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.
I can’t tell you exactly when the rut begins and ends, but I can share that for this buck, the time is now.
Wayne D. Lewis is the editor and art director of Colorado Outdoors magazine.
For Colorado wildlife watchers, there are certain “must see” wildlife that should be on your bucket list – greater sage-grouse viewing in spring, wildflowers in early summer, sandhill cranes in early fall, and bighorn sheep in late fall and early winter. So, that makes this the prime time of the year for viewing bighorns. Read more
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
Celebrate Fresh Air Friday on November 23 , 2018
This year, turn Black Friday into Fresh Air Friday by adding in blue skies, green trees and white snow! Colorado Parks & Wildlife encourages you to take time and explore the outdoors with free access to all 41 Colorado state parks on Fresh Air Friday, November 23, 2018! Read more
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
Weighing up to 1,000 pounds and towering 6 feet high at the shoulder, moose are Colorado’s largest wild mammal. These massive animals are relatively unafraid of people and can pose an enormous risk to public safety. Each year, more people are attacked by moose than by any other species of wildlife, and moose are one of the most unpredictable and dangerous animals in our state. 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 is ‘year of the bird’ for CPW raptor specialist April Estep. Photo by © Bill Vogrin/CPW.
From the passenger seat of a pickup truck going 60 m.p.h. down a southeast Colorado highway, April Estep scanned the landscape using her hand to shield her eyes from the blinding dawn sun.
Estep, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) wildlife biologist and raptor expert, was staring intently, searching for prairie dog colonies in passing fields. Read more
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
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