Tag Archives: Elk

CPW seeks comment on CWD Management Plan


 Mule deer buck. Photo by © Wayne Lewis/CPW.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife along with the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Advisory Group seek public comment on CWD management plan.

CWD-Plan-ShadowFrom October 1 – 31, 2018, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is asking for interested individuals to review and comment on the chronic wasting disease (CWD) adaptive management plan created by the CWD Advisory Group. Your comments will be carefully considered before management actions are voted on by the CPW Commission in January.

Please provide feedback using this public comment form.

There are many problems facing our state’s deer and elk herds and CPW is working to overcome these challenges to stabilize, sustain and increase populations and habitats throughout the state. Read more

Livin’ the Wildlife: Rocky Mountain Elk

elk bugle

An elk bugles during the rut. Video capture by Jerry Neal/CPW.

Living in Colorado, it’s easy to take for granted our enormous elk herds. After all, Colorado is home to nearly 280,000 animals — the largest elk population in North America. But did you know that elk were near extinction at the turn of the century? In fact, fewer than 1,000 elk remained in Colorado during the early 1900s. The elk’s dramatic demise was attributed to unregulated market-hunting.

A century ago, Colorado Parks and Wildlife imported 350 elk from Wyoming to re-establish dwindling herds. The elk were transported and released in Idaho Springs and in the Greenhorn Mountains in Pueblo County. Sportsmen also called for regulated hunting seasons to protect and manage elk populations. From these meager transplants, and through decades of conservation programs, elk populations have soared to the abundant herds for which Colorado is now famous. Read more

Video: Gunnison Launches Big-Game Baiting Program


Elk gather at a baiting site in the Gunnison Basin. Video capture by Jerry Neal/CPW.

Gunnison, Colorado is famous for its severe winters and snow-covered landscapes. In fact, the small, Western Slope town has earned the reputation as one of the coldest places in North America because of its sustained periods of sub-zero and record-low temperatures.

By Gunnison’s standards, 2016-17 brought warmer-than-average temperatures throughout fall and early winter. However, above average snowfall across the region in late December and early January created difficult forage conditions for big-game animals. To locate food, elk and deer moved to the lowest areas of their winter range, bringing them dangerously close to Highway 50. Read more

Elk Gone Wild: Experience Colorado’s Elk Rut This Fall

A bull elk bugles in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by © Tony Gurzick/CPW.

A bull elk bugles in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by © Tony Gurzick/CPW.

The bugle of a bull elk; it’s a primal and haunting sound that defines the Rocky Mountain West and captivates the imaginations of wildlife enthusiasts and hunters alike. Each fall, Colorado’s backcountry comes alive with the sights and sounds of elk as they enter their mating season called the “rut.” Bull elk bellow screams of anguish and anger in their desire to attract receptive females and fend off challenges from competing bulls. Echoing bugles can be heard for miles, and Colorado’s mountains become a staging ground for fierce, antler-locked battles.

Home to the largest elk herd in the world, Colorado is center-stage for this amazing autumn spectacle. If you’ve never heard or seen elk during the rutting season, now’s your chance. The elk rut begins in September and continues into mid-October. As an added bonus, the rut coincides with the changing fall colors, creating a perfect time to visit Colorado’s high country.

Although you can hear elk bugle almost anywhere west of I-25 this time of year, here are a few locations and tips to help you best experience this annual rite of autumn: Read more

What Causes Nontypical Antler Growth in Elk and Deer? (Ask the Biologist)

This Estes Park bull elk attracted a lot of attention with his nontypical antlers. Photo by Jim Austin.

This Estes Park bull elk has been attracting a lot of attention with his unusual, nontypical antlers. Photo by Jim Austin.

In this segment of “Ask the Biologist,” Colorado Outdoors Online reader Iolanthe Culjak asks:

Question: “What causes unusual antler growth in elk and deer?”

Culjak, a resident of Estes Park, sees elk almost daily during her commute to and from work in this mountain town famous for its elk population. Yet, Culjak did a double take when she saw a bull elk sporting strange, “melted looking” antlers.

Although it’s normal for antlers to vary greatly in size, sometimes deer or elk will have unusual to extreme variations in antler shape, along with abnormal protrusions that appear to sprout and drop in every direction. Elk and deer with these abnormalities in their headgear are said to have “nontypical” antlers.

Brian Marsh, district wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, offers an explanation for this interesting phenomenon. 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

Autumn in Moraine Park is a ‘Rocky Mountain High’ for Fly Fishers

Fishing guide Iolanthe Culjak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Jerry L. Neal/CPW

Fishing guide Iolanthe Culjak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Jerry L. Neal/CPW

There are some locations that perfectly depict the beauty and grandeur of Colorado’s backcountry.  In these unique landscapes, bugles of bull elk echo across serene mountain valleys, hungry trout populate cold, gin-clear streams and the scenery is so sublime that it’s like it was conjured up from lyrics in some John Denver song.  For fly fishers, autumn in Rocky Mountain National Park epitomizes this perfect setting.

In mid-September, I had the opportunity to spend a few hours exploring a small section of this remarkable area with local fishing guide Iolanthe Culjak.  Iolanthe or “IO,” as her friends call her, lives just minutes from RMNP, which she proudly refers to as her “backyard.” That description is apropos, as Culjak’s fish-sense and knowledge of local waters are impeccable. Read more

4 Steps to the Field: Planning Your Colorado Elk Hunt

Colorado bull elk

Hunters travel from afar every year to get a chance to hunt Colorado's massive populations of elk. Planning for your hunt is a crucial part of success in the field. Photo by © Amy Nickelson/CPW

Each fall, the Colorado landscape beckons orange-clad elk hunters with brilliant vistas, frosty mornings and shadowy hints of stout bulls lurking in the treelines. The state boasts the largest number of elk in the U.S., migrating through an expanse of wilderness that can mete out as much punishment as it can glory.

For beginning hunters or those new to Colorado’s licensing process, sometimes the mountain isn’t the most daunting part of the hunt. Deciding which license to buy and navigating the application process can give some new hunters a lost, sinking feeling. Read more