Hunting season goes on despite government shutdown

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) Many hunters are packing their gear getting ready for Colorado's famous rifle hunting season, but the federal government closure has many wondering if their trips can happen because of the shutdown.

Good news for Western Slope hunters: the quick answer is no. Even still, the closure of federal lands is encroaching on lands that are normally prime hunting grounds.

Hunter Bill Schaefer always spends this time of year hunting. It's a tradition he passed down to his son, and says it would be devastating if they couldn't go out this year because of the shutdown.

"We look forward to it every year, it would be a major blow to us if we couldn't hunt on federal land," he said.

That's been the concern of many hunters over the last 10 days. The phones at the Colorado Parks & Wildlife offices have been ringing off the hook, with everyone asking if this year's hunt is going to go through.

The answer is yes, as despite all the national park closures, federal lands are still open.

"I've had to convince a lot of people that we are still open and that there is no closures and you can still hunt on national forest, BLM land. All federal land is still open," Faye Hall with Colorado Parks and Wildlife says.

That's just what the Schaefers wanted to hear, and soon this father-son team will be out hunting elk in Colorado's high country.

Rifle season for deer, elk and moose starts this Saturday.

The rifle dates are broken into four seasons, lasting through the month of October and into November.

Getting to your favorite hunting grounds may be more difficult with road closures, but officials say overall, nothing should be significantly impacted.

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