Grand County grand for hunting

With vast tracts of public land and sizable animal herds, Grand County, which encompasses Kremmling, Hot Sulphur Springs, Granby and Grand Lake, also can apply its namesake to big game hunting.

“The hunting opportunities there are excellent, especially for mule deer,” said Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife communication manager Mike Porras. “It definitely has its own unique opportunities.”

The Middle Park deer herd is modeled at more than 15,350, with a target objective of 11,500, making deer a primary target for many hunters. “Historically, this region has always been known for its deer hunting,” said Lyle Sidener, Grand County area wildlife manager for Parks and Wildlife. “It has a lot of low-lying central sagebrush areas surrounded by mountains. That sagebrush is what gets deer through winter. There’s also a long history of deer research here, from habitat use to nutrition. Our deer have probably been studied more than anywhere else.”

Adding to the region’s hunting opportunities is its acreage, comprising Units 15, 18, 27, 28, 37, 181 and 371. “There’s also a high percentage of public land here to hunt,” he said.

Every fall, hunters come from the Front Range and out of state to the area, he said, joining “a strong population of local hunters.”

Area elk and moose populations also are strong, he added. Moose have migrated down from North Park to Middle Park and elk herds also are blossoming. The region’s three elk herds — Gore Pass, Troublesome Creek and Williams Fork — total 14,480 strong.

Hot spots for hunting include Gore Pass, William Peak, Willow Creek Pass, and Parkview, Elk and Grouse mountains. Big bulls also can be found south of the boundary for Rocky Mountain National Park in the Meadow Creek area, Sidener said. “That area is pretty under-utilized because it’s so hard to get to,” he said. “While there is no hunting in the park, elk don’t necessarily understand that boundary — but they figure it out pretty quickly.”