An elk bugles during the rut. Video capture by Jerry Neal/CPW.
Living in Colorado, it’s easy to take for granted our enormous elk herds. After all, Colorado is home to nearly 280,000 animals — the largest elk population in North America. But did you know that elk were near extinction at the turn of the century? In fact, fewer than 1,000 elk remained in Colorado during the early 1900s. The elk’s dramatic demise was attributed to unregulated market-hunting.
A century ago, Colorado Parks and Wildlife imported 350 elk from Wyoming to re-establish dwindling herds. The elk were transported and released in Idaho Springs and in the Greenhorn Mountains in Pueblo County. Sportsmen also called for regulated hunting seasons to protect and manage elk populations. From these meager transplants, and through decades of conservation programs, elk populations have soared to the abundant herds for which Colorado is now famous. Read more
The Shiras moose is Colorado’s largest big-game animal. The moose is also one of Colorado’s biggest conservation success stories. Thanks to Colorado Parks and Wildlife and sportsmen, the once rare Shiras moose is now thriving in Colorado’s mountain parks. Read more
Locating Deer and Elk. Video by © Jerry Neal/CPW
Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists, park rangers and wildlife managers spend a substantial part of their careers in the field. This time in the field offers our experts valuable interaction with the public and, in turn, allows them to share information about what they are seeing and directly respond to the public’s questions. In an upcoming series of blog posts titled “Tools, Tips, and Tactics,” Colorado Outdoors Online will share advice and guidance from agency experts on a broad range of topics, including hunting, fishing, recreational trail use and much more. Read more
As a parent of a ten-year-old, my wife and I struggle to find a balance between our son’s interests in music, Dude Perfect videos and scheduled sports activities with our family’s interest in getting out into nature. The unscheduled outdoor adventures that were the cornerstone of my youth seem to be a casualty of the modern hustle and bustle. Right out of the gate, I feel like this is getting dangerously close to sounding like one of those “When I was a kid” stories, but things have really changed since I was a kid. Spontaneous pickup sports with a group of friends has been replaced by organized club soccer and team baseball, all with hectic practice schedules and weekend commitments. Even the physical landscape has changed. Along the Front Range, and many other areas of Colorado, once seemingly ubiquitous farm ponds and abundant fishing access appear to have been gobbled up by a rapidly growing housing market. Whether you have kids or not, you probably feel that some things are just a little different than they used to be. Read more
The biggest walleye of the day. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW
The author with his first-ever walleye.
With a big smile on my face, I posed with my first-ever walleye. For our group, it was the first fish of the day, and the first walleye I had ever seen in person — all pointy fins, sharp teeth and cataract eyes. If Disney made a movie about freshwater fish, a walleye would be cast as the quirky sidekick to the main villian (probably a pike). I was proud; if it had been a trout, it would have been a keeper. However, since it was just under 18 inches long, we had to release it. But, as it slipped back into the waters of Chatfield Reserevoir, I began to calculate how much per inch that walleye had cost. Read more
Colorado’s weather can change in an instant and the ability to quickly find shelter in the backcountry is crucial to survival.
An unexpected change in weather over Ridgeway State Park. Photo by Nick Clement/CPW
A great option for an emergency shelter is a brightly colored 4mm thick trash bag. The bags are affordable, easy to transport and provide a durable and effective shelter. Read more
This time of year, most outdoors-obsessed Coloradans grab their cell phones, Nikons, Canons — anything with a lens — and head to the mountains in search of Instagram-worthy photos of changing aspens. Local TV forecasters show detailed maps of peak times in peak areas, guiding caravans of leaf lovers into the hills. For them, the official signs of the change of season are mountains painted yellow and gold.
I, however, wanted to chronicle a different sign of the season — one more interesting to orange-clad hunters: that of mule deer bucks shedding their antler velvet. During the first few weeks of September, a few times a week, I would leave work and head to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge in northeast Denver hoping to find bucks lit by the golden-hour light. At the Arsenal, they have decent populations of both mule and white-tailed deer, but by the time I started this project, the whitetail bucks had all shed their velvet.
Andy Holland, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife big game manager, thinks that the peak date for mule deer shedding is Sept. 15. “But it varies,” he says. Read more
Rapidly changing weather above French Pass. Photo by Dennis Mckinney/CPW
Changes in weather may come at any time, especially in the high country. In the event of an unexpected change in weather, the only shelter you can truly count on is your clothing. And your clothing’s ability to keep you warm may be the difference between life and death. Read more
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.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to capture those amazing wildlife photographs seen in Colorado Outdoors?
In this video, Colorado photographer Vic Schendel offers an intimate look into the world of professional wildlife photography. Schendel, a frequent contributor to Colorado Outdoors magazine, shares stories behind some of his favorite photographs, offers simple tips for shooting better images and explains the inspiration that drives his life’s work. Big-game hunters will appreciate Schendel’s exceptional images of elk, bighorn sheep, deer and moose.
Video and blog post by Jerry Neal. Neal is the senior video producer and information specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.