Mulies In Southeast Colorado


Published: May - 2000

I continue to recommend mule deer hunting in the southeast corner of Colorado. In the heyday of mule deer hunting, this corner of the world would not have come to mind as a trophy hotspot. However, things have changed now, partially because of the mule deer decline elsewhere. The truth is they kill big bucks in the southeast units every year. For example, both my son and I have killed 30-inch and wider bucks there in recent years.

One outfitter I can recommend who hunts near Kim, Colorado, is Kirk Kennedy of Kennedy Hunting Services. He provides hunts under the Ranching For Wildlife program that has received so much press recently. The program, you'll recall, encourages landowners to open their lands to public hunting. In return, it guarantees them a certain number of permits they can sell to hunters, or to contracting outfitters like Kennedy. The program also allows ranchers or their contracting outfitters to establish their own seasons, within guidelines.

One big change this year in the program is the state's decision to no longer allow nonresidents to enter the general drawing for Ranching For Wildlife permits. When I asked Kennedy about the impact of this decision on his operation, he indicated that far fewer than half of his clients historically came from the general drawing. He indicated he has no openings left for this season, and is already booking for next year, so obviously the impact has been negligible.

Kennedy provides hunts on eight ranches covering 90,000 acres. He typically hosts from 16 to 17 hunters, and nearly all of them can expect to kill a buck. Last fall, for example, 14 out of his 17 hunters tagged bucks scoring as high as 193 points. This is one outfit that will always have big bucks for one simple reason - he requires his guides to carefully control the bucks harvested. Their guideline is to harvest bucks that have either reached their potential, or are obviously genetically inferior bucks. In any case, the hunter has the final decision on shooting or not.........(continued)

 
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