By Caitlin Switzer
Regional (October 15, 2013)
The days are getting shorter, and color season has arrived complete with vivid pumpkins, tall corn shocks and bright fall foliage. For local businesses, the onslaught of cooler weather traditionally coincides with the arrival of outdoorsmen in pursuit of game and the seasonal hunting experience. Despite the shutdown of the Federal Government, opportunities for outdoor adventure remain open, said Joe Lewandowski of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, a state agency.
“All national forest and BLM lands are open for hunting,” said Lewandowski. “Developed camps are closed, but those would usually be closed this time of year anyway. Dispersed camping is open though, and the weather is moving in, which helps hunters track game and quiets the woods.
“We encourage people to get out and hike the dark timber, and climb the steep slopes,” Lewandowski said. “Hunting in Colorado is always good for people who really hunt.”
Though no statistics will be available until next year, anecdotal evidence from bow season, which just ended, suggests a strong 2013 season, he noted.
“All of the wet weather made the woods nice and quiet,” he said, “we heard things went well.”
Lewandowski urged hunters to put safety first.
“Make sure of your target,” he said. “If you are hunting a cow elk, shoot a cow elk. Make double sure that there is nothing behind your target—exercise caution out there.”
Normal, fall recreation traffic appears to be recurring after several slower years, observed Kenn Klein, customer service manager at the Black Canyon Jet Center FBO at Montrose Regional Airport.
“Nothing record setting,” he said, “but we are seeing more normal fall recreation traffic than in previous years, and we are getting hunting activity. Colorado really has appeal for people from out of state.”
Many second home owners plan their annual trips to the region in the fall, he noted.
For those seeking something slightly different, Elite Motorcycle Tours of Montrose and Moab offers dirt bike tours, including winter rides (weather permitting) though this time of year business tend to center around Moab, said Pam Peterson, whose husband Darren owns the company.
The sport appeals strongly to men and corporate groups, she noted.
“There are a few women, and we train riders as young as nine,” she said. “But mostly, we see men over age 40.”