Category Archives: Conservation

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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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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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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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. Read more

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 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

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

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