Thanks to vast tracts of public land and sizable animal herds, Grand County, which encompasses Kremmling, Hot Sulphur Springs, Granby and Grand Lake, is grand for hunting.
“The hunting opportunities there are excellent, especially for mule deer,” maintains Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Mike Porras. “It has its own unique opportunities and tons of hunting acreage.”
The Middle Park deer herd is modeled at more than 15,350, with a target objective of 11,500, making deer a primary target. “Historically, this region has always been known for its deer hunting,” says Lyle Sidener, CPW Grand County area wildlife manager. “Low-lying central sagebrush gets deer through winter. There’s also a long history of deer research here, from habitat use to nutrition. Deer here have probably been studied more than they have anywhere else.”
Adding to the region’s hunting opportunities is its vast acreage, comprising Units 15, 18, 27, 28, 37, 181 and 371, the majority of it open to the public. “There’s a high percentage of public land here to hunt,” Sidener adds. “That’s largely what makes it such a prime hunting destination.”
Every fall, hundreds of out-of-town hunters flock to the area, joining a strong population of local hunters. The region also harbors a robust outfitter business, with several of the state’s busiest guides and outfitting services calling the area home.
Driving this demand are the area’s elk and moose populations, Sidener says. 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 nearly 15,000.
Hot spots 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 adds. “That area is pretty underutilized because it’s hard to get to,” he says. “While there’s no hunting in the park, elk don’t necessarily understand that boundary.”