The high mountains, scattered forests and expansive plains of Northwest Colorado have made the area a popular hub for hunting.
For those wanting to take down game during any season, from antelope to trophy elk, Craig is a dreamland. The town of Craig is nestled in the center of a hunting mecca, owing to its reputation as the elk hunting capital of the world.
Massive herds roam just miles from the town as they alternate their time between the high and low country. That is the reason why Doug and Janet Camilletti, owners of Frosty Acres Outfitting, started up their business more than 25 years ago on their ranch just north of Craig.
— For more information on Frosty Acres Outfitting, call Doug and Janet at 970-824-8935, or visit http://www.frostyacres-craig.com.
“The outfitting business just sort of landed in our lap,” Doug said.
The couple opened the business just a year after moving onto the ranch when they realized the magnitude of game that came through their property during the hunting seasons.
“Then it became necessary,” Janet said. “All of those herds being on our land takes away from our feed and tears up the ground.”
Frosty Acres Outfitting now encompasses 15,000 acres of terrain divided among eight adjoining ranches. The land stretches from Utah to the Elkhead Mountains, spreading across Black Mountain to the north.
High desert and shrubland comprise six of the ranches, and the other two include high mountain forests. Unlike many outfitting services, Frosty Acres allows hunters to hunt in their own groups of four to six. Each group hunts on a given ranch depending on the tag hunters are filling. Elk and deer hunts are offered on all the ranches, and antelope hunts are offered on six of them. The hunts are self-guided, but guides are available to haul out downed game. A semi-guided trespass hunt is offered on an area bordering Frosty Acres.
“We also offer archery and muzzleloading on two of the ranches,” Janet said. These are the areas located on the more mountainous terrain.
Frosty Acres is located on an elk migration route, so every year a massive elk herd moves through the area.
“We have had herds of 1,000 stay on the land for a month,” Janet said.
These large herds mean hunters have a good shot at taking down game.
“Because we keep our hunting numbers low, we have high success rates,” Janet said.
The antelope success rate is 100 percent, and the rate for deer is nearly 95 percent.
Five years after its establishment, Janet and Doug’s stepson, Lewis Moon, joined the ranks of the family’s outfitters. As time went on, their daughter, Lorrae Moon, along with grandsons Doyle, Rance, and Nate Moon all began to help out with the business. Frosty Acres has remained a tight-knit family business, and this has ensured that hunters continue to have a memorable experience.
“Hunters appreciate the family operation,” Janet said.
Doug agreed that the hunters they welcome have a unique, personable trip.
“This is a gathering spot,” he said. “The hunters get close to the guides and we get close to them.”
As a testament to Doug and Janet’s dedication to providing hunters with an enjoyable hunt, many of their past clients have continued to come back. Janet said that one group has continued to return for 13 years. On top of returning clients, she said that Frosty Acres welcomes two to three new groups each year.
“We try to show our groups a good time. That means listening and taking the time to do things right,” Doug said.
The couple said that they want to help the local community as much as possible, so they do not provide lodging. Hunters enjoy a family meal with some of the outfitters during the first day of their trip, but no other meals are provided.
“We try to support our town,” Doug said.
A true family-owned business, the couple makes sure that the quality of the area and the hunt is more important than the quantity of hunters taken in. The size and quantity of groups hunting the land prevents overuse.
“We aren’t trying to overload it,” Janet said. “We want to take care of the place.”
Doug and Janet take a step further in helping to improve the land as much as possible. They have partnered with groups such as the Elk Foundation and the National Resources Conservation Service on various habitat projects. They are currently working with the Elk Foundation on a habitat partnership program to develop more water for the animals.
“You need to be a good steward of the land,” Janet explained.