Calling mountain lions “elusive” is a radical understatement. It’s as if the ultra-secretive cats are equipped with cloaking devices that allow them to remain nearly invisible in their surroundings, while leaving behind only vague clues of their presence. In fact, relatively few people will ever catch a glimpse of a mountain lion in the wild, and most are perfectly happy to keep it that way. But, for bowhunter Mindy Paulek, seeing mountain lions became an almost routine experience. However, finding and harvesting the “right” mountain lion turned into a monumental challenge for the archer — one spanning three years and hundreds of miles in Colorado’s backcountry. Continue reading
Blue Mesa Reservoir – The pile of yellow perch in front of Cally Westcoat grew larger during the day. Although she and her fishing partner Colt Emich saw periods of slow action, there were times when she could not get her lure to the bottom before another perch was on her line. When the catch was tallied at the end of the day, Cally, Colt and Dan Emich had reduced the perch population by 72. Continue reading
Don’t miss your chance to experience the excitement and adventure of a Colorado big-game hunt. The application deadline for the 2014 limited-license drawing is Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Over-the-counter and leftover licenses go on sale Aug. 5. For more information, view the 2014 Big Game Brochure, now available online, or at statewide Colorado Parks and Wildlife service centers and license agents.
Antelope are a unique North American native. However, it is, in fact, a mistake to call them antelope. Although many people refer to Colorado pronghorn by this name, their resemblance to the African antelope species (Old World members of the cow family) is only superficial. Interestingly, pronghorn have a DNA match closer to the giraffe than any other animal.
The name pronghorn is derived from the forward projection, or prong, on each horn. Sometimes up to seventeen inches long, the horn is composed of a fused hair (keratin) sheath, which covers a bone core. Unlike true horns (but similar to antlers), males usually shed this sheath after breeding each fall, and then they grow a new one. About 40 percent of females have horns, but they don’t get any longer than their ears and never fork. And only males have a black patch on the jaw below the eye. Continue reading
I like vintage fishing gear. There’s just something fascinating about old rods and reels and the unique history they possess. Behind every bent eyelet or scratched and faded surface are untold stories of backcountry adventures and decades of devoted use. Some blemishes denote years of hard-fought battles with feisty trout, while other scars speak of far less glamorous tales: of a fly fisher’s misstep on a “snot-covered” river bottom that sent both angler and his shiny, new equipment crashing against submerged rocks. Continue reading
Weston Mosey is just 17 years old. But when it comes to his angling expertise, he is wise beyond his years.
Mosey, a junior at Pueblo West High School, spends an average of 80 days a year fishing nearby Lake Pueblo (that’s nearly three full months of angling in case you’re doing the math). Mosey is also a member of his school’s fishing team, the Cyclone Anglers, where he competes regularly in local and statewide fishing tournaments. Yet, despite his vast experience, even Mosey was surprised by his catch at Lake Pueblo on May 3, 2013. Continue reading
Strange thing … the power that fish averaging only 8-inches long can have over humans. Yet, despite their size, yellow perch have a following of devotees in Colorado, especially among ice fishers, where the devotion can approach the cult level.
Perch loyalists tend to be narrow in their focus, interested in seeing nothing but perch coming through the ice. Trout caught incidentally are fun to play and release but are otherwise considered a nuisance, a diversion from the mission, which is putting as many perch on the ice as possible. Continue reading
Story by Gary Berlin
Formal hunter education training has existed since 1949 when New York became the first state to require hunters to complete hunter education prior to buying a hunting license. More than 20 years later, Colorado joined the ranks, requiring anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1949 to obtain a hunter education certificate to purchase or apply for a hunting license. Because of the success of hunter education training, which reduced hunting-related shooting incidents, today all 50 states and 11 Canadian provinces have some type of hunter education requirement.
Between 1949 and 2000, a typical hunter education class consisted of 12 to 22 hours of formal classroom training, passing a comprehensive written exam, demonstrating safe gun-handling techniques and firearms proficiency at a firing range. It was not uncommon for a student to attend three to six individual class sessions before obtaining their hunter education certificate.
At the onset of the 21st century, a number of far-sighted, state hunter-education administrators recognized that many of their residents were resorting to the Internet for their news, information, entertainment and education. These administrators submitted a proposal to the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) to create a program for online delivery of hunter education. Continue reading
Spring is right around the corner — time to hang up your camo clothing and forget about hunting until next fall, right? Wrong. For Colorado big-game hunters, there is no better time than right now to prepare for the fall hunting seasons.
Colorado Outdoors, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s in-house conservation magazine, is a valuable planning resource for hunters. The Jan/Feb issue features preference-point data and statewide herd-population estimates to guide big-game hunters in selecting Game Management Units (GMUs) and applying for limited licenses.
To order the 2014 “Preference Point” issue or to purchase an annual subscription to Colorado Outdoors magazine, please call: 1-800-417-8986.
Renowned elk hunter David Petersen describes, in his book “A Man Made of Elk,” a bugling bull as “an otherworldly music … like a calamitous crescendo of bluesy high notes blown on a saxophone, proclaiming a wildness we can only imagine.” Although I’ve been privileged to hunt and hear many bugling bulls over the years, each time seems like the first. A majestic bull elk with his head lifted skyward, antlers tipped toward the ground, cold breath steaming to the heavens — a cry of power and strength, of rut and kingship, an awe-inspiring expression of the wild.
During Oct. 2011, I set up elk hunting camp in the wilds of southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, little more than a few miles from David Petersen’s hand-built cabin, hoping to encounter one of these bugling, Rocky Mountain monarchs. I was privileged to enjoy David’s company in camp Friday evening (Oct. 14), before first rife season opened, and then spent a morning (Oct. 18) hunting with him, after covering a lot of vertical terrain and encountering multiple mule deer and other hunters, but no elk. Continue reading