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. 

Evidence of dinosaurs and other ancient history exposed in Colorado state parks

When I was in college, a million years ago, there were two classes I needed, and dreaded, to complete my biology degree: parasitology and geology.

I put off taking them as long as I could but eventually had to bite the proverbial bullet. I was right all along about parasitology. It really bugged me. (Sorry.) But geology was a pleasant surprise. It really rocked. (Sorry, again.)

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4 Significant Changes For Colorado Big Game Hunters

The release of Colorado’s Sheep & Goat and Big Game brochures brings the promise and excitement of new hunting seasons. With over-the-counter maps, hunt codes, season dates and fees, the brochures confirm that what we’ve done in the past is still available, aid us in finding new opportunities and help support a strategy to secure a license for the upcoming seasons. Most years, we dive in with purpose, flipping to the sections that we know will help us get the job done (or scrolling if you’re looking at the brochures online). I caution you – do not take that approach this year!

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Nature’s Dinner Table

On a recent outing along the Colorado River, wildlife photographer Richard Spitzer witnessed the power and beauty of raptors in a way that few ever will. In the series of photos below, Spitzer captures golden eagles, a bald eagle, and a number of magpies in a heated competition for a seat at nature’s dinner table. Warning: While the following photos showcase the agility and magnificence of some of Colorado’s largest raptors, they do depict graphic content.

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2019 COLORADO OUTDOORS PREFERENCE POINT ISSUE

If you’re a Colorado big-game hunter, now’s the time to prepare for the 2019 hunting seasons.

Colorado Outdoors, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s conservation magazine, is a valuable planning resource for hunters. The Jan/Feb issue features big-game preference points for deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose.

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Orphaned Bear Cubs Get A Second Chance at Freedom

Eight orphaned bear cubs get second chance at freedom as CPW places them in artificial dens on Pikes Peak. All photos by © Mike DelliVeneri/CPW.

Hopefully, eight orphaned bear cubs are now sleeping peacefully on Pikes Peak, snug inside artificial dens built by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, staff and volunteers during a recent snowstorm.

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The True Meaning of the Christmas Bird Count

CPW Wildlife Biologist April Estep and volunteer Bobby Day participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count at the United States Air Force Academy.
All photos by © Travis Duncan/CPW

2018 was The Year of the Bird, a year in which Colorado Parks and Wildlife joined organizations like National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International to help rally local and worldwide awareness and support for birds and their habitats in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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A Family Affair – DIY Colorado Archery Elk Hunt

Elk Hunter, Angela
Angela Huitt

September in Colorado brings cooler mornings, the color change of Aspen leaves in the mountains, the fascination with pumpkin spice everything and most importantly, archery season. This year I got my first elk tag for a draw unit. In years prior, I hunted with an over the counter tag. The excitement of this hunt dwindled some as the summer passed due to the dozens of wildfires and severe drought. Hunting, in general, would be more difficult; I was going to have to work for it if I wanted a chance at harvesting a bull.

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Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)

Hiking at Roxborough State Park

As Coloradans, living life outside is what we do. Whether hunting, fishing, hiking, biking or engaging in other forms of recreation, the majority of us spend valuable time enjoying Colorado’s magnificent outdoors. Statistically speaking, approximately 92% of Coloradans recreate in the outdoors at least once every few weeks and some, four or more times per week. With one of the country’s fastest-growing populations, however, residents and tourists are facing crowding at public recreation areas, maintenance backlogs and conflicting outdoor recreation pursuits.

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Duck Decoy Basics

A good set of duck decoys is a must-have item for any waterfowl hunter.

Yet, with the vast assortment of decoys and brands available to hunters, it can be overwhelming to know exactly where to begin.

If you’re a novice hunter who is about to purchase waterfowl equipment, a dozen floating mallard decoys are usually enough to begin hunting Colorado’s smaller sloughs, marshes and rivers. Read more

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