||Nearest CPW Office:|
||Grand Junction Office|
0655 209 Road;
PO Box 169 (mailing address)
DeBeque, CO 81630
|711 Independent Avenue|
Grand Junction, CO 81501
|970-283-1145, ext 178 (office)
Kessler Canyon is located about 36 miles east of Grand Junction, and 18 miles north of DeBeque. From DeBeque travel north on County Road 204 about 13 miles to the Cowboy Chapel. At the Chapel, veer left and travel west on County Road 204 for 3.3 miles to the Brush Creek Road, turn right through the ranch gates and go north 1.1 miles to the shop/check-in.
Area Maps: USGS Quads: Desert Gulch, Mount Blaine
National Forest: None
BLM: Douglas Pass
Species Available: Deer, Elk
Terrain and Access: Elevation on the ranch varies from 5,600 to 8,400 feet. Highest elevations are on Skinner Ridge, a large brushy mesa, which is separated from the main drainage by precipitous cliff faces. Brush Creek drains the ranch generally from north to south. Lower elevations contain riparian vegetation along Brush Creek and adjacent upland benches containing irrigated meadows and sagebrush flats, rising through mainly junipers toward Skinner Ridge cliffs. On Skinner Ridge the vegetation is mainly rolling serviceberry, chokecherry, and mountain mahogany hills. There are some areas with interspersed juniper and some more open areas with bitterbrush and sagebrush. Some isolated pockets of douglas fir and aspen at higher elevations and north facing slopes. Hunters will be distributed across the ranch via a draw for hunting areas and all hunters will be escorted or directed into hunting areas. The remainder of the hunt will be on your own. Access to Skinner Ridge is via a narrow, steep, tightly switch-back road. Full size vehicles cannot negotiate this road safely, so access on the road is limited to small 4-WD vehicles and traffic will be allowed one-way only controlled by Ranch radio communication with personnel at each end of this road segment. Vehicles should be equipped with tire chains during periods of inclement weather.
Average Success Rates: Please see Participating Ranches.
Check the Ranching for Wildlife main page for season dates.
There are no antler-point restrictions for any of the ranches. No over-the-counter licenses are offered on these properties. Ranching for Wildlife licenses are open to Colorado residents only. Licenses are only for the season and ranch on the license. For more information on season dates and application deadlines, see the Big Game Hunting Brochure.
Ranch rules from previous seasons are provided for a general perspective. Ranch rules are negotiated annually and some rule changes may take affect this year.
Ranch Hunting Rules
Kessler Canyon prides itself on providing high-quality hunting experiences using fair chase methods. To maintain our quality standards and ensure the safety of our guests, the Ranch has established the following rules.
- The Ranch and its employees will adhere to all Federal and State game laws at all times and uphold the highest standards of fair chase and ethical hunting. All Ranch guests are asked to do the same. The Ranch reserves the right to ask any hunter who refuses to abide by Ranch rules or State game laws to leave the Ranch, hunting privileges on the Ranch will be terminated, and violators may be subject to prosecution.
- All hunters will be asked to attend an orientation meeting and weapon sight-in session the afternoon prior to their hunt dates. The meeting will be held from 3 pm to 5 pm at the Ranch shop. While this is not a mandatory meeting, we strongly urge you to attend. Your participation will help streamline the hunt for all parties, and ensure firearm accuracy has been retained after the trip to the Ranch. We are strongly committed to the wildlife resource and we ask for your help in doing everything possible to ensure quick, clean kills in the field.
- The Ranch is divided into hunting units to ensure an uncrowded, high quality hunting experience. Hunters will randomly draw hunt units each day and then will be escorted by Ranch employees to the hunt areas. Hunters will be picked up and returned to the check-in center each evening. A one-lane road which accesses the higher elevation hunt areas makes it logistically impossible to allow hunters to utilize full-size vehicles. Four-wheelers are permitted, but must stay on established Ranch roads at all times. All traffic is coordinated via radio and hunters must be escorted by Ranch personnel on this road. Each hunter will be given a hunt area card at the check-in center. This card should remain in the hunter's possession while on the property, and will be returned to a Ranch staff member at the check-in center at the end of each day. The check-in center will open 1 hour before sunrise and close 1.5 hours after sunset. All hunters must check out before the daily closing time. A daily schedule of exact times will be posted at the check-in center during the hunt.
- All animals harvested must be inspected by the Ranch biologist for data-gathering and management purposes. Successful hunters must field dress and transport their animal to the nearest Ranch roadway and Ranch staff will assist with transport from that point. It is recommended that hunters separate the carcass in halves by circumscribing a cut between the 3rd and 4th ribs and separating the animal at the backbone. Quartering is also acceptable, but please note that the entire head of the animal is required for data collection purposes. Hunters will be directed to our data collection center when checking out.
- The Ranch has self-imposed several road closures for both public and private hunters to protect wildlife habitat, increase wildlife security and create a more sporting opportunity for hunters (see enclosed map). All vehicles must stay on established, designated roads. Four-wheelers and other ATVs, are considered vehicles and must remain on designated roads at all times. The speed limit is 15 mph on all Ranch roads.
- The Ranch has established hunting closure areas to ensure safety for employees and guests around ranch buildings, facilities and non-hunting activity areas, and one closure area has been implemented to allow wildlife a refuge from human intrusion and provide viewing opportunities for all guests. These areas are marked in the field with signs and are indicated on the map provided to successful licenses applicants. The areas are closed to all hunting, public and private alike.
- Hunting from horseback is not permitted, nor is it necessary given the relatively gentle topography on most of the Ranch hunting area. The Ranch has also implemented an extensive weed control program, which includes strict livestock control. Livestock are excellent vectors for dispersal of noxious weed seeds, both internally through the digestive tract and externally through hair attachment. For this reason, hunters may not bring their personal riding horses or pack animals onto the Ranch. Hunting access is by vehicle and foot-travel only.
- For safety, and to assist with game handling, each licensed hunter may be accompanied by a maximum of one non-hunting companion of legal hunting age.
- All Ranch guests (including non-hunting companions) will be required to sign a release of liability and a waiver of claims prior to the hunt.
- No access to the Ranch will be allowed prior to the public hunt dates, except for the orientation meeting.
- Trespassing on neighboring private lands will not be tolerated, and will result in revocation of hunting privileges on the Ranch. Violators may also be subject to prosecution from the landowner on which the violation occurs.
- Do not carry a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. The action of a firearm should remain open at all times while in a motor vehicle. Do not inject a cartridge into the chamber until you are out of the vehicle in a safe position. Shooting from vehicles is strictly prohibited.
- All firearms are to be unloaded and actions left open prior to entering any Ranch facilities.
- Alcohol consumption before or while hunting is strictly forbidden. Intoxicated hunters will be asked to leave the Ranch.
- Hunting ethics, respect for animals, and hunter skills are all high priorities of the Ranch. Rifle shots in excess of 300 yards and bow shots farther than 40 yards are discouraged.
- In the event that a hunter wounds an animal, the hunter shall make every reasonable effort to find that animal, dispatch it humanely, and take it into possession.
- Hunting for bear, mountain lion, coyotes or small game is not permitted. Fishing is not permitted.
- No overnight use of the Ranch is permitted.
- All fires are prohibited.
- There is no smoking allowed on the Ranch at any time. Fire risk can be extremely high in this area, even when snow is present. Please help us protect habitat and prevent unplanned and uncontrolled fires.
- Please do not litter. The Ranch has gone to considerable expense to clean up past abuse of our natural resources and takes great pride in promoting a land stewardship among employees. We ask that you help us continue to improve the hunting experience by joining us in picking up cans, plastic bags and other litter you may find while hunting.
- In order to make this program a success for the Ranch and for you, we need your cooperation in adhering to the above rules.
Motels are located in Grand Junction, Parachute, and Palisade. Camping is available on BLM land east of Garfield County Road 204, south of the Cowboy Chapel. There is one restaurant and one gas station in DeBeque.