzleloader seasons hunters and it’s sounding like it’s been a great start to the season. Join Nate for some insights into what you will be seeing as you head out for your rifle seasons. He also goes into details on how you can determine pronghorn sex in the field. Stay tuned until the end, where he gives some great advice on bullet selection and why it matters. In this episode, Nate provides updates from the fields, scouting tips for the rifle seasons, pronghorn tips, bullet selection, and much more.
Video: Updates from the field and panning for the rifle seasons
Colorado Big Game Hunting Series
- Part 1 – Making A Plan
- Part 2 – What You Need To Know
- Part 3 – Gear, Optics, Scouting, and More
- Part 4 – Digital Scouting
- Part 5 – Glassing for Big Game
- Part 6 – In-Field Scouting (Phase 1)
- Part – 7 Long Range Scouting (Phase 2)
- Part 8 – Facebook Live Big Game Q & A
- Part 9 – General Archery Elk and Deer Concepts (on YouTube)
Nate Zelinsky is a professional Walleye Angler and all species guide based in Colorado and has guided and tournament fished all across the country. Nate is on his 19th year as owner of Tightline Outdoors Colorado’s Premier outlet for multi-species guiding, tournaments, TV, Digital Content, TV, Radio, and Writing! Some of these experiences can be seen on In-Fisherman, Jarrett Edwards Outdoors, Denver’s 7News, 9News, and WFN. You can also listen to Nate on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. on The Fan Outdoors with Terry Wickstrom. Nate’s daily goal is to educate anglers to create success every time they go on the water. More on Nate can be found at www.tightlineoutdoors.com
Get Involved in Something Wild
Apply for the Colorado Wildlife Council! Want to take an active role in the wildlife conservation conversation?
The Colorado Wildlife Council is seeking four Council positions (Municipalities, Agriculture, Marketing, and West Slope Angler) to collaborate with an advertising firm and help guide a multimedia educational campaign promoting wildlife management messages.
The Council’s mission is to help inform the general public about the benefits of wildlife, wildlife management and wildlife-related recreational opportunities in Colorado, specifically hunting and fishing.