Situated on the beautiful Arkansas River Valley in Southeast Colorado, the area surrounding the town of Fowler is a natural habitat for mule deer, antelope, turkey, waterfowl game, and even the occasional elk herd.

The land itself varies from sagebrush covered breaks, and prairie to thick river bottom farm ground or cedar covered canyons.

So, the fact that hunters and outdoorsmen flock to the rural area isn't a surprise, but at the center of the community's thriving hunting experience is Ark Valley Outfitters, a family owned and operated outfitting service founded by Fowler's Jim Baldwin.

Baldwin is a lifelong outdoorsman and a devoted family man. He shares his passion for the great outdoors with his family and his community.

In 2006, Baldwin answered the call to start his own outfitting business with the support of his wife Janelle and their children Clayton, Joy, and Luke.

Since Ark Valley Outfitters was founded, the business has thrived and enjoys nearly a 100% success rate.

This past year, the business' reputation hit the global market attracting a group of hunters from Slovakia.

According to Baldwin, his clientele consists mostly of out-of-state or international hunters who visit the area hoping to fill their mule deer or antelope tags.

When it comes to this small family business, it's all hands on deck. Baldwin serves as the owner/operator, Janelle feeds and provides hospitality to the hunters, their sons and nephews serve as guides, and their daughter helps with the marketing side of the business.

The Baldwins welcome hunters into their home and community, and are proud of the impacts their enterprise has on the small town's local economy.

"Our service contributes to the economy because it's outside money coming into our community," says Baldwin.

Perhaps the most loyal clients on Ark Valley Outfitters' list are a large group of hunters from Michigan.

According to Janelle Baldwin, this group, in particular, brings a lot of valuable business to the town of Fowler.

"Two of them (Michigan hunters) own a cabin south of town, so they're the ones that invite the group to their cabin. They come to town, buy groceries, support the liquor store, and the restaurants."

The positive local impacts of Ark Valley Outfitters doesn't stop there. Baldwin is most dedicated to the landowners in the area who make his business possible.

Area ranches like Reed Cattle Company and Apishapa Ranch allow the hunters access to their land which inhabits large herds of antelope and mule deer.

According to Baldwin, he pays the ranchers a trespass fee for each hunt.

For the ranchers' sake, Baldwin is reluctant to print the exact amount paid out to the area ranchers, but he did say they get a third of Ark Valley Outfitters' guide fee, and the total amount is significant.

Right now, the business provides guided hunts primarily in the rural area of Fowler, but in the future, they hope to expand and work with ranchers in regions such as Ordway.

They also continue to build on their solid word-of-mouth reputation by providing a superior hunting experience for their hunters and retain their impressive success rate.

To learn more visit Ark Valley Outfitters on Facebook.

jhamilton@ljtdmail.com