Posts Tagged ‘Colorado DOW’


December 14, 2010

I have been called a “rollover” for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and worse in the past. What follows has some very serious problems… I’ll respond to any serious questions about my reservations with this latest episode in beast verses man, and Mankind…

GUNNISON, Colo. — The Colorado Division of Wildlife is reminding antler hunters that the collection of shed antlers in the Gunnison Basin is regulated by strict guidelines.

The purpose of the regulations is to protect vulnerable wildlife species, especially Gunnison sage-grouse and mule deer, explained J Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison.

Collecting shed antlers for commercial use has grown significantly during the last decade in the Gunnison area. The activity can disturb Gunnison sage-grouse during their mating period, and also cause unnecessary harassment of deer and elk on winter range. Collectors are cautioned to know the regulations. Violations could result in confiscation of antlers, a $68 fine and five penalty points against hunting and fishing privileges.

“The Colorado Division of Wildlife takes the disturbance of wildlife species during the critical winter period very seriously,” Wenum said.

Over the years, unscrupulous antler collectors have been observed chasing deer on foot and with snowmobiles, searching areas at night, and going onto private land without permission.

Shed antler collection on public lands in Game Management Units 54, 55, 551, 66 and 67 is closed completely from Jan. 1 through March 14 annually. From March 15 through May 15, collecting is prohibited from sunset to 10 a.m. daily.

The regulations were adopted by the Colorado Wildlife Commission and based on a collaborative petition submitted by the Gunnison Basin Sage Grouse Strategic Committee, Gunnison-area sportsmen and shed antler collectors. The DOW worked closely with those groups to develop the regulations.

The period of the first closure (Jan. 1 to March 14) assures that deer herds and Gunnison sage-grouse are not harassed during the difficult winter months. The second closure period (March 15 to May 15) ensures that Gunnison sage-grouse are not disturbed during the critical early morning hours of their mating period.

The closures will be strictly enforced. Collectors are advised to consult official sunset tables and to obtain accurate public lands maps.

For more information, or to report violations or suspicious activity, call the DOW office in Gunnison at (970) 641-7060.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Living with Wildlife: Mountain Lions are called that for a reason!

April 25, 2010


Mountain lion sightings are becoming more and more common in Colorado. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has produced a short video about safety in lion country to help educate residents and visitors. Media outlets, schools and organizations are invited to link to this video from their respective web sites.

The “Mountain Lion Safety” video explains lion behavior, how you can prevent attracting lions onto your property, how to protect pets and livestock, and what to do if you come close to a lion on a trail or in the backcountry.

The link to the video at the DOW website is:

The video can also be found on YouTube, search “Mountain Lion Safety.”

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Big Changes Await Gunnison Elk Hunters‏

March 3, 2010

Gunnison, Colo.–Gunnison elk hunters will see significant regulation and license changes for the 2010 big game seasons.  Two groups–archery hunters and second-season rifle hunters–are affected most by changes to license allocation and should plan carefully before arriving to the Gunnison area this fall.

“We want to make sure hunters accustomed to purchasing over-the-counter elk licenses are aware of these changes well before the start of the seasons,” said J Wenum, DOW area wildlife manager for Gunnison.  “We don’t want hunters showing up here realizing they cannot purchase licenses or that licenses have been sold out.”

Beginning this year, archery hunters can no longer purchase over-the-counter licenses for Game Management Units 54, 55 and 551. All Gunnison archery licenses are allocated by the limited drawing only for the 2010 season.  Therefore, bow hunters must participate in the spring drawing and have applications submitted prior to the April 6 deadline to obtain licenses for these Units.

In addition, the Division of Wildlife is planning to reduce archery elk licenses approximately 30 to 50 percent for the upcoming season based on guidance already given by the Wildlife Commission. The 2010 license allocation is based on a three-year average of license sales during the 2007-09 seasons.

Second-season rifle hunters will also see a change in license allocation in Unit 54.  Similar to previous years, hunters may purchase over-the-counter elk licenses, but licenses will be “capped” and limited in quantity.   Licenses are sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning July 13 at statewide DOW offices and license agents, and online on the DOW Web site.

Approved last year under the Five-Year Review of Big Game Season Structure, the Colorado Wildlife Commission implemented these changes to improve hunter harvest rates and to bring overpopulated Gunnison elk herds closer to objective.

During the past several years, the number of archery hunters has increased significantly in the Gunnison Basin.  Increased hunting pressure has caused an early movement of elk into sanctuary areas–private ranches and wilderness areas–making animals inaccessible to both archery hunters and rifle hunters later in the season.

Wildlife managers are optimistic that reducing early season hunting pressure will improve overall hunter success and help to lower elk populations.

“Overall, these changes should provide expanded opportunities for rifle hunters to harvest antlerless elk,” said Wenum.

For a list and explanation of all 2010 Gunnison Basin big game regulation changes, please visit the following link:

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Pronghorns relocated

March 3, 2010


GUNNISON, Colo. – The Colorado Division of Wildlife released 62 pronghorn in the Gunnison Basin on Feb. 26 to supplement the population in that area. The release area was about 20 miles southeast of the town of Gunnison.

The animals were trapped earlier in the day on private property in an area northeast of Pueblo where there are an abundance of pronghorn. Hunting is not allowed in that area and the number of pronghorn is over the population management objective set by the DOW. Relocating animals is an established wildlife management technique that is used nationwide.

“It was a win-win situation,” said Brian Dreher, terrestrial biologist with the DOW in the Colorado Springs area. “Gunnison needed some pronghorn to bolster their herds and this area near Pueblo had plenty to spare.”

In the Gunnison Basin, the animals were released south of U.S. Highway 50 and east of the Cochetopa Canyon.

Pronghorn are native to the Gunnison Basin, but they do suffer during periods of extreme weather. During the severe winter of 2007-08 more than half of the approximately 600 pronghorn in the basin died due to the weather conditions. The DOW estimates that prior to Friday’s relocation only about 300 pronghorn roamed the vast sage brush hills.

“The pronghorn really took a hit during the winter of 2008,” said J Wenum, area wildlife manager for the Gunnison area. “We’re happy to have more of them in the basin again.”

A previous transplant came after the severe winter of 1984. Pronghorn were trapped in the Trinidad area and relocated to supplement the few remaining animals that existed in the Gunnison Basin at the time.

The technique to trap the pronghorn at Pueblo has been used for many years by the DOW. Two fence lines about one-quarter mile long were built at angles to form a funnel shape. A low-flying helicopter herded the animals into the fenced area and then about 100 DOW biologists, staff and volunteers formed a line and walked slowly behind the animals and eventually pushed them into the small end of the enclosure.

At the narrowest point a net was dropped onto the animals. Then the people who had formed the line ran to hold the animals down. Blindfolds were quickly put over the animals’ eyes to help calm them and their legs were hobbled. DOW veterinarians were on hand to keep an eye on the animals. An ear tag was placed on each animal to help biologists track their movements in the basin. The hobbles and blindfolds were then removed and the pronghorn were placed on beds of hay in horse trailers and transferred to the release sites.

Pronghorn are small compared with other big game animals – about three feet tall at the shoulder and weigh from 85-165 pounds. They can run at speeds exceeding 60 miles per hour and are the fastest mammals in the Western Hemisphere.

The scientific name for pronghorn is Antilocapra americana.  The common names are: antelope, pronghorn antelope, and prairie goat. Pronghorn are small, graceful, hoofed mammals with a large head and prominent, laterally positioned eyes.  Keen eye sight and speed are their primary defense mechanisms. Just a few hours after being born a pronghorn can run up to 30 miles per hour.

Pronghorn generally live in grasslands and semi-desert shrub lands on rolling topography that affords good visibility. In spring and summer, the older, more dominant bucks are solitary and the younger males form bachelor bands of up to 12 individuals. The females – known as does – with young form small herds.  In the winter, there are large herds of mixed sex and age classes.

Breeding occurs in the fall, from mid-September to mid-October. Males are territorial during the autumn rut; and while they threaten combat, there is little actual contact. Dominant males round up groups of females.  Gestation averages 252 days. The young are born from late-May to mid-June. On average, each doe gives birth to two young. In the wild, pronghorn have a typical lifespan of 7-10 years.

Males shed the outer sheath of their horns after breeding. The resulting new growth each year produces a steadily larger set of horns. No other North American mammals have branched horns over a bone core.

For more information about pronghorn, go to the DOW’s web site at:

PHOTO: Copy and paste photo from this URL. Caption is below.

Two pronghorn walk into their new home in the Gunnison Basin. The animals were trapped on Feb. 26 east of Pueblo and then taken to the Gunnison area the same day to be released. A total of 62 pronghorn were relocated in an effort to increase the population of pronghorn in the Gunnison Basin. Half of the 600 animals in the basin died during the severe winter of 2007-08. Photo: Colorado Division of Wildlife.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Banner Year Predicted for Colorado Pheasant Hunters‏

November 17, 2009

It figures… I move away,and things get better. I love hunting upland birds. Wild birds that roam free. Add a dog that loves to hunt, and you are in for a wonderful day. The sad fact though, is that most decent bird land is privately held, and getting permission to hunt is all but impossible. Now though? Perhaps things are getting better.

DENVER, Colo.–With Thanksgiving fast approaching and Colorado’s pheasant and quail seasons now in full swing, upland bird hunters have plenty to be thankful for, especially pheasant hunters on Colorado’s Eastern Plains.

An unusually wet spring and summer throughout much of Colorado’s core pheasant range improved nesting habitat, helping to boost pheasant populations to the highest numbers in years.

“There are an excellent number of pheasants this year,” said Ed Gorman, DOW small game manager.  “Every indication is that we had very good recruitment of young pheasants and good carryover of birds from last year.  The bottom line is that where there is good habitat, there are plenty of pheasants, which should translate into an exceptional year for Colorado hunters.”

According to population surveys, hunters will find the greatest number of pheasants in Yuma, Kit Carson, Phillips, Sedgwick and eastern- Logan counties, followed by improved numbers in Prowers, Baca and Cheyenne counties.

Upland hunters in Morgan, Weld and Washington counties will see better pheasant numbers over 2008; however, birds are still recovering from several years of drought conditions and populations will be more localized in these counties.

Although pheasants will be abundant in most areas, standing corn fields may pose a significant obstacle to hunters pursuing “ringnecks” during the first couple weeks of the season.

“Colorado’s corn harvest is delayed again this year because of cool, wet weather during the last several weeks,” said Gorman.  “Therefore, pheasants may concentrate in standing corn and be inaccessible to hunters until these fields have been harvested later in the season.”

Hunters would do well to look for areas where corn has already been harvested or where winter wheat is the predominant crop.  Hunting should quickly improve as the remaining corn crops are harvested and pheasants are pushed into more accessible habitat.

Southeast Colorado scaled quail populations are in the process of recovering from the 2006 blizzard and several years of drought. Quail populations should be higher than last year, but remain below long-term averages despite good nesting conditions in 2009.

In northeast Colorado, bobwhite quail are generally restricted to the South Platte River, the Frenchman and Arickaree drainages, and scattered coveys are also found within the sandhills of Phillips and Yuma Counties.  Bobwhite quail populations appear to be improved over 2008 although, in some areas, populations are much lower than five years ago.  Even with higher water this summer, quail appear to have had a fairly good nesting and brooding season.  A delayed corn harvest in the valley, particularly the fields adjacent to the river corridor, will make hunting more difficult early in the season.

Walk-In Access Program:
The DOW Walk-In Access program offers approximately 220,000 acres of small game hunting access on private lands across the state.  Many of these areas provide opportunities for pheasant and quail hunting.

The “2009 Walk-In Atlas” and the “2009 Late Cropland Atlas” are now available and include all properties enrolled in this program. The “Late Cropland Atlas” includes only those properties which were added for the pheasant and waterfowl seasons.  Therefore, hunters must obtain both atlases to view all properties enrolled in the WIA program.

Atlases provide detailed descriptions of each property, including the type of cover crop (corn, grass, wheat stubble) and offer other useful information and tips for upland hunters.

Walk-In Atlases are available at DOW offices and license agents statewide.  An electronic version may be downloaded at the DOW Web site at .

While the printed atlases have been written to be as accurate as possible, hunters should not hunt fields unless they are clearly marked with Walk-In Access signs.

A Walk-In Access Permit is required to hunt any WIA properties.  Permits cost $20 and are available at DOW offices and license agents statewide.

New for the 2009 season: Sprinkler corners enrolled in the WIA program are closed to hunting until farming operations have concluded.  This closure is in effect to allow harvesters to work efficiently and to minimize safety concerns to hunters and farm workers.  Corners are posted with closure signs in addition to WIA boundary signs.

Hunters are reminded to keep WIA properties clean and to never clean birds or litter on WIA areas.

Hunting Private Land:
Hunters must obtain permission to hunt on private land, whether that land is posted or not.  Hunters wishing to hunt on private land should seek permission from the landowner or lessee well in advance of their planned hunt.

Harvest Information Program:
Hunters are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) and get their HIP number before heading out into the field.  Hunters must write their HIP number in the space provided on their small game license.  HIP numbers can be obtained by calling 1-866-265-6447 or on the Internet at:

2009 Small Game Brochure:
For more information on small game regulations, season dates and bag-and-possession limits, please pick up a copy of the 2009 Colorado Small Game brochure.  Brochures are available at any DOW office or license agents statewide.  An electronic version can be downloaded at the Division’s Web site at:

‘Step up to Better Pheasant Hunting’
Upland hunters who would like to improve their success in the field this season are encouraged to pick up a copy of the 2009 Colorado Outdoors “Hunting Guide.”  This special edition of Colorado Outdoors magazine features “Step up to Better Pheasant Hunting,” an in-depth article providing tips and tactics on how to evaluate pheasant habitat, hunt planning and getting the most out of the Division’s Walk-In Access program.  For more information about Colorado Outdoors magazine, please visit:

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Kokanee Egg Shortage Leads DOW to Expand Spawning Operations‏

November 14, 2009

DENVER, Colo.–The Colorado Division of Wildlife today announced it will expand its kokanee salmon spawning operations to include three additional reservoirs to offset a decline in the number of eggs collected during this season’s spawning runs.

Additional kokanee salmon collection sites will be implemented at Cheesman Reservoir in Douglas County, and Wolford Mountain and Shadow Mountain reservoirs in Grand County.

“Expanding our egg-collection effort is necessary this year to improve our chances to collect enough eggs to sustain the state’s kokanee salmon populations,” said Greg Gerlich, DOW fisheries chief.  “We are hopeful that we can still meet objectives by expanding to these other locations.”

The DOW collects approximately 11 to 12 million kokanee eggs annually to meet fishery management goals and to maintain the state’s kokanee salmon populations.  Since natural reproduction is limited, sustainable kokanee populations are dependent on fish stocking programs and eggs collected from a limited number of brood lakes each fall.

Only 6.9 million eggs have been collected so far this season.  While egg-takes remained average to above average at most brood reservoirs (Vallecito, McPhee, Williams Fork and Granby), DOW aquatic biologists attribute this year’s egg deficit to a steep decline in the kokanee salmon population at Blue Mesa Reservoir.

“We’ve been seeing a substantial decline in the kokanee populations at Blue Mesa for the last several years,” said John Alves, DOW senior aquatic biologist.  “Blue Mesa provides half of the eggs that are used to sustain kokanee populations throughout Colorado, which is why a declining kokanee population in the reservoir is a considerable threat to the management of our fisheries.”

Historically, 5 to 8 million kokanee eggs are collected annually from Blue Mesa.  This year, a meager 2.5 million eggs were harvested, leading biologists to expand egg-collection to alternative locations.

“Our strategy over the years is to have additional waters where we can collect fish to keep the program going when efforts at primary brood waters are unsuccessful,” said Gerlich.  However, this places a considerable strain on our resources and is much less efficient.”

Since fish stocking began in Blue Mesa Reservoir in 1965, developing the kokanee salmon fishery has been the major priority of the DOW. Biologists believe a growing lake trout population is the primary cause for the declining kokanee population in the reservoir.

“Kokanee spawning and egg-collection efforts have remained stable in reservoirs where lake trout predation is not a factor,” said Gerlich.  “This is why it’s imperative to establish a better balance between the lake trout and kokanee populations at Blue Mesa.”

This fall, the DOW began a project to remove some of the lake trout, which reproduce naturally at Blue Mesa, from the reservoir. The removal project will continue each year until DOW aquatic biologists determine that predation on kokanee has declined to where the salmon population is no longer threatened.  That decision will be aided by spring survey research that will be done by the DOW and by researchers from Colorado State University.

For more information on Kokanee in Colorado, please see our Web page at:

For further information about the lake trout removal project at Blue Mesa, please visit:

NEW SWA IN GMU 49: Colorado Hunting

September 18, 2009

BUENA VISTA, Colo. – Colorado has a new State Wildlife Area in Chaffee County.

Chubb Park Ranch State Wildlife Area is located approximately nine miles northeast of Buena Vista on Highway 24/285.  Joseph and Arlene Cogan, whose family has been ranching in Chaffee County since 1889, own the 507-acre ranch.  They have agreed to open their ranch to public hunting as part of a perpetual conservation easement.

The conservation easement was jointly financed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Trust for Public Lands, Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas, Great Outdoors Colorado, Chaffee County, and a donation from the Cogan family.

Chubb Park Ranch SWA is comprised of a blend of mountain grassland habitat, creeks, and forest habitat.  It provides critical elk winter range.

“The purpose of this project is to protect the conservation values of Chubb Park Ranch in perpetuity and allow public access for hunting,” said Division of Wildlife Regional Manager Dan Prenzlow.  “It will protect 84 acres of riparian habitat, 12 acres of forested habitat, over 400 acres of sagebrush/grassland habitat, as well as important winter range for elk.”

The conservation easement also protects nearly 2.8 acres of stream frontage, including portions of Trout Creek, as well as some of the smaller tributaries to both Trout and Chubb Creeks, although the access easement is for hunting only.

Prenzlow said the agreement would also preserve historic ranching practices, habitat for non-game wildlife, and invaluable scenic vistas including a fantastic viewscape from Hwy. 9 to Buffalo Peaks.

The conservation easement preserves valuable habitat as a wildlife corridor between surrounding State Land Board land and the San Isabel National Forest.

The perpetual access easement allows the public to hunt the Chubb Park Ranch.  Access to the 507 acre ranch also enhances access to the existing 3,640 acre Chubb Park State Land Board parcel which is open to hunting as part of the State Trust Lands Program.

The DOW is a co-grantee on this perpetual conservation easement with the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas.

The property is located in Game Management Unit 49.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

One Week Away; Fly Fishing the Arkansas River

April 26, 2009

Among my various addictions is Fly Fishing, and among the greatest satisfactions of that addiction is a trip to the Arkansas River in Colorado for the famed Caddis Fly Hatch. Having moved away I can only pass on my memoirs in hopes that others will venture forth and enjoy one of natures true wonders.

There are many resources to aid the intrepid outdoors-man on this quest. Here’s my basic rig for this excursion. A nine foot fly rod in five weight, with a six weight, weight forward line. I use a number four or five tapered leader coupled with about eighteen inches of shock tippet one size smaller. Waders are a plus but really are just not necessary to have fun catching trout along this stretch of river in most places. So, if you are just starting out as a fly fisher don’t stay home for lack of gear! I use a surgeons knot to connect the two. It is strong, and easily tied stream side.

As of late there have been many new fly patterns developed, and some may show promise. However, I find that many, if not most of them are designed to catch fishermen rather than fish. Those brilliant sparkly creations appear to spook fish more than anything else from my observations. Stick with tried and true patterns such as the Elk Hair Caddis .  Size’s sixteen and eighteen will be the big producers, and in a few weeks size fourteen gray patterns are real producers about two miles down stream from the prison near Salida.

In my experience there is really no need to hit the water at sunrise, as the real action most often is in the afternoon. For some reason cloud cover plays a big part. It doesn’t matter if the clouds are coming or going overhead, changing conditions get the trout rising. Cast upstream at about a fifty degree angle allowing the fly to drift toward swirls and rocks. Bouncing the fly off of a rock face in a not so delicate presentation is also effective for taking normally well educated, spooky trout.

Should a sudden, and hopefully short chill put the brakes on the Caddis hatch, pull out those Colorado stand-by’s that seem to work year round, BWO’s and Midges! Most of all, enjoy being in one of those majestic places that we are blessed with!

Resources close to the Denver metropolitan area.

Discount Anglers on South Sante Fe is a “best buy” if your pocket book resembles mine!

Boo boo strikes again!

April 24, 2009

Seems like an ongoing theme around here. Figure it out, wild animals, well, are wild. Go figure…

This is the time of year when wildlife are getting active. Most are birthing, and can be even more dangerous than they are most of the time. That people just drove by a pregnant woman clearly in distress really bothers me.

Ashley Swendsen, 26 years old and nearly six months pregnant, was chased into traffic by a bear as she went for a walk during her lunch hour in Colorado Springs Thursday.

A car brushed her to the ground and the driver slowed as Swendsen screamed that she was being chased by a bear.

But the driver, an older woman, sped off and the three cars behind it passed by as well, said Swendsen, reached by cell phone at the hospital.

Her physical injuries are believed to be minor, but the nervousness was still evident in her voice as she waited to see a doctor at about 4 p.m.

As the bear first appeared about 2 feet away from her on a hiking trail between the Vincent Drive Bridge and Interstate 25, she said “I thought … ‘what am I going to do?'”

She walked quickly for a few seconds before her fear overcame her and she began to run. The 4-foot-tall brown bear galloped behind her for about 20 seconds until she reached the roadway at 1005 Garlock Way.

“I started screaming for help, but nobody could hear me,” she said.

Wildlife officers soon located and killed the female bear. No cubs were found nearby. Swendsen said she was going to see its body after she was checked out at the hospital.Colorado Springs police are still looking for the hit-and-run driver, a woman likely to be in her 70s driving a black four-door Mitsubishi sedan.



April 14, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It is becoming more common to hear about coyote sightings in residential areas in Colorado, including neighborhoods in Colorado Springs, Monument, and other communities in the Pikes Peak region.  People call the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) with questions about their safety, their children’s safety, and the safety of their pets.

“Most conflicts between people and coyotes occur when coyotes are able to find food near human residences,” explained Sabrina Schnelker, a district wildlife manager with the DOW.

Coyotes have litters during April and May, delivering an average of five or six pups. During this time of year, adult coyotes need to travel farther and forage more to feed their young.  This can lead to increased aggressiveness, especially near a den site, said Schnelker, who has seen an upswing in sightings.

Food left out for other animals often gets eaten by opportunistic coyotes.  These adaptable predators have learned that in addition to rodents and other small mammals, they can hunt domestic pets in residential neighborhoods.  In either case, the result is that when coyotes lose their natural wariness of the human environment, they can become aggressive towards people.

The DOW strongly discourages feeding wild animals, including coyotes.  In fact, feeding coyotes and foxes is illegal in urban areas.

Schnelker reminds people to maintain awareness around their yard when letting pets out, or when children are playing.  When walking pets, residents should keep dogs on a short leash.  Use of longer, retractable leashes is discouraged in areas frequented by coyotes.

If dogs are left outside during the day, it is recommended a fully enclosed kennel (sides and a top) be used to exclude wild animals.  Installing motion detector lights or floodlights is encouraged in areas where pets frequently go in the low light hours.

Children should be taught that coyotes and foxes are wild animals and they should never attempt to approach them.

What to do if a coyote approaches you:

Be as Big, Mean, and Loud as possible
-Wave your arms and throw objects at the coyote
-Shout in a deep, loud and authoritative voice
-DO NOT RUN or turn your back on the coyote
-Face the coyote and back away slowly
-If attacked, fight back with your fists and feet

The DOW encourages people in the Colorado Springs area to call (719) 227-5200 if they encounter an aggressive coyote.  If the incident occurs after business hours, contact your local law enforcement agency or the Colorado State Patrol Dispatch Center at (719) 544-2424 and they will notify a wildlife officer.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

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