Even the best-laid plans sometimes go wrong. As hunters, when heading into the field, we attempt to control as many variables as possible. Exploring Colorado’s backcountry requires knowledge of the terrain, proper nutrition and hydration, functional equipment and an appetite for adventure. And while we can control most of these variables, there’s one factor that is always out of our control – weather. This doesn’t mean hunting should be tabled until the weather is ideal; it simply means we need to adjust our strategies and approaches to work around what we cannot change. Read more
Colorado Parks and Wildlife recognizes the contributions of the state’s sportsmen and women by celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 22. National Hunting and Fishing Day is observed annually on the fourth Saturday of September, honoring hunters and anglers for their leadership in conserving America’s wildlife and wild places. Read more
This special edition of Colorado Outdoors magazine features articles that will help you make the most of your fall and winter out in the field. Discover where species and hunting seasons align to create opportunities for multispecies hunts. Learn tactics for locating early season mule deer. And protect your investment with gear care tips and much more. Purchase your copy or an annual subscription today. Read more
“Do you know how to shoot straight?”
While some people might take offense at such a question, it is one that big game hunters need to ask themselves every year. Shooting an animal with a high-powered rifle, no matter the distance, is not a natural skill. Hunters must know the capabilities of their rifles, the intricacies of their scopes, the characteristics of their ammunition, the distance of their targets and their own ability to quickly set up an ethical shot.
“Shooting is a perishable skill. If you haven’t done it in a while, you’re going to get rusty,” says Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager in the San Luis Valley. “There are people who believe they can go out, buy an expensive rifle and without any practice start shooting like the guys on the hunting shows on TV. Well, they can’t.” Read more
Bowhunter. Photo by © Vic Schendel/CPW.
In Colorado 150 years ago wildlife faced a dire future.
To provide food for miners and settlers streaming west during the gold rush and land rush of the mid- and late-1800s, market hunters slaughtered deer, elk, bear, buffalo, bighorns, pronghorn and any type of bird that could provide meat. Fish fared no better as nets and even dynamite were set in rivers and streams. Polluted water flowing from mining operations also devastated hundreds of miles of rivers and streams. 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
Colorado big-game hunter. Photo by © Vic Schendel/CPW.
The official leftover big game limited licenses list for deer, elk, bear and pronghorn is now available on the CPW website. These remaining limited licenses provide hunting access on specific Game Management Units (GMUs) and offer Colorado big-game hunters some great opportunities this big game hunting season. The leftover licenses go on sale Tuesday, August 7 at 9:00 a.m (MDT). NOTE: at 9:00 a.m. licenses will be available for purchase online (CPWshop.com), by phone at 1-800-244-5613 , in person at CPW offices and at license retailers (sporting goods stores, hunting and fishing supply stores, etc.).
There are more than 50,000 big game hunting licenses available on the leftover list this year.
- Bear – more than 4,900 limited licenses available
- Deer – more than 8,400 limited licenses available
- Elk – more than 29,100 limited licenses available
- Pronghorn – more than 7,400 limited licenses available
Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff members, Jason Duetsch and Mary McCormac, were live on Facebook answering questions about black bears. Watch the recorded event to learn important information about living, vacationing and spending time outdoors in bear country. Read more
For many Colorado big-game hunters, June is a time of celebration or sadness. By June 11, the 2018 big game draw results will be final. For successful applicants, the planning process will continue. Summer scouting trips will be planned, valuable shooting range time will be scheduled, and diets and exercise can all be optimized in preparation for exciting fall outdoor adventures. For those that were unsuccessful in the draw, don’t be discouraged. If you have the desire to hunt and a sense of adventure, there is a very good chance that you can acquire a license and be hunting big game in Colorado this fall.
While a successful draw is ideal, there are a number of “Plan B” options that will get you out in the field and provide a great chance for you to put some wild game in your freezer. And developing an alternative to your current big game draw strategy can be a positive experience that exposes you to new areas of this great state and possibly even new methods of hunting. With many opportunities still available, I think it’s best to look at license options on a species by species basis. Read more
Greater sage-grouse display on a lek in northwest Colorado. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis.
In the pre-predawn haze on a northwest Colorado prairie, every dark spot, smudge or blot you see is a greater sage-grouse — until the gathering light proves they’re not. As sunrise approaches, the “sage-grouse” become the rocks, sagebrush and clumps of dirt they actually are. But you know the birds are there because you hear them — everywhere. It’s not the distinct call of a western meadowlark (also heard in the mix) or other prairie bird, but much more otherworldly. It’s like the sounds the exotic-cute indigenous critters would make as they surround the Zachary Quinto version of Spock on some far-off planet in a Star Trek movie. Whether we know it it or not, the occupants of Mick and Nancy Sommer’s 4Runner are in a contest to see the first real greater sage-grouse. I end up taking bronze. Read more