Hunters map out shot at success | AspenTimes.com

Hunters map out shot at success

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Kelley Cox/Post Independent file Addison W. Gay at his hunting campsite along the Buford Road, north of New Castle, in 2006.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” With Colorado’s hunting season under way ” archers have taken to the backcountry ” the Colorado Division of Wildlife is doing all it can to give hunters a better shot at bagging the big game.

For at least five years, the DOW has offered Game Management Unit maps that give detailed descriptions of each unit’s characteristics. But with advancing computer, software and mapping technology, the division also offers more detailed, interactive online maps. They provide specific boundary information, details about a unit’s vegetation and general ownership information ” all using U. S. Geological Survey topographic maps.

“The more savvy sportsmen are able to go in and look at the area they are hunting and find where the animals typically will be,” said Randy Hampton, DOW spokesman in Grand Junction. “It’s a tricky system that takes some time getting used to, but it can provide some really good information.”

For example, hunters can go onto the interactive map website at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/GMUnitMaps.htm and click on the game-management unit they are licensed to hunt. From there, a list of information ” area campgrounds, mountain summits, nearby cities, streams, lakes, viewing areas ” is at their fingertips. And, there’s more.

The “Click for game maps” link to the upper right displays information regarding animal movements ” their summer, winter and transitional ranges ” which can help hunters narrow their focus.

“Some hunters will use them in many ways,” Hampton said. “They can use them to look at the migratory path, so now they know where the animals are coming from during that period and where they will be going through to get to the winter areas. That lets them know where to hunt.”

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Anecdotally, Hampton said, the DOW has found that hunters who do their homework and research up front ” educating themselves about a specific area, scouting it ahead of time and using the maps as a source of information ” typically up their odds of success.

“It may not guarantee a successful hunt,” Hampton said. “But it will increase your chances.”

Meanwhile, the DOW maps may get even better, as the agency continues to explore improvements to the online information.

“As we push the envelope, we are looking for ways to make the information more easily accessible,” Hampton said.

jgardner@postindependent.com

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