Get in the (small) game
This past weekend marked more than the unofficial end of summer, it also was the beginning to the state’s hunting season.
Archery season began Friday, which may have surprised some mushroom hunters who spent the day in the woods and unexpectedly ran into someone dressed in camouflage and carrying a bow.
Archery hunters aren’t required to wear fluorescent orange unless hunting during a rifle season.
Archery runs through Sept. 28, with muzzeloader (blackpowder) season opening its two-week run on Sept. 17.
Some early small-game seasons, including chukar, grouse and mourning doves, began Monday.
This year there is no closed season on Eurasion collared doves, those ubiquitous and vocal birds with the skinny black neck band which, unlike their thin-skinned cousins, don’t migrate.
Concern that ECDs might out-compete native species for food and habitat, wildlife managers eliminated bag and possession limits on the Eurasian doves in addition to the year-round hunting season.
No license nor Habitat Stamp is required for Eurasian collared doves, starlings or English house sparrows, but you do need a hunter education certificate.
Small-game hunters (including migratory birds) need to get their Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration prior to going out in the field.
The program is a co-operative effort between the state and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to track the harvest of several small game species and provides key information in planning season structures, bag limits and the like.
It’s free and takes a few minutes, either online at http://www.colohip.com or by phone at 866-265-6447 (866-COLOHIP). The HIP program year ends March 1.
Also new this year and, judging from some reaction at the Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting last month in Fort Collins, already attracting a bit of attention and controversy, is the give-away of free fishing licenses to all nonresidents purchasing a big-game hunting license.
The fishing license is valid through March 15.