Tag Archives: Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Conservation and the Future of Our Hunting Traditions

CPW’s Crystal Chick leads Women Afield pheasant hunt. Photo by © Crystal Egli/CPW

Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) Programs Spreading Nationwide

Today, roughly 11.5 million Americans hunt in a country of 320 million people, according to American Hunter magazine. This means that less than 5% of people in the U.S. hunt. From 2006 to 2016, 1 million Americans stopped hunting. The Aspen Times stated in a 2007 article that the number of people hunting in Colorado decreased 24 percent from 1991 to 2006. In a Colorado Hunter article titled “Hunting is for Girls,” the author pointed out that the average hunter in Colorado is a 55-year-old white male. In other words, the clock is ticking.

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Backcountry Turkey Hunt

The author displays a Merriam's turkey he harvested in the San Juan Mountains.

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