Federal government shutdown won’t have big impact on state’s big game season
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The partial federal government shutdown has put a crimp in some hunting plans, but state officials are emphasizing that the state’s big season won’t see a big impact from the political theater in Washington, D.C.
More than 23 million acres of federal land in the state are open for fall hunting, and early snowfall could help make it one of the better seasons in recent years, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife experts.
“It’s unfortunate that hunters are receiving mixed messages from the federal agencies,” said Steve Yamashita, acting director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “While all of the National Forests in Colorado are open, the shutdown has confused sportsmen across the country and we’re trying to make sure people get the right information. Colorado is open this hunting season.”
The shutdown has affected some federal lands like national parks and wildlife areas run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including prime waterfowl hunting areas in Colorado.
But this week, the USFWS announced it will re-open some waterfowl production areas, at least temporarily.
“Despite limited staffing, the Service has undertaken an assessment to determine what, if any, potential exists to open lands to public use consistent with our obligations under the government- wide shutdown. It has been determined that allowing public access to Waterfowl Production Areas will not incur further government expenditure or obligation and is allowable under a government shutdown. Therefore, effective immediately, all WPAs will reopen to public use,” the federal agency said in a statement released Oct. 11.
Individuals hunting Colorado’s public lands are advised that some of the formal campgrounds may be closed or have limited service but dispersed camping is allowed in most areas. Hunters should be prepared to pack out their own trash and bring their own water.
Colorado is the only state that offers over-the-counter rifle bull elk license for resident and non-resident hunters. The licenses are valid in more than 90 game management units during the second or third rifle seasons. The second rifle season runs Oct. 19 – 27 and third rifle season is Nov. 2 – 10.
Filed under: Colorado, hunting, recreation, wildlife Tagged: | Colorado, Colorado big game season, Colorado deer hunting, Colorado elk hunting, Colorado parks and wildlife, federal shutdown, Government shutdown, hunting, National Wildlife Refuge, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Waterfowl production area