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
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
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:
Blog post and video by Jerry Neal. Neal is a videographer and information specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
A lynx surveys its new home in the San Juan Mountains. Photo by CPW.
Colorado boasts one of the most diverse and abundant wildlife populations in North America. Home to an astonishing 960 wildlife species, it might be easy to assume that Colorado’s fish and wildlife have always flourished. However, many of the state’s most cherished and iconic species prosper today only because of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) species conservation and wildlife reintroduction programs.
From the majestic Rocky Mountain elk and bighorn sheep, to the esteemed cutthroat trout and the renowned Canada lynx, here’s a summary of some of the species that are benefiting from ongoing conservation efforts, as well as the fish and wildlife that are thriving today because of CPW’s long and distinguished history of past achievements.
Colorado Outdoors Online thanks CPW employees, both past and present, who have dedicated their careers to protecting and perpetuating Colorado’s fish and wildlife resources, and graciously acknowledges Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), sportsmen and the many conservation organizations who have generously supported these efforts. Read more
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Did you know that Colorado offers some of the best big-game hunting in North America? Whether you’re an experienced hunter seeking a new adventure or a complete beginner who is looking to participate in your very first elk hunt, here are five reasons why you should hunt big game in Colorado this fall:
1. Millions of Acres of Public Land
Wide open spaces. That’s what you’ll find here. With more than 23-million acres of public land, Colorado boasts some of the best hunting access in the nation. To put this into perspective: Colorado’s public-land acreage is equal in size to the entire state of Indiana. Here you can hunt national forests, state wildlife areas, state parks, state trust and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. Hunting big game in Colorado truly epitomizes the spirit of fair chase in vast expanses of open terrain. Read more
The April 4th deadline to apply for a big-game license is fast approaching. And if you plan to hunt big game in Colorado this fall, now’s the time to submit your application.
Although Colorado offers a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) hunting licenses, many big-game tags, called “limited licenses,” are only available through the annual drawing.
Whether this is your first time applying for a limited license or you’ve applied before but are seeking some additional tips, here’s some information to help you successfully navigate this year’s drawing. Read more
If you’re a big-game hunter, now’s the time to prepare for Colorado’s limited-license drawing. The application deadline for this year’s drawing is April 4.
Did you know that Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Draw Recap Reports provide a valuable resource to help you apply for a limited big-game license? The newly redesigned reports show how many licenses were available last year in all game management units (GMUs) throughout Colorado, how many hunters applied for those limited licenses, how many of those hunters were successful drawing and preference-point requirements. Be sure to study these reports before submitting your 2017 big-game application. Knowledge is power! Read more