It's that time of year again, and hunters from all over the state and beyond are flocking to Grand County to take advantage of prime hunting options this season.
There's good news, too, as it appears the big game herds are doing well.
"We have a good outlook, because we had a really mild winter," said Lyle Sidener, area wildlife manager at Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "Although it was a bit dry in June and August, we had good moisture in July, so forage was available, and the animals should be in good condition."
The first rifle season starts on Saturday, Oct. 13, and runs until Wednesday, Oct. 17. It is for hunting elk only.
The first combined rifle season, for deer and elk, runs from Oct. 20 to Oct. 28. Two more combined seasons follow, from Nov. 3 to 11, and Nov. 14 to 18. There is one late elk season from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2.
"Western Colorado has some of the largest elk herds in the world," said Mike Porras, Parks and Wildlife Public Information Officer of the Northwest Region. "People from all over the country and all over the world come to take the [hunting] opportunity."
Another advantage to hunting in the area is that Grand County has ample amounts of public land available for hunters, and that land is high quality big game habitat.
"The one thing that's a recurring theme with us is we ask elk hunters ... to be very cautions that they don't accidentally shoot a moose thinking it's an elk," said Sidener.
By carefully checking the target through binoculars, hunters should be able to identify the difference between a moose or an elk. Moose are an overall dark brown or chocolate color. Elk have a yellowish rump, and are a pale tan color, with darker head and neck.
If a hunter does accidentally shoot a moose, the next step is to call and report it. Though this doesn't guarantee the hunter won't be charged, it is taken into consideration and will certainly result in a lesser charge than if not reported. Any such action not reported will be investigated as a felony.
"If they don't report it, we might not be aware of it for several days," said Sidener, "and all that meat goes to waste that we'd normally donate to people on a list ... that are in need of that meat.
"A moose, that's a huge animal that could actually make a donation to a couple families. But if it's spoiled, that's just a waste."
Kremmling Wild Game offers meat processing to hunters, and is located at 5240 County Road 22 in Kremmling. They have been in the business for 34 years. Information can be found by calling 970-724-3759 or visiting their website at http://kremmlingwildgame.com/
For more hunting-related information, visit the Parks and Wildlife website at http://wildlife.state.co.us