Bow hunters prepare for the Colorado deer and elk season
Grand Junction Free Press
BIG GAME HUNTING SEASON
Deer/elk (west of I-25 and Unit 140): Aug. 29 through Sept. 27
Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140) — Oct. 1-23, Nov. 4-30, Dec. 15-31
Moose: Sept. 12–27
Pronghorn (bucks only): Aug. 15-31
Pronghorn (either sex): Sept. 1-20
MUZZLELOADER (BY DRAW ONLY)
Deer/elk/moose: Sept. 12-20
Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140): Oct. 10-18
Pronghorn: Sept. 21-29
Moose: Oct. 1-14
Separate limited elk (First season): Oct. 10-14, combined (deer/elk), (second season) Oct. 17-25, (third season) Oct. 31-Nov.8, combined limited (deer/elk) (fourth season) Nov. 11-15
Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140): Oct. 24-Nov. 3
Late plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140): Dec. 1-14
RIFLE PRONGHORN (BY DRAW ONLY)
Pronghorn: Oct. 3–9
Rifle limited (by draw): Sept. 2-30
Archery (over-the-counter with caps): Sept. 2-30
Muzzleloading (over-the-counter with caps): Sept. 12-20
Rifle (over-the-counter with caps) concurrent with deer/elk rifle seasons
Source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
The weather is cooling down, football games are kicking off and school is back in session. That only means one thing — hunting season is back.
Victoria Paxton was an avid hunter for three decades using a gun. She decided to take up bow hunting with her husband seven years ago. After five seasons of unsuccessful hunts, she finally got her first buck this year.
“I’m so excited to finally get one with a bow,” she said.
She and her husband start practicing two months before each season to make sure their equipment and aiming is in fair shape. They also work out extensively with their gear to prepare for the hours of trekking in back country.
The Paxtons have been hunting for not only the sport, but to also provide meat for their family for the year.
In addition to deer, they also hunt mountain goats, bears, ducks and turkey with guns.
“I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I am able to put food on the table,” she said. “I know that I was the one to put food there.”
She noted that she focuses on hitting her target rather than an animal, which helped calm her nerves when she got her buck.
“You have to be prepared not just physically, but mentally, as well,” she said.
TIPS FOR ALL HUNTERS
The Paxtons have not only hunted around Grand Junction, but also in high-elevation locations. They encourage folks interested in hunting in high altitudes to scout the areas prior to the start of the season, be prepared for unexpected weather changes and begin working out at the gym if possible.
“My husband had been on a stair climber an hour a day to prepare,” Paxton said. “It takes everything out of you to climb a mountain, but it’s very rewarding. You have to take the whole terrain seriously.”
She added they hunted mountain goat at 13,000 feet elevation, which adds to the mental game of hunting. She also used the stair climbing machine in her hunting boots since it creates a more in-field experience once on the mountain.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, heavy snowfall can occur in September, and High Country hunters need to watch weather closely and should pick an escape route before a campsite.
Hunters should also carry a survival kit and know how to use it in case of becoming lost.
“Survival experts explain that survival is 80 percent attitude, 10 percent equipment and 10 percent skill and knowledge,” CPW said in a news release.
Paxton recommends to bring extra rain gear and not to “take lightening for granted.” If lightening is present, it’s best to head back to safety.
Scouting the area is also key for hunters, she said. Knowing where you will hunt will help to ease the nerves when the time comes to hit a target.
CPW added hunting in the wrong game management unit can be costly — not only because you will be fined, but will also lose the meat harvested.
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