Hunting season gets under way

Q. With archery and muzzleloading season in progress and the first rifle season right around the corner, starting Oct. 13, should hikers and bikers take some precautions?

A. The best thing for a hiker or biker to think about is to put on some flare orange. One of the things we all need to keep in mind is that hunting is a safe sport. In Colorado, there has never been an accidental shooting of a hiker or biker.

Q. When rifle season starts in October, is the Colorado Division of Wildlife expecting the typical numbers of hunters in the field?

A. With the increase in the hunting licenses this year, we don’t know what to expect. Typically, when there is a license increase, the number of hunters go down, but it’s hard to tell.

Q. Colorado hunters killed 60,120 elk last year, the largest elk harvest since wildlife agencies have been keeping track of elk harvest statistics. The previous record in 1996 was beaten by more than 6,000 animals last year. This year, there is an estimate of 260,000 elk in Colorado. Is the DOW expecting another good elk harvest in 2002?

A. It will probably be pretty typical. Last year there was a 15 to 20 percent success rate, but that could have been caused by the good weather.

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Q. The DOW enforces restricted hunting for archery and muzzleloading season in California Park and Slater Park, reducing the stress on the elk herd to keep the animals from moving onto private land before the first rifle season. Has that been successful and how long will it last?

A. Last year we saw a dramatic increase in success for archery, muzzleloading and rifle hunting in California and Slater parks. The restrictions are targeted for three years. In 2002 we will evaluate the success of the restrictions and make a recommendation.

Q. With 260,000 elk in Colorado, the DOW believes the elk population is over healthy objectives. How long will it take to bring the population down to normal numbers?

A. It all depends on the success of the hunters, weather and access to land. We are working hard at increasing cow harvests, which is the only way to control population. But it all depends on weather, access and hunter participation.