A Weekend in the Rut

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Mule deer buck and doe during the rut. All photos and video by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW.

Let me start by stating that I am not a videographer — no awards will be won by me. I’m a decent photographer and an acceptable (I think) writer, but I am fully aware that David Attenborough will not be contacting me any time soon for my video skills. That being said, if a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is worth considerably more of those words.

For years, words and pictures have been all I have had to go by when researching the behaviors of deer (both white-tailed and mule) during the rut, but last weekend I was lucky enough to find myself surrounded by deer acting quite rutty. So, in between capturing still photos, I made use of my Nikon’s video function. According to some of my sources, white-tailed deer start their rut a week or so earlier than the muleys and that seemed to be true last weekend. Whitetail bucks were running through the shrubs and over the hills like hormonal teenagers, but once a whitetail buck found a doe that might be receptive, he tended to her with laser focus, only taking breaks to run off competitors.

However, the mule deer were just ramping up. “They’re not acting very rutty,” said one of the other photographers as we shot different angles of the same buck and doe. The bucks would chase the does to see whether they were ready and receptive. There was a fair amount of thrashing at rubs, snorting, sniffing, stamping and performing the flehmen response. If I capture more of their behaviors, I will update this post. Read more

Big Mack Attack

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Theo focused on landing his first Mackinaw. All photos by © Doug Skinner/CPW 

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Flathead Lake Whitefish

For several weeks, my wife and son have been asking to plan a fishing trip. And Theo was not just asking for any fishing trip, but a trip where he would have a chance to add new species and preferably a new size record to his fishing list. Last summer, he caught his personal record in Montana – a good-sized whitefish out of Flathead Lake. The whitefish was not huge, but it whet his appetite for bigger fights. And while he enjoyed catching the whitefish, it was bothering him that his biggest catch was an out of state fish. He was looking for a Colorado fish to be his “personal record.” Read more

10 Tips for Hunting Doves in Colorado

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A harvested mourning dove. Photo by Jerry Neal (CPW)

When it comes to small-game hunting, doves are arguably the greatest challenge for wingshooters. Although these fast flyers are Colorado’s most plentiful game bird, you’ll need to bring your “A” game to fill the 15-bird daily limit.  The following tips and information will help you have more fun and put more doves in your game-bag.  Additionally, the 2017 season has been extended to November 29, which will give huners an increased opportunity to get out into the field.
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Video: Colorado Big-Game Hunting Forecast

As summer fades and temperatures cool, Colorado’s big-game seasons are about to heat up. And, if you plan to hunt this fall you have plenty of reasons to look forward to opening day. Wildlife biologists, in general, predict good hunting across most of the state.

This video provides statewide and regional forecasts for the 2017 big-game seasons:
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Blog post and video by Jerry Neal. Neal is a videographer and information specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

2018 Colorado Outdoors Photo Issue Video

COLORADO’S OUTDOORS

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Colorado Outdoors, and we’re thankful for the ability to share the stories of conservation, wildlife and our sporting and recreation heritage with you over eight decades. Started in 1938 as a publication of the newly formed Colorado Game and Fish Commission, the original Colorado Conservation Comments has undergone several changes over the years to become the full-color bimonthly magazine you hold today. One thing that has not changed is our mission to deliver information about the intersection of hunting, angling, recreation and conservation that is perhaps more vital today than ever before. Read more

Battle Scars

 

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Mule deer buck after a fight. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW.

For hunters, photographers, biologists, wildlife watchers, etc., when it comes to deer in the fall, the talk always turns to the rut. “When does it start? Which is first — whitetails or muleys?” While the people are debating, the bucks are out battling and chasing does in the field. This mule deer buck was captured by my camera this morning, coursing through the grasslands right after a fight. I’m not sure if he was the winner or loser, but he was riled up, sniffing, grunting and intent on finding a receptive doe. At one point, three does were on one side of a fence, so he squeezed under it to get to them as soon as possible and gave each a good sniff.

I can’t tell you exactly when the rut begins and ends, but I can share that for this buck, the time is now.


Wayne D. Lewis is the editor and art director of Colorado Outdoors magazine.

Whirling disease-resistant trout thriving in Arkansas River

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A Gunnison River rainbow trout after it was caught last May during spawning operations by Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists. Because they are resistant to deadly whirling disease, Gunnison River rainbow trout are being spawned so that strain of rainbows can be stocked in rivers across the state. Photo by © Bill Vogrin/CPW

A recent survey by Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists found rainbow trout thriving in the Arkansas River near Salida offering a hopeful sign for wildlife conservation efforts aimed at overcoming whirling disease, which decimated trout populations in Colorado after its discovery in the 1980s. Read more

A Hiker’s Guide to Dog Training

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All photos by © Jenn Fantasia

On a crisp Friday morning, I wind my way up a solid dirt path with my faithful Saint Bernard, Bailey, alongside. We’re in route to Herman Gulch, a stunning and popular lake destination for hikers in Colorado. Tall evergreens line the well-traveled path and a crystal-clear river provides a pleasant soundtrack to our ascent. After hiking 3.5 miles uphill, we reach the ridge. My hiking boots punch through remnants of snow patches and Bailey happily throws gulps of snow into her mouth, chomping at the tiny pieces of ice as they spill out of her jowls. We crest the ridge and gaze upon the sparkling lake below, cradled in a natural bowl surrounded by jagged mountain peaks. We stop to take it all in. Read more

The Angler’s Crystal Ball

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Josh Nehring shows a catfish from a recent survey. All photos by © Wayne Lewis/CPW.

Have you ever wished that you could see beneath the surface of a new fishing spot – just to get a quick glimpse – a small clue – of the variety and size of fish? Often, what lies beneath the surface of Colorado’s fishable waters would shock the average angler and, at times, even shocks CPW biologists. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is the lead agency responsible for fisheries management of public waters in the state of Colorado. And while fishing pressure, weather changes and a number of other factors can impact fishing locations from year to year, CPW aquatic biologists spend a great deal of time in the field making sure that they have their fingers on the pulse of the underwater world. Read more

2018 Pheasant & Quail Forecast

Pheasant Hunting Conditions

In comparison to last year, Colorado’s forecast for the 2018 pheasant hunting season is going to be right around the average mark. Conditions for nesting and brood-rearing weren’t optimal this year, but the conditions weren’t bad either. Last winter was dry, which means that there wasn’t a lot of soil moisture early this year. So green wheat and early brood-rearing habitat didn’t get an early start. Wet weather did arrive in May, which was good, and then June dried out, with warmer than normal temperatures for several days. In late July and early August, a series of pretty significant hailstorms came through the core pheasant region. And those storms definitely had an impact on habitat, as well as birds with some being killed by hailstones. Read more

Volunteering for the Walleye Spawn Operation

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Growing up among so much beauty I would find myself asking, “Who put the fish in the lakes?” Once again faced with a “Chicken and the Egg” dilemma, I put it down to Mother Nature and natural progression.

In this case of the “Fish and the Egg,” I would find my answer 15 years later with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Aquatic Biologists. These awesome biologists do everything from managing habitat to monitoring water conditions, figuring out fish populations, and protecting our native fish from invasive species and pollution as “all in a day’s work.” Come rain, sunshine, snow or high winds, our biologists are out there helping our wildlife survive and flourish. Read more

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