Get ready to buy leftover big-game hunting licenses

Off-road bikers and other users of the North Fruita Desert will start paying a camping fee Sept. 1 to use the campground on 18 road. The Bureau of Land Management is seeking a volunter campground host to monitor the area on weekends and holidays.


A researcher studying white-nosed syndrome in bats removes a bat caught in a mist net. Little is known about WNS but it’s estimated the disease has killed more than 5.5 milion bats since it was first documented in 2006-2007.

Leftover big-game hunting licenses, a parks and wildlife commission meeting covering the basics and the start of camping fees north of Fruita fill our Sunday platter.

Would-be big-game hunters who procrastinate each year until leftover licenses go on sale now can see which tags are available at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website,

That list is ready but the licenses themselves won’t be sold until 9 a.m. on Aug. 14. That’s the walk-up date of sales; online sales won’t start until Aug. 15 in an effort to balance the field for non-resident hunters who can’t or won’t make a live license agent on Aug. 14.

For a year in which much has been written about license shortages and hardships, there are a lot of leftover tags available for the unpicky.

According to Parks and Wildlife, approximately 34,000 elk licenses, 6,300 deer licenses and 6,300 pronghorn licenses will be available, along with more than 900 bear licenses and 120 fall turkey licenses.

Which means there surely is something to fit your skills, desires and abilities.

Note: Hunters purchasing a leftover license must have a driver’s license and hunter education card. Also, it’s a state law you provide your Social Security number when purchasing a hunting or fishing license.

Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting in Gunnison: This month’s commission meeting is Wednesday and Thursday at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison and as usual, the August agenda is light, to put it gently.

According to a pre-meeting release, the commissions will use its time “for a commissioner orientation, setting the calendar for future meetings and talking with members of the Gunnison community about local issues.”

It’s not a bad thing the commission tackles an orientation session.

The wildlife portion of the commission is one of the most politically and socially sensitive of the state’s many commission and demands an inordinate amount of homework from its members.

Gov. John Hickenlooper in July appointed the first true Parks and Wildlife commission since the merger between the two agencies, selecting seven re-appointees from the prior commission, one appointment of a former wildlife commission member, and three new members.

It’s good to let unsuspecting commissioners know how closely the microscope focuses, and that the public wants and deserves to know how, why and by whom decisions are made concerning our state’s wildlife resources.

BLM to charge camping fee: Heads up, mountain bikers and off-road enthusiasts: Starting Sept. 1, you’ll have to shell out $10 per night to camp at the North Fruita Desert campground on 18 Road.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a burden, but it’s time someone started paying for the privilege of having toilets, fire pits, picnic tables and a decent place to camp between outings in one of the region’s best off-road biking areas.

You’ll still have to bring your own water, shade and electricity, but it’s only 10 bucks.

There is one way to avoid the charge: The Bureau of Land management is seeking a volunteer campground host, someone working weekends, holidays and doing some “light maintenance,” according to the job advertisement.

How light depends on the other campers.

Info here:

Boat ramps closing at Blue Mesa Reservoir: With miles of shoreline and the foundations of Iola starting to show for the first time since 2002, it’s no surprise some of Blue Mesa’s shorter boat ramps no longer are usable.

This week saw the closing of the ramp at Ponderosa Campground with the Stevens Creek ramp limited to small craft, said spokesperson Sandy Snell-Dobert of Curecanti National Recreation Area.

Snell-Dobert said the Stevens Creek ramp will remain open through this weekend but ANS inspectors at the ramp are advising larger boats to launch elsewhere.

Large boats still may launch at the Iola, Lake Fork and Elk Creek ramps, Snell-Dobert said.

Friday, Blue Mesa was reported at 7,468.9 feet elevation, more than 50 feet down from its full-pool elevation of 7,519.4.

The reservoir had been dropping roughly one foot every four days but that rate has slowed with recent rains, the Bureau of Reclamation has reported.


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