Tag Archives: Big game Hunting

Shedding Velvet

COVER-buck-shedding-velvet-Wayne-D-Lewis-DSC_0128This 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

5 Big Reasons to Hunt Big Game in Colorado

cTC-Bull Elk-Breath silhouette ad

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

IMG_4429

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

Get in the Game

sm-bowhunter-muzzleloader-wayne-d-lewis-dsc_0371

A father and son hunting GMU 37. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis

If Colorado’s big-game seasons were a football game, we’d be halfway through the first quarter. Muzzleloader season just ended (but keep your muzzleloader out for rifle seasons, if you choose) and bowhunting continues until Sept. 25. If you haven’t ventured afield yet, there are still over-the-counter licenses available. Time to get in the game.

_______________________________

Wayne D. Lewis is the editor and art director of Colorado Outdoors magazine.

A Supper Fit for Grandad

4-blog-grandad-photo

A hunting party, most likely from the 1940s.

One of my most-treasured inherited pieces is a hand-colored photo of a hunting party, most likely from the 1940s. Seventeen hunters proudly pose with 17 deer — my grandfather is third from the left. The man standing second from the right pops out from the crowd — bow tie, crisp white shirt and apron, and in place of the rifles all the others are holding, he grips the largest frying pan I have ever seen. Both Grandad and the frying pan come to mind as I start the night’s meal: peppered deer steaks.

These are not just any ol’ deer steaks, but backstrap meat from the first doe I ever harvested. The first deer I ever gutted and butchered, and the first game meat I ever processed. Those in the growing Locavore movement would call it a meal of “fresh, locally sourced, organically raised, in-season protein” . . . or, as Grandad would have called it, “supper.”

Just like the deer from the photo, this wasn’t a one-man tale of hunting. Over the last few years, my buddy Alex has been a hunting mentor giving valuable advice in the field, and hands-on instruction with skinning and butchering. And Sheila Lewis, or who I prefer to call Mom, lent her hands and years of wisdom processing and wrapping the steaks, roasts and stew meat. Even the steak recipe I’ll describe below was handed down by Dennis McKinney from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife video crew. Read more

Colorado Outdoors Hunter Testimonials

DIY Elk Hunt on Public Land

Glenn Wertz with his Westcliffe bull elk.

Glenn Wertz with his Westcliffe bull elk.

I have hunted deer and elk in Colorado since I was 14, learning from my father. This was my second bull elk taken on my 40th hunt. This hunt was different from the rest because it was a draw unit on public land and it was a do-it-yourself hunt. I saw a nice 5-point bull on opening morning for a brief second. That afternoon and the next morning I caught movement in the dark timber. The second afternoon it was quiet, other than hunters. So I decided to stay away from the area for a couple of days since a lot of weekend hunters were leaving, and see if the elk would return to their pattern. I went back into the area on Wednesday morning and elk were all around me but moving through the black timber. Early on Wednesday afternoon I set up in the black timber and waited. It was 4 p.m. when I got a glimpse, and he gave me my shot of a lifetime — a broadside shot at 40 yards. It missed Boone and Crockett, but made gold in Safari Club International (SCI) at 366 1/8″.  Read more

A QUICK GUIDE TO DIFFERENTIATE MULE DEER FROM WHITE-TAILED DEER

Mule vs Whitetail Buck head

The mule deer gets its name from its overly large ears. In its scientific classification, Odocoileus hemionus, the species name is Latin for “half-mule.” The white-tailed deer is Odocoileus virginianus — the later part of that title referring to when the species was once known as the “Virginia deer.” If mule deer get their common name from up front, whitetails get theirs from the other end. However, the majority of the time you see more white on the tail end of a mule deer, which has a very large patch of white, only partly covered by a rope-like, white tail with a black tip. Whether the tail is up or down, you can always see plenty of white on the rump of a mule deer. A whitetail, on the other hand, normally covers most of its narrow white patch with a thick, dark tail but raises its tail to alert, or flag, others of danger. To make it an effective defense mechanism, the difference between “calm” and “freaked out” has to be as big as possible. Read more

5 Big Reasons to Hunt Big Game in Colorado

cTC-Bull Elk-Breath silhouette ad

Bull elk. Photo by © Tim Christie.

 

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

IMG_4429

Archery hunter. Photo by © Nick Clement/CPW.

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

5 Tips For Beginning Elk Hunters

In the words of America’s greatest hunter-conservationist, Theodore Roosevelt, “When hunting him (wapiti) … he must be followed on foot, and the man who follows him must be sound in limb and wind.” And that’s somewhat of an understatement. In most elk country, the term is “climbing” rather than “hiking.” As a result, when someone asks me about elk hunting in Colorado the first thing I mention is getting in shape, even if they already appear to be generally fit.

I also emphasize that there’s no magic formula for putting an elk in the freezer. Even with more than 250,000 elk within our state’s borders (Colorado is home to somewhere in the vicinity of 40 percent of the entire continental elk population), less than 30 percent of elk hunters harvest an animal in a given year. And over the years, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and have been among the 70 percent enough times to internalize some hard-earned elk hunting lessons.

1. Get in Shape.

A couple prepares for the upcoming hunting seasons at Denver Gym and Fitness. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW

A couple prepares for the upcoming hunting seasons at Powerhouse Gym in Thornton. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW

This can’t be emphasized enough, and jogging (not running) is the answer for me. Each morning during the months leading up to fall, I get up an hour or so early and jog for half an hour, covering three to four miles. That’s about it, and come September-October I’m fit enough to move through the mountains at a steady pace.

Of course, hunters coming from lower elevations will face additional challenges (i.e., adjusting to Colorado’s elevation), even if physically fit, but they’ll adapt more quickly and be less likely to get sidelined by acute mountain sickness (AMS) if they leave the “spare tire” at home. “Up to 42 percent of visitors to Colorado fall prey to AMS,” says Peter Hackett, M.D., a Telluride-based altitude specialist, “and you can feel the effects of AMS at elevations as low as 6,500 feet.” Read more

Let the Games Begin (Part Two)

Cow and bull elk

This or that? Applying for either-sex licenses will increase our chance of success. Photos by Wayne D. Lewis (CPW).

April 1st is quickly approaching. Normally I would be planning an April Fools’ prank or two, but not this year. If my hunting partner, Alex, and I do not get our big-game limited license applications submitted in time, we will be the fools.

Alex and I needed advice, tons of it, and help was just a door away. Amy Bulger’s office is right next to mine where she does an incredible, and sometimes thankless, job producing the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) regulation brochures. After a short chat, Amy offered up the services of her newlywed husband, Aaron. He built CPW’s hunt planner program, and for years guided hunters through the application process. He has since left the agency for a career as a paramedic and fireman, but he has taken his knowlege with him. (CPW hunt planners can be reached from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (MST) Monday through Friday at 303-291-7526 (303-291-PLAN).

Read more

« Older Entries