Amy Bulger harvested a mature tom on May 9, 2014, at the South Republican State Wildlife Area in Yuma County.
The “Gooble Obble Obble Obble!” rolled in through the front window of our Double Bull and The Shakes started on queue. We had watched two toms and two jakes follow six hens across the field for two hours. It was our third day of hunting the former Bonny Lake State Park. The birds were getting closer, strutting 75 yards in front of the blind.
“Gooble Obble Obble Obble!” They took their time, grazing on an abundance of tiny new grasshoppers all the way in. They were eyeing the decoys, inching closer but slowly. We were set up on a funnel that led to the next sunny field where they wanted to strut, and not calling. The Shakes were growing — my limbs twitched in the spastic tribal dance of the amped-up turkey hunter. I was comically helpless to stop it. If you know the magic of a turkey hunt, maybe you know this dance?
An archer takes aim on the competition-style shooting course. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.
When Mitch Martin, manager at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, invited me to attend and photograph the grand opening of his park’s new archery range, I have to admit, I really didn’t know what to expect. The term “outdoor range” immediately evoked memories of summer camp back in middle school, which consisted of lobbing arrows at hay bales and flimsy, easel-mounted targets that toppled over in the slightest gust of wind.
What I discovered, however, is a modern, first-class shooting facility. Quite simply, Cheyenne Mountain’s archery range can be summed up in one word: awesome. Read more
David Lien displays his Merriam’s turkey taken in southwest Colorado.
Anyone who’s heard the echoing “Gobble-obble-obble!” of a longbeard at dawn during April knows something primordial lives in the woods, hills, mountains and valleys of this country and continent. It’s an explosive vocalization, one like no other, that my friend David Petersen says is, “at once high-pitched, deep-throated, melodic and maniacal, with emphasis on the last quality.”
The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is endemic to North America and evolved more than 11 million years ago. While they have no close relatives, they’re cousins of pheasants. And not unlike a male pheasant, the wild tom, with his bold tail fan and bright wattle, is one of a kind. Prized for his keen senses and fabled intelligence, a tom can reach 30 pounds or more with a wingspan pushing 5½ feet. Read more
The author, David Lien, displays a Merriam’s turkey he harvested in the San Juan Mountains.
— Article and photos by David Lien
My first experience chasing gobblers was during May 2008 in southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. I was with renowned elk (and turkey, it turns out) hunter, David “Elkheart” Petersen, who also founded the Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the first official BHA chapter. Although we roosted a tom that evening, the next morning he gobbled a few more times before disappearing. We didn’t encounter another turkey that day.
David is well-versed in the nuances of mountain turkey hunting, like his friend Ed Dentry, a former Rocky Mountain News outdoors columnist. Both are aficionados of the daunting task of harvesting toms with longbows (i.e., real bows, not space-age catapult devices Petersen calls “wheelie bows”). Dentry, who hunted turkeys with David that spring, too, shed some light on Petersen’s outlook on life and hunting. The following are excerpts from Dentry’s May 8, 2008 newspaper column: Read more
Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s video production crew has produced a new film called “Hunting Colorado’s Public Lands.” Filmed in high-definition video and recorded in digital audio, the film explores Colorado’s hunting opportunities on public land for big game, small game, waterfowl and turkey. The 17-minute film also offers insights into the various land-management agencies and showcases the different “life zones,” that support wildlife.
Photo by © Wayne D Lewis(CPW)
CPW Field Journal
When it comes to outdoors expertise, no one understands Colorado’s fishery and wildlife resources better than Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s diverse staff of wildlife managers, park rangers and biologists. For these dedicated individuals, working for CPW is not just an occupation but a way of life. When they’re not enforcing fish and game laws, patrolling state lands or conducting fish and wildlife research, most CPW employees are avid sportsmen and women who spend their leisure time hunting and angling throughout the state. Here, CPW staff share their personal stories and experiences, provide on-the-ground field updates and offer a unique, “inside” perspective on all things hunting and fishing in Colorado.
In this segment of CPW Field Journal, Southwest Regional Manager Patt Dorsey explains how the solitude of hunting helps her to de-stress and escape everyday life.
Colorado hunters have even greater opportunities to pursue wild turkeys in 2012, thanks to increased bag limits, expanded season dates and additional private-and public-land hunting licenses.
Here’s what you need to know for the upcoming spring and fall seasons: Read more