Archive for the ‘Hunting Fishing and the Great Outdoors’ Category


September 15, 2012

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Summer means cycling, golfing, rock climbing, camping, fishing, horseback riding, boating and swimming. It can also mean increased human-wildlife encounters, including those of the slithering kind. As such, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds people to watch for snakes as they enjoy the outdoors.

Colorado has 28 snake species, but only three are venomous: the massasauga, found on the southeast plains below 5,500 feet elevation; the midget faded rattlesnake, found in western-central Colorado; and the prairie rattlesnake, found throughout the state at elevations below 9,500 feet.

“Most people rarely encounter rattlesnakes, but they are out there,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife reptile specialist Tina Jackson. “They are interesting to watch. They are beautiful creatures. But you need to be careful.”

Knowing how to distinguish a harmless snake from a rattler can mean the difference between a friendly human-wildlife encounter and a trip to the nearest emergency room.

The most distinguishing characteristic of a rattlesnake is the rattle at the end of the tail, but sometimes that can be misleading. For example, bull snakes try to mimic rattlesnakes by shaking their tail and hissing. Mature bull snakes can grow much larger than rattlesnakes and while they are not poisonous, their bite is very powerful and painful.

Jackson says that in most cases, injuries are the result of people trying to handle snakes. People who encounter snakes should never try to move, play with or harass them. The best course of action is to move away from snakes and give the reptiles enough room to slither away, Jackson said.

“If you run into a snake, as with any wildlife, give it room. Don’t try to pick it up. Don’t try to make it move. Don’t try to kill it,” she said. “In most cases the snake is not going to bother you.”

Because they are cold-blooded, snakes tend to move back and forth between shady and sunny spots to regulate their body temperatures. On warm days they become more active, lingering in spots that enable them to move easily between cooler and warmer areas.

“They can’t pant or sweat to lower their body temperatures, so they have to move into the shade. Once they start cooling down, they need to move into the sun to warm up,” Jackson said. “On really hot days they’ll move into a hole in the ground, under a rock, in a woodpile, under a deck, or in the corner of a shed or garage.”  Employees of utility companies often report finding snakes curled up in utility boxes.

In the event of snakebite, experts advise victims to seek immediate medical attention. Puncture wounds by non-venomous snakes can become infected if not promptly treated, causing swelling, bruising and pain. Even dead rattlesnakes can be dangerous because their fangs can still transmit venom.

Pets are bitten more often than people because they do not recognize the telltale rattle as a warning sign. Dogs tend to get facial injuries because they try to smell snakes. Cats are more likely to sustain injuries to their front paws because they swipe at snakes.

For more information about Colorado reptiles and amphibians, go to

Colorado Parks and Wildlife was created by the merger of Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, two nationally recognized leaders in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado’s wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. To learn more about Colorado’s state parks, please see: To learn more about Colorado’s wildlife programs, please see:


September 15, 2012

DENVER — Colorado Parks and Wildlife will host a basic seminar for hunting elk in Colorado as a part of our Hunter Outreach Program efforts to educate and involve new hunters in the sport. This seminar will cover the fundamentals of habits/habitat, hunting tactics and techniques and provide a good beginning for the novice elk hunter.  Registration is limited to 75 participants. Join the fastest growing family of hunters in Colorado for an educational evening.

WHO: Everyone

WHEN: Thursday Sept. 27, from 6:30 to 9 PM

WHERE: Hunter Education Building, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216

COST: No cost

SIGN UP: To register please email or call 303-291-7804 and leave a message with name(s), address and phone number to register.

For more information on hunting in Colorado, go to:

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:


September 15, 2012

MEEKER, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Miller Creek Ranch in Meeker are offering big-game hunters an opportunity to apply for a limited number of private property, high-quality elk and mule deer hunts beginning Nov. 3.

Interested hunters must submit a written application by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 to:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife – Meeker Office
Attn:  Bailey Franklin/Special Miller Creek Ranch Hunts
PO Box 1181, Meeker CO 81641

The application can be found at:

Nine hunts will be available to hunters who have already drawn limited deer and elk licenses for Game Management Unit 23 during the 2012 big game hunting seasons. In addition, one public bull elk hunt will be available to any big game hunter that plans to purchase an unlimited, over-the-counter bull elk license for the third rifle season in 2012.

“This is a rare, high-quality private land hunting experience,” said District Wildlife Manager Bailey Franklin. “We encourage sportsmen to take advantage of this chance to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime hunt.”

The unique opportunity developed through a working relationship between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Miller Creek Ranch landowner Richard Bachmann.

As part of their efforts in a large-scale big game habitat protection and improvement project, local wildlife managers reached a mutual agreement with Bachmann to set aside a perpetual conservation easement on his 3,100-acre ranch property, located in GMU 23.

A portion of the agreement stipulates that a limited amount of public access for mule deer and elk hunting will be made available annually and will be cooperatively implemented by the agency, Bachman and property manager Joe Collins.

The Miller Creek Ranch is within the White River mule deer and elk herd units, two of the largest big game populations in the state of Colorado. The ranch features a variety of habitat, including high elevation aspen and conifer forest, mountain shrub lands and lower elevation pinyon-juniper woodland and sagebrush.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is accepting applications until the Oct. 10 deadline. The hunts are open to all eligible hunters; however, preference will be given to youth and military veterans that apply. There is no cost associated with the application. The following hunts will be available and hunters should be specific about which of these hunting seasons/opportunities they are interested and eligible to apply for:


Third regular rifle season – Nov. 3 through Nov. 11 2012
Fourth limited rifle season – Nov. 14 through Nov. 18 2012

To be eligible, applicants must have drawn a limited deer license in either:
– DM012O3R
– DM012O4R
– DE011P3R

Applicant must confirm eligibility and indicate interest in buck mule deer hunt in the application.

One hunter will be selected from a pool of eligible applicants to hunt a buck deer during only one of the two potential buck deer hunt dates specifically listed above for 2012.

Third regular rifle season – Nov. 3 through Nov. 11 2012

Applicant must have drawn a limited antlerless deer license in either:
– DF012O3R
– DE011P3R

Applicants must confirm eligibility and indicate interest in doe mule deer hunt in the application.

One hunter will be selected from a pool of eligible applicants to hunt a doe deer during the hunt dates specifically listed above for 2012.


Third regular OTC rifle season – Nov. 3 through Nov. 11 2012
Fourth limited rifle season – Nov. 14 through Nov. 18 2012

All hunters are eligible to apply for this public bull elk hunt during the third rifle season.

Applicants that have drawn a limited, either sex license for EE012O4R are also eligible to apply for this bull elk hunt but would be restricted to the fourth, limited rifle season.

Applicant must confirm that they are planning to purchase an over-the-counter bull elk license for the third rifle elk season, or have already drawn a fourth rifle limited elk license.

Applicants must indicate interest in the bull elk hunt in application.

One hunter from the pool of eligible applicants will be selected to hunt a bull elk during only one of the two potential bull elk hunt dates specifically listed above for 2012.


– Third regular OTC rifle season – Nov. 3 through Nov. 11 2012
– Fourth limited rifle season – Nov. 14 through Nov. 18 2012
– Latter portion of the late, private-land-only rifle season:  Oct. 24 through Nov. 11 2012
– Late rifle December PLO cow elk season – Hunt 1:  Dec. 1 through Dec. 6 2012
– Late rifle December PLO cow elk season – Hunt 2:  Dec. 7 through Dec. 12 2012
– Late rifle December PLO cow elk season – Hunt 3:  Dec. 13 through Dec. 18 2012

In order to be eligible to apply for one of the seven public cow elk hunts, applicant must have drawn a limited antlerless or either-sex elk license in either:
– EF012O3R
– EE012O4R
– EF011P5R
– EF023P5R

Applicant must confirm eligibility and must specifically indicate which of the cow elk hunts listed above that they are applying for in the application.

CPW will select seven hunters from pool of eligible applicants to hunt cow elk during any of the six potential cow elk hunt dates specifically listed above for 2012.

The ten hunters will be notified by mail soon after the deadline. In addition, those selected will receive specific dates and details from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, including a hunt packet detailing special travel restrictions and hunting access rules.

For more information or questions, call Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Meeker office at 970-878-6090.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife was created by the merger of Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, two nationally recognized leaders in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado’s wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs.

To learn more about Colorado’s state parks, please see:

To learn more about Colorado’s wildlife programs, please see:

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

The Addiction Series continues: Oh, to be young again!

May 1, 2012


MEEKER, Colo. – Three lucky young hunters from northwest Colorado bagged their first turkeys after being selected to participate in Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s 2012 Hunter Outreach Program’s Youth Turkey Hunt. The trio found success after spending some chilly, late April weekends enjoying a private land hunt and learning hunting strategies from their Colorado Parks and Wildlife mentors.

Ten-year-old Henry Musser of Meeker, 13-year-old Antoinette Dorris of Rangely and 10-year-old Tagerty Poole of Rifle were selected from a group of novice youth hunters that had recently completed their hunter education classes.

“To see the smiles on their faces and the fun they were having was fantastic,” said District Wildlife Manager Bailey Franklin, who coordinates the turkey hunt each year. “It’s truly a highlight of my career as a Colorado game warden.”

The focus of the Hunter Outreach Program is to pair young hunters with experienced veterans to help build knowledge and confidence, which is critical for beginning hunters. District Wildlife Managers Jon Wangnild, Mike Swaro and Terry Wygant were the primary guides for the youth participants again this year. The skilled wildlife officers taught the youngsters various hunting techniques including the use of calls to locate “gobblers” and how to identify turkey sign in the field.

Hunting access was provided by the Jensen Family Ranch properties, which are leased and managed by Rocky and Sparky Pappas and Travis Flaherty, K/K Ranch owners Bill and Ross Wheeler, Seven Lakes Lodge owner and professional golfer Greg Norman and landowners Lonnie and Todd Shults.

“We had increased interest and support from several landowners from Meeker this year which is very encouraging,” said Franklin. “Without them, these once-in-a-lifetime hunting opportunities would not be possible, and we are very grateful.”

In addition to the landowners, ranch employees donated their time to help make the hunts successful. Travis Flaherty of Jensen Family Ranch properties/Nine Mile Guest Ranch scouted and located turkey flocks and served as a guide for Swaro and one of the young hunters.  Brett Harvey and Rich Krauss of K/K-Wheeler Ranch, along with Tony Decker and Robert King of Seven Lakes Lodge, also provided valuable assistance.

To ensure that they received the best information and training, the aspiring turkey hunters were required to go through an additional half-day orientation where they learned more about hunter safety and ethics, state laws, wild turkey biology and hunting techniques

They received additional firearm training at the Meeker Sportsman’s Club shooting range, where they honed their shotgun shooting skills. The time and facilities were donated by the club, a long-time supporter of the Hunter Outreach Programs.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife loaned the young hunters youth model shotguns and turkey hunting equipment to participants that did not already have their own. The kids also received hunting gear, prizes and food for the hunt.

After successfully harvesting their mature gobblers, the youngsters learned how to properly field dress and care for their birds.

Although turkey hunting has seen a rapid growth in popularity across the country, the overall number of hunters and anglers nationwide has declined every year since 1990, according to research conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The reasons include a lack of places to hunt and fish busy lifestyles and a lack of mentorship from an older, experienced hunter.

The Hunter Outreach Program provides skills seminars, clinics, mentored hunts and online articles and information as a means to encourage the public to learn and apply their new skills in hunting and angling.

“Our goal is to expose novice hunters of all ages to a quality experience and give them basic skills so they will continue with the sport into the future,” said Statewide Hunting Outreach Coordinator Jim Bulger. “Without the help of private landowners and other stakeholders, we’d be unable to provide that experience.”

Landowners who are interested in supporting Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s 2013 youth turkey hunting program or any other  youth hunting program in northwestern Colorado are encouraged to  call the Meeker office at 970-878-6090.

Youth and parents interested in learning more about youth hunting opportunities can also call the Meeker office and request an application for upcoming youth hunts.

For more information about the Hunter Outreach Program, please visit:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife was created by the merger of Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, two nationally recognized leaders in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado’s wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs.

To learn more about Colorado’s state parks, please see:

To learn more about Colorado’s wildlife programs, please see:


EDITORS NOTE – For photos of the event, please visit the following links:

Ten-year-old Henry Musser of Meeker poses with his first gobbler and his proud father John Musser.

Thirteen-year-old Antoinette Dorris of Rangely poses with her first turkey.

Ten-year-old Tagerty Poole of Rifle with his gobbler and proud grandma Sunny Stead.

District Wildlife Manager Mike Swaro (left) poses with Travis Flaherty and 10-year-old Tagerty Poole.

Officers, youths and their parents pose proudly for the camera at Bel-Aire State Wildlife Area.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Colorado Hunting Updates

March 4, 2012

I’m combining these various articles, enjoy!


DENVER – The Colorado Parks and Wildlife 2012 Big Game Hunting brochure is now available and limited license applications are being accepted for this fall’s big-game hunts. License applications for deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, sheep, goat and bear are due Tuesday, April 3.

For 2012, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has updated the interactive online version of the big game brochure that features videos with online application tips and hunting tips to use in the field. New tables in the brochure also help hunters easily identify units where licenses are valid and whether a hunter can hold more than one license at a time.

This year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is again encouraging hunters to use the secure internet portal to submit their limited license applications. About 75 percent of hunters applied online in 2011, up from 64 percent in 2010.

Henrietta Turner, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s license administration manager, said that last year, her staff called more than 15,000 individuals to address more than 45,000 errors or problems with their big game applications. Many of the errors would have resulted in the rejection of the license application. Only 25 of those calls went to hunters who submitted their application through the web.

“Our online system is easy, convenient and it keeps you from making some of the more common mistakes that could affect success in the drawing,” Turner said. “The web site also has a wealth of resources for hunters looking to plan a memorable hunt.”

Seven Parks and Wildlife offices, including Denver, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Hot Sulphur Springs and Montrose offer internet terminals for hunters to use. In addition, the secure application site can be accessed through any public internet terminal.

The 2012 brochure also explains some significant changes to Colorado’s late youth elk hunting regulations. Since 2000, 12- to 17-year-olds with an unfilled elk tag could take advantage of cow elk hunting opportunities in any unit offering a late-season hunt. These late hunts were extremely successful in encouraging youth participation, but some areas around Craig, Meeker and Steamboat Springs experienced high levels of hunting pressure. Changes to the program this year will ensure hunting pressure is more evenly distributed.

“When we were over our elk population objective, we committed to landowners that we would develop innovative ways of reducing elk numbers and elk conflict,” said Ron Velarde, Regional Manager for northwest Colorado. “We’ve accomplished that and we found a great way to encourage youth participation. Now that we’re getting close to population objectives, we want to be sure these young hunters have a quality experience in the field if they take advantage of these late hunts.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife hunt planners are available again this year to help hunters who have application questions or are looking for areas to hunt. Hunt planners can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time at 303-291-7526 (303-291-PLAN).

Hunters ages 18 to 64 are reminded that they must have a $10 Habitat Stamp prior to applying for or purchasing a hunting or fishing license in Colorado. Only one stamp is required per hunter per year. A lifetime Habitat Stamp is available for $300.

The Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp program was initiated by sportsmen and established by the Colorado legislature in 2005. Proceeds from the Habitat Stamp have helped conserve more than 124,000 acres of wildlife habitat and secure more than 54,000 acres of new public hunting and fishing access.

Hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1949 are also reminded that they must complete an approved state or provincial hunter education course prior to applying for a hunting license in Colorado. Since the hunter education requirement was imposed in 1970, hunting accidents have significantly declined in the state.

The interactive version of the brochure can be accessed at

A .pdf version of the 2012 Colorado Big Game brochure can be viewed here:

A complete list of upcoming hunter education classes can be found at


DENVER – Just in time for the March 15 sale of unlimited turkey tags, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering a Turkey Hunting 101.  This basic seminar on hunting wild turkeys will provide basic instruction on gear, calls, habitat, and habitats, as well as tips and techniques for the novice to take to the field in April.  Join us and learn how to bag your bird for the table.

WHAT: Turkey Hunting 101

WHO: Everyone interested in learning how to hunt turkeys

WHEN: Wed., March 14 from 6:30 p.m.  to 9 p.m.

WHERE: Hunter Education Building, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, 6060 Broadway, Denver

COST: No cost

SIGN UP: To register please email or call 303-291-7804 and leave a message with name(s), address and phone number to register.  Seminar is limited to 100 participants.To find out more about turkey hunting, go to:


DENVER – Are you planning on hunting elk for the first time in 2012 and are looking for information on where to hunt, how to draw, and how to best prepare for this unique hunting experience? Join us for an introduction to elk hunting in Colorado. This seminar is limited to 75 people so register early!

WHO: Anyone

WHEN: Tuesday, March 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30p.m.

WHERE: Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Hunter Education Building, 6060 Broadway, Denver

COST: No cost

SIGN UP: To register please email or call 303-291-7804 and leave a message with name(s), address and phone number.

To find out more about hunting elk, visit Elk Hunting University at:


MONTROSE, Colo. — If you’ve ever wanted to hunt bears or if you want to improve your chances of harvesting one, plan to attend a workshop sponsored by Colorado Parks and Wildlife on March 10 in Montrose.

Tony Bonacquista, a district wildlife manager and experienced bear hunter, will lead the presentation on hunting Colorado’s black bears. He’ll discuss bear biology, hunting tactics, field dressing, rules and regulations, and human-bear conflict issues.

“Bears are very challenging to hunt, but hunters who know where to look and how to hunt them can improve their success rates,” Bonacquista said.

Bear populations are healthy throughout the Montrose area of western Colorado. During hunting season in the early fall, bears are eating for up to 20 hours per day. They concentrate on acorns and berries, high-energy food sources they need to pack on the pounds in preparation for hibernation.

Cost for the workshop is $10 which includes lunch. To register, call the Montrose Parks and Wildlife office at 970-252-6000. The class will be limited to 30 people.

What: Bear hunting workshop When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 10 Where: Colorado Parks and Wildlife, 2300 S. Townsend Ave., in Montrose.
For more information about Colorado’s black bears, see: .

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:



March 1, 2012

DENVER – Are you planning on hunting big game in 2012 and have questions about how to get a license? Join us for an introduction to big-game licenses in Colorado.  Learn about how the draw and preference point system works, how to determine your odds of drawing a limited license, what is the difference between limited and over-the-counter licenses, when you can have more than one big-game license, and much more.

These free seminars are excellent for any hunter that wants to better understand how big game licensing works in Colorado and needs help planning a hunt. Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff will be on hand to assist you in filling out your applications and to answer any of your questions after the seminar.

PARKER, Wed., March 14:
The Wildlife Experience, 10035 South Peoria St., Parker, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (75 attendees max.)

DENVER, Tues., March 20:
Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Hunter Education Building, 6060 Broadway, Denver, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (75 attendees max.)

DENVER, Fri., March 30:
Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Hunter Education Building, 6060 Broadway, Denver, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (75 attendees max.)

SIGN UP: To register please email or call 303-291-7804 and leave a message with name(s), address and phone number.

For more information on big game hunting in Colorado, go to:

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

I would highly recommend attending one of these meetings, as the new format..? Well, let’s just say that they succeeded in fixing something that wasn’t broken…


Some thoughts on term limits

December 5, 2011

Like everything, term limits has it’s pros, and cons. Back in the day I helped the Libertarians spearhead the term limits law in Colorado, and yes, it got co opted by the Republicans. This was one time however when the Utilitarian came out in me.

We cleaned out so much dead wood and big government, I am the world types that I thought we had reached near political heaven…

That lasted about a handful of years and then we had to come to grips with the fact that now we didn’t have the quantity, nor the quality of freedom loving people willing to take a pay cut to serve in the Colorado legislature. (It barely paid minimum wage.)

Tabor was passed along with other laws that actually repealed laws that restricted the liberty and freedom of the people of the state. Private property laws were also reinforced. But then the inevitable happened.

I posted this in response to a thread over at Texas Fred’s. There are times when something appears to be the absolute best solution to a problem. Only to find out later that it really just backfired.

My wonderful adopted home was invaded. By miscreants from my actual home state, New York City, Chicago, and so on. Those people Californicated Colorful Colorado. Leftest of the worse sorts were elected, and most if not all the gains that had been made in the cause of freedom were abolished, or made toothless. Laws were passed that would insure that freedom loving people would have a difficult time getting elected, and gerrymandering reached heights that make the firestorm about that in Texas look like a schoolyard spitting match! Laws that take away your rights forever for less than felony behaviors or severe mental illness got their starts in Colorado during this time. Calling taxes something other than taxes started there as well.

And getting anyone elected that thought otherwise in any place besides conservative strongholds became all but impossible.

My point in all this is to remind everyone that most things in life have a double edged sword effect, and term limits is right there with all the rest of the unintended consequences.

How often must people be reminded that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the hill?


October 17, 2011

MONTE VISTA, Colo. – Hunters looking to brush up on their marksmanship skills heading into the upcoming rifle seasons can get some pointers at a two-day class in Monte Vista on Thursday, Oct. 20 and Friday, Oct. 21. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife marksmanship class will include information on ballistics, effect of wind, adjustments for terrain and a range training session.

“This class is perfect for the intermediate hunter,” explained Rick Basagoitia, Area Wildlife Manager and course instructor. “We want people who have experience hunting but might be looking for that next level of training to get them familiar with the dynamics of marksmanship.”

There is a $20 registration fee and the class is limited to ten participants. To register for the class or to get more information, contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Monte Vista at 719-587-6900.

The Thursday, Oct. 20 session will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and be held at the Monte Vista office of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, 0722 South Road 1 East. The second session will be held at an area shooting range from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, Oct. 21. Participants will need to bring their rifle and 40 rounds of ammunition for the range session. The range session will include custom ballistics charting for participants’ rifles. As well participants will learn practice techniques and various shooting positions.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:


September 29, 2011

Related to the previous post here is some very good information for those that are living or passing through areas where wildlife are abundant.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – For Colorado residents, September’s shorter days and cool, crisp mornings signal that it’s time to wrap up summer projects and prepare for winter weather. For black bears, the arrival of fall is more like a warning: “Time to eat as much as possible – if you want to live.”

With bears now entering their binge-eating season, Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers are urging residents and visitors to take special care to secure trash, birdseed and other easy sources of food. Bears that learn to find meals around homes and businesses often become problem bears that end up being destroyed, wildlife managers say.

“It’s just amazing how much one bear needs to eat,” said Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero. “And that’s the only thing bears care about right now – eating nearly everything in sight.”

Black bears don’t technically hibernate – it’s more like a long sleep. However, the result is the same – Colorado bears need to pack on enough fat to survive four or five months without a meal, so during late summer and fall, bears enter a condition called “hyperphagia,” which compels them to eat for as much as 20 hours a day.

During hyperphagia, a bear may increase its intake of food from 8,000 calories to 20,000 calories per day. That’s about the number of calories found in 70 McDonald’s cheeseburgers. While Colorado bears have evolved to survive on a diet of berries, acorns and the occasional prey item, they will readily take advantage of an easy meal consisting of trash or poorly stored food. Every year, the combination of hungry bears and careless humans creates conflicts that Colorado’s wildlife managers are charged with sorting out.

The typical consequences of poor food and trash storage are a garbage-strewn lawn or a camping trip cut short. In some cases, it can even lead to a damaged kitchen. However, for bears, the consequences are often fatal. Because a wildlife manager’s priority is human safety, problem bears are tranquilized and relocated only once. The second time they get in trouble, they are destroyed. So are bears that enter homes or show aggression toward people just once.

“It’s unfortunate, but some bears are killed simply because people can’t be bothered to secure their food or trash,” said Area Wildlife Manager JT Romatzke. “Public safety has to be our first priority, but I can tell you that putting a bear down because of someone’s thoughtlessness is one of the worst parts of my job.”

The problem is compounded by a bear’s natural intelligence and excellent memory. Once a bear learns how to get an easy meal, they will apply that knowledge again and again in the following years. Sows can teach their cubs the same behavior, creating a cycle that can bring them into a conflict with people.

Although wildlife managers have the option to relocate a nuisance bear, it is an option that is becoming increasingly difficult as development continues to encroach on bear habitat. In addition, it is not uncommon for relocated bears to return in search of the easy meals that got them into trouble in the first place, or resume their bad habits in their new habitat.

Although bears do not typically attack humans, they are large, powerful animals and their determination to eat makes them dangerous when they learn human items and places are a source of food. This summer saw several high-profile incidents involving bears that entered tents in search of food and injured the occupants.

“These bears were likely rewarded in the past and learned that people and tents mean an easy meal,” said Area Wildlife Manger Perry Will. “We do have concerns about some bears, but overall, we have quite a few more concerns about people who don’t follow the rules.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is one of several government agencies that conduct ongoing public education campaigns on living with bears. The agency provides extensive information through their website, pamphlets, media stories and even magazines and books. In addition, they also dispatch volunteer “Bear Aware” teams to go door-to-door in problem areas.

“It’s frustrating because this information is so easy to find,” Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “There really is no excuse in the majority of cases.”

According to Kevin Wright, the District Wildlife Manager in Aspen, what’s especially disheartening for wildlife managers is how quickly people who live in bear country forget about their responsibility to help prevent problem bears.

“Considering the consequences, you’d think folks would learn the first time a bear gets into their trash, or their home,” he continued. “These should be habits that people practice year round. But for too many people, we have to remind them again and again.”

Complicating matters, a single person’s negligence can lead to problems for many, explained Breckinridge Area Wildlife Manger Shannon Schwab.

“A problem bear is everyone’s problem,” said Schwab. “If even one person doesn’t care enough to take precautions and a bear gets into their trash or their house, it increases the chances that the bear will move on to the neighbor’s house, and so on. Multiply that by thousands of bears across the state that are now preparing for winter and you can see why it is so important for everyone to do their part.”

Following the tips listed below is a good start to help reduce conflicts around the home, however, many other tips regarding hiking, camping and hunting in bear country can be found in Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s website at: 

Keep Bears Out

– Many bears that enter homes do so through an unlocked or open window or door. Close and lock all bear-accessible windows and doors when you leave the house, and at night before you go to bed.

– If you must leave downstairs windows open, install sturdy grates or bars. Screens don’t keep out bears.

– Keep garage doors and windows closed and locked when you’re not home, or at night. Don’t leave your garage door standing open when you’re not outside. Install extra-sturdy doors if you have a freezer, refrigerator, pet food, bird seed, or other attractants in your garage.

– Keep car doors and windows closed and locked if you park outside. Make sure there’s nothing with an odor in your vehicle, including candy, gum, air fresheners, trash, lotions and lip balms.

– Bears are great climbers – remove any tree limbs that might provide access to upper level decks and windows.

– Replace exterior lever-style door handles with good quality round door knobs that bears can’t pull or push open.

– Put on talk radio (not music) when you leave home; the human voice startles most bears.

 Get Rid of Attractants

– Bears follow their super-sensitive noses to anything that smells like food, and can follow scents from up to five miles away.

– Don’t leave trash out overnight unless it’s in a bear-proof enclosure or container. Obey all local regulations.

– We recommend feeding birds only when bears are hibernating.

Teach Bears They’re Not Welcome

– If a bear comes into your yard or close to your home, do yourself and the bear a big favor, and scare it away. A confident attitude plus loud noises like a firm yell, clapping your hands, banging on pots and pans or blowing an air horn sends most bears running.

– If a bear enters your home, open doors and windows and make sure it can leave the same way it got in. Don’t approach the bear or block escape routes.

– Never approach a bear. If a bear won’t leave, call your local CPW office. If a bear presents an immediate threat to human safety, call 911.


For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Here kitty kitty…

September 29, 2011

Perhaps I should simply start a new page, or at least category about living in areas where wildlife are abundant. In any case we all need to remember that many wild creatures can, and will put a significant dent into a human body in certain situations.

Most of the time these attacks by wildlife are instinctual, as in the animal is simply trying to escape, protecting their young, or getting some chow. The people that are involved are usually those that are simply stuck on stupid. Be that feeding Coyotes, bears, etcetera. Then, there are those that defy reality, as in thinking that Grizzly Bears are cute, cuddly, and no threat whatsoever to humans. Think again folks! Even deer stomp the heck out of people every year.Read on…

CARBONDALE, Colo. – A mountain lion attacked and killed a pet dog at a ski area outside of Carbondale, prompting Colorado Parks and Wildlife to remind all residents in the state to take precautions in areas where conflicts with wildlife are possible.

A resident living near the Sunlight Ski Resort told a wildlife officer that an attack happened when she let her dogs walk outside at approximately 10 p.m., Wednesday. She ran out to her deck after hearing distressed barking, and watched as a mountain lion ran off with her 14 year-old poodle/shih tzu mix in its mouth.

“As troubling as the incident may seem, residents in this area need to remember that they live in mountain lion country and this can happen anytime,” said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. “Lions are opportunistic predators, so we caution people to keep a close eye on their dogs, cats or other domesticated animals.”

Wildlife managers take human safety or loss of livestock into consideration when deciding whether to relocate or lethally manage a predator. However, they do not typically kill a lion that preys on an unsupervised pet.

“It does not appear to be a threat to people right now, but we will continue to monitor the situation, and we will take action if it becomes aggressive towards humans,” said Will.

Although mountain lions are typically reclusive and avoid humans, people occasionally encounter the big cats in areas where there is an abundance of their natural prey, such as mule deer, or other smaller species such as raccoons, skunks, porcupines and other similar wildlife.

Wildlife officers also received a report of another mountain lion inside the city limits of nearby Carbondale on Thursday, the day after the attack on the dog.

Sightings of mountain lions within Carbondale city limits may be uncommon, said District Wildlife Manager John Groves, but they are not completely unexpected. Groves said it appeared the lion was no longer within city limits and had likely moved on.

“People should remember that we are in an area where lions exist in significant numbers, and a sighting can happen anytime,” he said. “However, we do ask the public to let us know quickly if they see a lion in an area where they are not normally seen.”

As mountain lion populations have rebounded in recent decades, the number of sightings and close encounters in Colorado has increased. Fatalities, such as the death of an Idaho Springs jogger in 1991, and attacks, remain exceedingly rare.

“Mountain lions are opportunistic predators and are certainly powerful enough to kill a human, but they typically choose their natural, four-legged prey, and tend to avoid anything on two legs,” said Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero.

However, Romero warned that people should not ignore a possible threat from a lion, and should follow a few basic tips to help reduce the possibility of an encounter, or attack.

“Try to avoid walking your pet at night,” she said. “Lions have excellent eyesight and can see you clearly in the dark, but a human needs light to see, and walking during daylight hours allows you to see a potential threat.”

Romero also advised people to fight back strenuously if attacked.

“A lion will retreat if you are able to injure or hurt it during an attack, so don’t run from it, but do fight back if attacked,” she said.

Wildlife managers also recommend the following tips:

– When you walk or hike in mountain lion country, go in groups and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.

– Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.

– Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly yet firmly to it. Move slowly.

– Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.

– Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.

– If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or any item you can quickly grab without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds everyone that as the human population of the state tops 5 million, there will likely be an increase in encounters. However, the public can avoid serious conflicts by following a few recommended suggestions that can help them live with wildlife responsibly.

To learn more about living with mountain lions, please visit:


For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:


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