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 Spontaneous pickup sports with a group of friends has been replaced by organized club soccer and team baseball, all with hectic practice schedules and weekend commitments.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
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
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.
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.
Photo by Alicia Cohn/CPW.
Are you ready for fall? Colorado state parks are already showcasing the best of changing nature, with cooler temperatures for hikes, leaves bursting into red, yellow and orange, and unique animal mating rituals on display in the mornings and evenings.
If you’re hunting for fall colors near Denver, where it still looks like summer downtown, there are multiple state parks within easy driving distance that already look and feel like fall. Here are 4 parks perfect for day trips: Read more
The author’s hand-tied Gray Ugly flies. Photo by Wayne Lewis/CPW.
In the modern era of overly complex, match-the-hatch fly patterns, adding a few simple, traditional flies to your fly box can be effective weapons in your fly-fishing arsenal.
The Gray Ugly is a vintage fly that surpasses many of its modern-day brethren in its amazing ability to catch trout. An oldie but a goodie, I was first introduced to this pattern in the late 1970s by my grandfather who spent most of his life trout fishing in Colorado and Montana. The Gray Ugly was one of his favorite patterns because of its versatility and effectiveness. Over the years, I also saw my dad and uncle use this fly with great success, catching everything from small brook trout at Monarch Lake to bruiser brown trout at North Delaney Buttes.
The fly works especially well with a fly-and-bubble rig and a spinning rod, which is how my grandfather, dad and uncle fished this pattern. For fly-fishing purists, the Gray Ugly also performs just fine at the end of a 5-weight fly rod, fished either wet or dry. Read more
A woman shoots an arrow at a 3-D target at Barr Lake State Park . Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.
Whether you’re an aspiring archer who is looking to purchase your first hunting bow or a proficient target-shooter who is ready to take aim at your first big-game hunt, one of the best ways to expedite and shorten your learning curve is to seek advice from experienced hunters.
In this Colorado Outdoors Online blog post, some of Colorado’s top bowhunters, both within Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and throughout the state, share their hard-earned wisdom and experience. They offer advice on selecting archery equipment and clothing, share shooting tips and techniques and touch on the inspiration that fuels their passion for hunting with a “stick and string.” Best of all, they all bring a real-world perspective to help you experience greater success in the field. Combined, these men and women have more than 270 years of bowhunting experience. And if experience is truly the best teacher, these seasoned bowhunters have learned much and have much to share.
Note: This article is intended as a basic primer on bowhunting and equipment. Hunters should visit an archery pro-shop for specific recommendations on bows, arrows, broadheads and other equipment. Read more