Hunting likely to pick up in Rifle, Colorado |

Hunting likely to pick up in Rifle, Colorado

Baron Zahuranec
Rifle CO, Colorado

RIFLE, Colo. ” Orange might already be a pop-ular color in western Garfield County at this time of year, but just wait.

The economy might limit the purchases for some big-game hunters, but there will still be plenty of trucks pulling ATVs and campers.

So far, hunters have arrived for the archery, muzzleloader, separate limited elk, and the second season of combined deer and elk.

The popular third season of combined deer and elk starts Saturday, Nov. 1 and runs to Nov. 7, and the fourth season of combined limited deer and elk lasts from Nov. 12-16.

“We usually see more hunters in the third and fourth sea-sons of deer and elk,” said Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton.

But, resident and non-res-ident hunters alike are spending less money per day than they did six years ago, according to the DOW.

“With the economy the way it is and has been recently, it has been slower,” Hampton said.

Hunters buy licenses, knives, ammunition, camouflage clothes, calling devices and cover scents when hunting sea-son comes around. It’s possible to spend a lot on a hunting trip when you factor in guides, transportation and lodging.

“The high-end, wealthy hunter will still be making their hunting trips,” said Bob Elderkin, a cook with Magnum Out-fitters and former executive director of the Colorado Outfit-ters Association. “The average hunter, those are the ones looking to save money.”

Then there are the hunters who have to cover the cost of keeping their ATVs running and others who need to feed and take care of their pack horses.

Sportsmen can either go all out and spend a lot of mon-ey for an extravagant trip, or they can try taking out grand-pa’s old rifle, find some local land to hunt on, and then use the harvested game to lower their grocery bills.

As for elk and deer harvest numbers, Hampton thinks the earlier hunting seasons have gone well, though there seem to be fewer hunters out there. The DOW won’t have an actual license count or number of big-game ani-mals harvested until the seasons have finished.

“Our hunters have been doing pretty good,” Elderkin said.

Natural gas drilling also has impacted hunting, forcing some hunters to find new hunting locations.

“The impact varies widely,” Elderkin said. “Depending on any specific area, hunters may or may not have to deal with gas wells and access roads all over the place. There’s no way you can keep from it.”

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