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Colorado’s Backcountry Specialists Since 1988

Shawn Welder on how hunters get licenses for deer and elk, at least for the next two years.

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Hunting with Welder Outfitters | 0 comments

Welder Outfitting Services is based at the Welder Ranch location on the White River east of Meeker, CO.

Dear Big Game Hunter

The difficult Winter last year in Northwest Colorado has led to big changes in how hunters get licenses for deer and elk, at least for the next two years. Stressful conditions took their toll on Elk, deer, and Antelope herds, significantly impacting populations, particularly in the most Northwestern areas of the state.

While it’s true that all rifle seasons now require a draw, this change actually brings good news for out-of-state hunters. The new system is expected to result in fewer applicants for the 2nd and 3rd rifle seasons, which means more tags are likely available for those that apply.

On the White River, our elk came through the Winter in better condition than other areas. Of the 12 guided archery hunters we hosted for 2023, 7 took at least one or more shots at a bull elk. Of our 10 guided 1st rifle season guided elk hunters, 6 got shots at bull elk. 2nd rifle season cooled down as very mild conditions prevailed through the later seasons.

As we transition into Spring, the elk, deer, and antelope thrive in mild conditions and abundant feed. This has led to remarkably high survival rates, which bodes well for future hunting seasons. We anticipate a higher recruitment rate with increased calf elk and fawn deer crops.

March is the month for submitting applications for big game hunts. Please contact me any time if we can help you explore 2024 hunting opportunities in the backcountry of the White River National Forest and Flat Top Wilderness in game management units 24 and 12. We still have guided hunts available for the 2nd and 3rd rifle seasons and one camp available for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rifle seasons.

Thanks, Shawn Welder

We know that our hunters come back year after year because of these great accommodations that are only minutes away from the many hunting areas that we access


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