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
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.
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.
Are you an experienced hunter who likes sharing your knowledge and passion of the outdoors with others? If so, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is looking for qualified instructors to help train the next generation of safe and ethical hunters. For more information about becoming a volunteer instructor, visit CPW’s Hunter Education webpage, or call (303) 291-SAFE.
The testimonial video provides a glimpse into some of the benefits of participating in this rewarding, hunters-teaching-hunters program.
Click below to read this article in its entirety:
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