CPW: Fishing, hunting seasons are not canceled despite rumors, coronavirus

Shelby Reardon
Steamboat Pilot & Today
Rob Pridemore, who was visiting from Atlanta, Georgia, tests his fishing skills on the waters of the Yampa River in downtown Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Over the past few days, Colorado Parks and Wildlife have been alerted to fraudulent calls and false social media posts claiming that hunting and fishing seasons are canceled. Other claims included licenses not being valid or required. Whether these claims were centered around April Fools or not, they are false.

CPW hasn’t canceled or altered anything relating to hunting or fishing seasons.

“It’s funny because some people said, ‘Oh it’s just April Fools stuff, and there’s probably some element of that, but the interesting thing is it’s been happening in other states for several weeks,” said Randy Hampton, public information officer for the Northwest Region of CPW.

Hampton said there have been a few theories about why someone would try to convince others the seasons are canceled, such as a selfish individual hoping to deter other anglers and have more open space for themselves.

Some callers were more serious, looking to acquire personal information. CPW encourages people to never share personal information with anyone claiming to provide CPW refunds.

Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order still allows people to get outside and recreate, including hunting and fishing. Coloradans still need a fishing or hunting license, which can be purchased at CPW’s website.

“It’s kind of hard to get too close to people when you’re fishing. You don’t want to hook any of your buddies,” Hampton said. “Fishing has always been better socially distanced. Fishing is a good, healthy, outdoor activity. People should continue to stay healthy.”

The deadline to apply for a big game license is 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 7. No changes to the process have been made.

“That’s moving ahead,” Hampton said. “We have no intention of delaying that at this point. We encourage people to apply early.”

Hunters and anglers shouldn’t travel far, though. Travel means people will be going to gas stations and stores elsewhere around the state, which is not advised. Travel should be limited, even if it is in regards to approved recreation.

With that in mind, if turkey license holders got a license for a unit relatively far from where they are sheltered in place, they can return it with no processing fee for a full refund.

“We have had some concern raised by eastern, plains counties saying, ‘Well are people going to be coming in here? What does that mean if they’re in the gas station, if they’re in the store?’” Hampton said.

CPW is waiving the four-day minimum requirement for hunters to return their licenses. Also, CPW will issue a restoration of turkey preference points used to draw a license upon return, as long as they are postmarked before the start of the season April 11.

If there are any changes made to its operations, CPW will use social media and its official website to alert the public. All COVID-19 related information has been consolidated to one page. While offices are closed, staff members are still answering the phone during altered business hours to answer questions and address concerns.