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.
From 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
If you’re a Colorado big-game hunter, now’s the time to prepare for the 2018 hunting seasons.
Colorado Outdoors, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s conservation magazine, is a valuable planning resource for hunters. The Jan/Feb issue features preference-point data and statewide herd-population estimates to guide big-game hunters in applying for limited big-game licenses. This is a must-have item for any Colorado hunter. Read more
Fika Otalora with her first mule deer buck.
Hunter: Fika Otalora
This is my first buck ever! I just received my Hunter Education in March. I shot him with a Browning A-Bolt 243 in Unit 29 by the Peak to Peak Highway. It was a two-mile hike in. Read more
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
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.
Kevin Brookes with his public-land bull elk.
Hunter: Kevin Brookes
The morning started off slower than what I had anticipated. By 9 a.m. I had made my way up to about 10,800 feet and had yet to hear a bugle. It was a discouraging start to the morning. The previous day I had bulls bugling at first light. My initial thought was I had pushed them out of the area. I decided to swing back into the valley below me, where I had heard a few bulls the previous morning.
I made a couple cow calls, followed by a bugle call, and the ridge erupted with three different bulls bugling. It didn’t take long for me to realize they where going to hold tight on this ridge. They must have had a couple of cows bedded near them and they where not going to leave their side. So I decided to swing around the mountain and come down from the top with the wind in my face. This area was thick with trees and you could smell the elk.
Once I got close to where I thought I heard the last bugle, I gave a couple cow calls followed by a bugle. Almost immediately, I had a bull bugle to my left and he was right on top of me. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him walking. A shot in this area was going to be close. I was lucky to see 30 yards in some spots. After about five minutes I couldn’t hear him anymore and he stopped bugling. I gave another cow and bugle call sequence, with no response. Figuring I had blown my chance, I started to slowly move my way down the ridge. As I was making my way through the timber, to my right I saw a bull coming right at me. I knocked an arrow quickly and drew back.
The bull cut to my left. I had a beautiful shooting lane that I anticipated he was going to walk right into at 15 yards, but he stopped about 5 yards from the opening. He stood broadside at 17 yards, and looked nervous. I could tell pretty quickly that he wasn’t going stick around for long. I had a small opening between two trees and took the shot. The arrow found its mark and the bull expired after only going 40 yards.
Thank you Colorado for another fantastic public land experience!
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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
Elk hunting was not in my plan this year. Of course, that’s usually when good stuff happens, like two cows on the ground within minutes, followed by the sudden realization that we’re gonna need another chest freezer.
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
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).