What day is it, anyway?
by Gary Rollins
April is a tough month. It begins with those silly April Fool’s Day pranks and includes April 15 – the Ides of April! — the day Uncle Sam takes whatever you have left. It gets worse. If you dig into your wallet, you’ll see your Colorado Fishing License expired on March 31. Fact is, all of your Colorado licenses expired. Time is not your ally.
As we all watch the snow melt, the ice on Monument and North Lakes and Lake Trinidad is growing thinner each minute the thermometer stays above freezing. Up in Cuchara, Bear and Blue Lakes are both nearing the point where the fishing can officially begin. As the ice disappears, those hungry rainbow and brown trout in all of these wonderful lakes are awaiting the chance to feed voraciously after a frigid winter below the ice. It is a “magic moment” in Southern Colorado.
We are blessed to live in a state where the entire licensing process is relatively easy to decipher. Colorado publishes some fine publications that make it easier for a hunter to be prepared (read licensed) to hunt deer, elk, bear, antelope, cougar, sheep, turkey and other small game as the seasons unfold.
This would be an excellent time for you to stop by Hollowpoint Gun Shop or The Pawn Shop, both in Walsenburg, and pick up a full set of brochures that clearly spell out all of the rules and the boundaries and seasons for the various Game Management Units (called GMU’s).
The seasons vary by locale and there are rifle, muzzle loading and archery seasons that also come into play. Although the folks at the two referenced sites are helpful, they’ll quickly refer you to the Colorado Division of Wildlife website and recommend you study your options carefully.
Here’s the bad news.
While you were following March Madness or coping with Quicken as you prepare your 2009 Tax Return, the deadline for submitting your applications and your checks for the annual drawing zipped by two days ago.
On Tuesday, those who failed to submit both an application and a fee for the right to participate in the annual drawing would have to be considered out of luck for another season. There are exceptions, and there is a decent chance there will be an opportunity to purchase leftover tags for game that are not allocated for the drawing, but that is a subject for another column. You’ll have to dedicate a little time and avail yourself of the full range of options that are still available through your hunting pals.
Lastly, one of the truly great bargains is the sticker you should purchase at Lathrop State Park that will allow you unfettered access to Colorado State Parks this year. What a great time, also, to check in on the fishing opportunities just outside Walsenburg.
Gee, ain’t it funny, how time slips away. Every April.