Cheyenne Mountain State Park Archery Range Hits Bullseye

An archer takes aim on the competition-style shooting course. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

An archer takes aim on the competition-style shooting course. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

When Mitch Martin, manager at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, invited me to attend and photograph the grand opening of his park’s new archery range, I have to admit, I really didn’t know what to expect. The term “outdoor range” immediately evoked memories of summer camp back in middle school, which consisted of lobbing arrows at hay bales and flimsy, easel-mounted targets that often tipped over in the slightest gust of wind.

What I discovered, however, is a modern, first-class shooting facility. Quite simply, the archery range at Cheyenne Mountain can be summed up in one word: awesome. Continue reading

CPW Seeks Participants for Novice Hunter Program

A group of hunters poses for a photo-op after a recent NHP pheasant Hunt. Photo by Theo Stein (CPW).

A group of hunters poses for a photo-op after a recent NHP pheasant Hunt. Photo by Theo Stein (CPW).

Experienced hunters enter the field confident of finding game. For new hunters, gaining that confidence — knowing the where, when, how and why of hunting — is often the biggest barrier to success.

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To Catch a Cougar: A Bowhunter’s Search for a Colorado Mountain Lion

mindy cat one

Bowhunter Mindy Paulek poses with a large, tom lion that she harvested near Durango, Colorado on Feb. 4, 2014. In addition to this trophy-sized lion, Paulek has taken record-sized bears and mule deer with her bow.

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.

Fortunately, challenges are nothing new for Paulek. The 30-year-old Durango resident has amassed an impressive hunting resume, harvesting bears, deer, elk, wild hogs and bobcats – all with her Mathews compound bow. She’s also bagged kudu, bushbuck, springbok, wildebeest and jackals on African safaris. But three years ago, Paulek set her sights closer to home on the one animal that had eluded her: a tom cougar.

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Cast from the Past

Vintage fishing equipment. Photo by © Jerry L. Neal (CPW)

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

Hunter Education Training is Now Available at Our Fingertips

Online hunter-education courses make it easy for aspiring hunters. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

Online hunter-education courses make it easy for aspiring hunters. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

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

CPW Field Journal ‘Adult-Onset Hunting’ (Part 4)

Photo by © Wayne D Lewis(CPW)

Photo by © Wayne D Lewis(CPW)

CPW Field Journal

When it comes to outdoors expertise, no one understands Colorado’s fishery and wildlife resources better than Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s diverse staff of wildlife managers, park rangers and biologists.  For these dedicated individuals, working for CPW is not just an occupation but a way of life.  When they’re not enforcing fish and game laws, patrolling state lands or conducting fish and wildlife research, most CPW employees are avid sportsmen and women who spend their leisure time hunting and angling throughout the state.  Here, CPW staff share their personal stories and experiences, provide on-the-ground field updates and offer a unique, “inside” perspective on all things hunting and fishing in Colorado.

GIS Analyst Chris Johnson

GIS Analyst Chris Johnson

In this special, multipart series of CPW field Journal, Chris Johnson, GIS analyst for CPW, shares his experiences and thoughts as a first-time hunter.  Johnson is part of a growing trend of adults, known as “Adult-Onset Hunters,” who are taking up hunting as a midlife pursuit.

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Outreach Program Brings Exciting Opportunities to New Hunters

A young hunter proudly displays a rooster pheasant she harvested while participating in the Novice Hunter Program.  Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

A young hunter displays a pheasant she harvested while participating in the Novice Hunter Program. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

A second straight year of drought took its toll on pheasant habitat and populations in 2014. But for 144 newly graduated hunter-education students who participated in a new Colorado Parks and Wildlife course, 2014 was a fun and exciting introduction to the sport.

The Novice Hunter Program was developed by CPW’s Northeast Region in response to a challenge by a former wildlife commissioner to do more to recruit youth into hunting. Drawing on expertise from across the agency, CPW developed a program designed to give new hunters the knowledge, skill and confidence to hunt pheasants in eastern Colorado.

Working with volunteers from Pheasants Forever, CPW’s Novice Hunter Program combined a morning of classroom instruction on pheasant biology, hunting tactics, safety and hunting ethics with an afternoon of field exercises and shotgun-shooting instruction. Continue reading

CPW Field Journal ‘Adult-Onset Hunting’ (Part 3)

Photo by © Wayne D Lewis(CPW)

Photo by © Wayne D Lewis(CPW)

CPW Field Journal

When it comes to outdoors expertise, no one understands Colorado’s fishery and wildlife resources better than Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s diverse staff of wildlife managers, park rangers and biologists.  For these dedicated individuals, working for CPW is not just an occupation but a way of life.  When they’re not enforcing fish and game laws, patrolling state lands or conducting fish and wildlife research, most CPW employees are avid sportsmen and women who spend their leisure time hunting and angling throughout the state.  Here, CPW staff share their personal stories and experiences, provide on-the-ground field updates and offer a unique, “inside” perspective on all things hunting and fishing in Colorado.

GIS Analyst Chris Johnson

GIS Analyst Chris Johnson

In this special, multipart series of CPW field Journal, Chris Johnson, GIS analyst for CPW, shares his experiences and thoughts as a first-time hunter.  Johnson is part of a growing trend of adults, known as “Adult-Onset Hunters,” who are taking up hunting as a midlife pursuit. Continue reading

Colorado’s Pheasant Season Underway

black dog for blog

A black Lab proudly displays a rooster pheasant. Photo by © Jerry Neal/CPW.

On Nov. 9, hunters and bird dogs alike will celebrate as Colorado’s 2013-14 pheasant season opens statewide.

According to state wildlife managers, Colorado’s pheasant population, impacted by widespread drought, has declined from the banner years hunters enjoyed just a few seasons ago. Although this will likely mean fewer birds in your game bag this year, there are still plenty of reasons to lace up the hunting boots and explore Colorado’s Eastern Plains this fall. Continue reading

CPW Field Journal ‘Sssssh . . . I’m Hunting’

Photo by © Wayne D Lewis(CPW)

Photo by © Wayne D Lewis(CPW)

CPW Field Journal

When it comes to outdoors expertise, no one understands Colorado’s fishery and wildlife resources better than Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s diverse staff of wildlife managers, park rangers and biologists.  For these dedicated individuals, working for CPW is not just an occupation but a way of life.  When they’re not enforcing fish and game laws, patrolling state lands or conducting fish and wildlife research, most CPW employees are avid sportsmen and women who spend their leisure time hunting and angling throughout the state.  Here, CPW staff share their personal stories and experiences, provide on-the-ground field updates and offer a unique, “inside” perspective on all things hunting and fishing in Colorado.

Patt 11 Pronghorn

Patt Dorsey displays a pronghorn buck. Photo by Lyle Willmarth.

In this segment of CPW Field Journal, Patt Dorsey, southwest regional manager for CPW, explains how the “silence” of hunting has helped her, and others, develop a deeper connection to nature and to de-stress from daily life.

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