Author Archives: Joe Lewandowski

Elk Hunting University

Bull, calves and cow elk

Hunters looking for information to help with their big game adventure will find plenty of useful material in Elk Hunting University. The information includes how to apply for a license, where to hunt, tips for hunting elk, detailed maps, how to field dress a big game animal and much more.

“We’re providing hunters with helpful information that will make their hunts more enjoyable and productive,” said Jason Duetsch, CPW’s hunter outreach coordinator. “These articles are not just aimed at novices, even veteran hunters will benefit from them.”

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CPW’s Multi-day Youth Camps

Costilla County Youth Camp

Teaching youth about wildlife, conservation and safe hunting is a primary focus for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Youngsters who learn about the importance of wildlife will carry that value with them throughout their lives. In addition to a variety of youth hunts and programs throughout the state, three annual multi-day youth camps occur in the San Luis Valley every summer. This video, by CPW’s Jerry Neal, highlights the Costilla County Youth Camp organized by Conrad Albert, a district wildlife manager in the San Luis Valley. This year was the 26th annual camp and Conrad continues to share his passion for hunting, wildlife and conservation. 


Joe Lewandowski is the public information officer for CPW’s Southwest Region. He’s based in Durango.

TRULY NATIVE

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) biologists have discovered a unique genetic lineage of the Colorado River cutthroat trout in southwest Colorado that was thought to be extinct. The agency will continue to evaluate the findings and collaborate with agency partners to protect and manage populations of this native trout.

The discovery was officially recognized earlier this year thanks to advanced genetic-testing techniques that can look into the basic components of an organism’s DNA, the building blocks of life. This find demonstrates the value of applying state-of-the-art genetic science to decades of native cutthroat conservation management and understanding.  Read more

Becoming a Real Straight Shooter

 

“Do you know how to shoot straight?”

While some people might take offense at such a question, it is one that big game hunters need to ask themselves every year. Shooting an animal with a high-powered rifle, no matter the distance, is not a natural skill. Hunters must know the capabilities of their rifles, the intricacies of their scopes, the characteristics of their ammunition, the distance of their targets and their own ability to quickly set up an ethical shot.

“Shooting is a perishable skill. If you haven’t done it in a while, you’re going to get rusty,” says Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager in the San Luis Valley. “There are people who believe they can go out, buy an expensive rifle and without any practice start shooting like the guys on the hunting shows on TV. Well, they can’t.” Read more

Long-term efforts saved Colorado wildlife

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Bowhunter. Photo by © Vic Schendel/CPW.

In Colorado 150 years ago wildlife faced a dire future.

To provide food for miners and settlers streaming west during the gold rush and land rush of the mid- and late-1800s, market hunters slaughtered deer, elk, bear, buffalo, bighorns, pronghorn and any type of bird that could provide meat. Fish fared no better as nets and even dynamite were set in rivers and streams. Polluted water flowing from mining operations also devastated hundreds of miles of rivers and streams. Read more

High-altitude Survival

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Every year, more than a few hunters must be rescued from the wilds and high country of Colorado. Hunters get trapped by snowstorms, injured in various types of accidents or simply get lost in the woods.

Hunters must remember that altitude can affect their health and their ability to move easily. And in the Rockies, weather can change quickly with fast-moving storms dumping a couple of feet of snow in just a few hours. Read more

Searching for Gunnison-sage Grouse

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Nate Seward, CPW Wildlife Biologist, searches for Gunnison sage-grouse. All photo by © Joe Lewandowski/CPW

YOTB_stacked_KBy 6 a.m. most mornings from mid-March through mid-May, Nate Seward is sitting on cold ground – or snow, or mud ‒ peering through a spotting scope watching Gunnison sage-grouse perform their annual dance. But he’s not just bird-watching for fun. He’s counting the birds at areas known as “leks”, where males gather to establish their dominance and where females gather to choose a mate. The daily work by Seward is an essential component in the long-term conservation effort by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to sustain this iconic species of the American West. Read more

Species of Greatest Conservation Need: Brown-capped Rosy-Finch

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Brown-capped Rosy Finch. All photos by © Joe Lewandowski/CPW

YOTB_stacked_KThe brown-capped rosy-finch goes by a delicate name, but it is one tough little bird that lives year-round in Colorado’s high country. While biologists don’t have much information about the brown-capped rosy-finch, there is concern that the population might be declining. Colorado Parks and Wildlife researchers, along with other collaborators, have started a project to learn more about the species and are inviting the state’s bird watchers to help gather information.

In CPW’s State Wildlife Action Plan, the brown-capped rosy-finch is identified as one of the 55 tier 1 “Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN)” in Colorado. Based on anecdotal evidence from the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count, numbers of brown-capped rosy-finches are down, raising concern among scientists that climate change could be affecting the finch’s high-altitude habitat. Read more

CPW Improves Gunnison Sage-Grouse Habitat

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A Gunnison sage-grouse. Photo by Bob Gress.

The Gunnison sage-grouse is an iconic species in Colorado. In the Gunnison Basin, CPW biologists are working to improve habitat to help the population of the birds there. This video explains how CPW is working in cooperation with private landowners and other conservation partners on projects to improve and restore “wet meadows” which are very important for Gunnison sage-grouse.

Video produced by Joe Lewandowski/CPW.

Ice Fishing at Mancos State Park

Located in remote southwest Colorado, Mancos State Park provides camping, fishing and connector trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling into the vast San Juan National Forest. It’s also just a 20-minute drive to world famous Mesa Verde National Park. This video provides a glimpse of one of the more popular winter activities at Mancos: ice fishing. 


Video produced by Joe Lewandowski/CPW. Lewandowski is the public information officer for CPW’s Southwest Region. He’s based in Durango.