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DENVER I A few game management units in Northeastern Colorado will have refunds offered for rifle seasons in response to the flood, but many units are huntable as additional lands and properties return to normal in the northeast region.
Refunds and restoration of preference points or exchanges of licenses for the remaining seasons include: GMU 19, 20, and 29 bear, deer, and elk licenses for the regular rifle and PLO seasons. Affected hunters are receiving letters explaining how to apply.
Remaining seasons for deer and elk in all other northeast region GMU’s, including those east of I-25 will retain the standard refund policy. Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff believes these units will be huntable by season opening. Deer are returning to or are still in the river bottom habitat.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife previously offered exchanges or refunds and reinstatement of preference points for hunters in units and seasons adversely affected by the flood in the early seasons.
State Wildlife Areas beginning to reopen:
Starting Wednesday, Oct. 9, CPW will be opening most of the State Wildlife Areas along the South Platte River that have been closed for the past several weeks. Reservations for the opening weekend of waterfowl season on properties (tracts) that are open will begin immediately.
The South Platte River channel and adjacent sloughs changed significantly in the flood. Water extended out from the riparian area to cover many places that normally remain dry in most floods. Flood waters cut deep holes in many places, and hunters are encouraged to test water depth with a stick or branch when crossing a channel. Many of the boundary fences have been washed out, and will be fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
All hunters are strongly encouraged to scout their hunting area in the daylight since the traditional hunting areas and the access paths have likely been considerably altered. Look out for debris including downed barbwire fences and expect to find minimal foot bridges to cross sloughs, as many of those have been washed away and have not yet been replaced. It is the hunter’s responsibility to know whose land they are hunting on. Finally, it is the hunter’s responsibility to know if they are on public or private land, and hunters are encouraged to carry property ownership maps to help them since fences and other boundary markers have been damaged.
SWAs to be opened October 9 without restrictions:
Boyd Ponds, Bravo, Brush, Messex, Atwood, Overland Trail, Dune Ridge, Knudson, Sedgwick Bar, Pony Express and Julesburg
SWAs to be opened October 9 with restrictions:
• Cottonwood SWA: The parking lot on CR 33 is closed.
• Elliott SWA : Union Tract will remain closed. See map for parking lots to remain closed at wildlife.state.co.us/SiteCollectionDocuments/DOW/Maps/Hunting/SmallGame/ElliottSWA_c20120704.pdf). Those wanting to hunt the north side of Hamlin tract (Hunting Areas 7 and 8) can park in the parking lot across the road at south Hamlin. To clarify, Union Tract is closed, but the parking area near it is open. There are areas outside of Union Tract that hunters can access from that lot. County Road W.7 has been washed out just NE of Union and is closed. We do not know when it will be repaired. The parking lot for Areas 7 and 8 on Hamlin is closed, but those areas are open to hunt. Hunters can park in the S. Hamlin lot, walk across the county road, check in, and hunt Areas 7 and 8.
• Tamarack SWA: The road west of Area 20 is closed, and still under water. Red Lion Road is closed at the river so parking lot on northeast side of Tamarack will remain closed.
SWA to remain closed:
Jean K. Tool SWA – The SWA has several deep washouts including breaks in ditches. CPW is working with the ditch company to fill holes, and fix the ditches and washouts on the SWA.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado’s wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation. For more information go to cpw.state.co.us.