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
It may be the crunch of dry leaves or sensing movement out of the corner of your eye that elevates your heart rate and turns a day out in nature into a hunting trip. While it’s easy to relax and become absorbed in nature, most of us are out there to put some healthy, free-range meat in our freezer. And as any successful big-game hunter will tell you, the real work begins after you’ve harvested your animal. No matter how you look at it, that statement is always true. If you hiked a couple of miles to locate your elk or deer, hiking back out with the meat, while rewarding, is going to be harder. Having a well-stocked big game backpack will help you through long days in the field and guarantee that you make the most out of your harvest. Read more
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
The ability to make last-minute camping reservations is coming to some of Colorado’s state park campgrounds.
My dad sends me a text on Friday: Hey, let’s go camping this weekend! Want to head up to Eleven Mile State Park, go fishing, and camp on Saturday?
Yes, yes, I do. I’ll see if I can book us a campsite.
FOR THE HIKING BOOT-CLAD FLY FISHERMAN
Every outdoorsman has their specialty. Whatever the pursuit, there is somebody passionate enough to fill that niche. For me, that niche is backcountry fly fishing. I’m fortunate that I live in Colorado, where miles and miles of backcountry wilderness sit at my backdoor. For years I’ve explored rivers and lakes without names and no permanent address on topographic maps. Some are seasonal ponds or creeks only to be found during runoff, and I suppose others are ones the cartographer just never got around to naming, so they sit patiently waiting for the weary fly fisherman to come along and unlock their secrets. These waters can be either quite rewarding, painfully stubborn or barren of any life form. However, most tend to be quite willing to relinquish a few fish. At altitude, these fish have a short growing season, which means they are quite occupied with filling their gut with as many invertebrate vittles as possible. This is excellent news for the angler, but certain strategies can enhance success and even the quality of fish one might land. Although most backcountry fish have rarely — if ever — seen a fly, they can still be extremely spooky at the slightest disturbance. The following are guidelines I follow trip after trip that have treated me well over the years. Read more
Quick Tips: Hunting Quail in Eastern Colorado. Video by © Crystal Egli/CPW
With very good quail populations in Colorado and hunting seasons extending into January, it’s a great time to get out and go quail hunting. Trent Verquer, Grasslands Habitat Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, shows how to identify and locate scaled and northern bobwhite quail in eastern Colorado.
Some helpful resources for your next quail hunt:
Yuma County Pheasant. Photo by © Mike DelliVeneri/CPW
December and January offer ideal pheasant hunting conditions in Colorado. The opening day crowds have thinned, crops have been cut and harvested and the cooler air is just right for walking the draws, sloughs and grassy fields in search of roosters. For those lucky hunters that are able to get some time in the field, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has some field dressing advice that will help protect your harvest and keep you legal. Watch Trent Verquer, Grasslands Habitat Coordinator, and Josh Melby, District Wildlife Manager, for some tips that will get you on the right path to field dressing your next pheasant. 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
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
Water purification tablets. Photo by Nick Clement/CPW.
Dehydration is one of the greatest threats to hunters, hikers and outdoor recreationists. Each year, hundreds of people face potentially life-threatening situations in the outdoors simply because they didn’t bring enough water with them. In this Colorado Outdoors Survival Series, we’ll discuss the best methods for purifying water and offer tips on how to stay properly hydrated in Colorado’s backcountry.
Click HERE to visit the previous chapter in this series.