Posts Tagged ‘Elk Hunting in Colorado’

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: http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/97D14105-03A3-40EA-9C26-010C3C41DCEB/0/GunnisonBasinChanges2010.pdf

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.

Deer tales: Continued

January 5, 2010

Continuing from HERE:

Charlie took the boys to the road nearby and showed them how to pluck the birds without getting down all over the campsite while Jason saw to the trout as I fired up the Coleman stoves, and got the fire going in the ring. The fire ring is a bit of a story in and of itself.

When we discovered this tiny piece of land that pierced the private property into national Forrest the fire ring was there, but nearly buried. As Charlie and I dug it out we noticed that several of the large stones that made it up were carved into. Most simply had name cut into the stone, along with dates. A couple of them were really surprising though; One said Jim Thom (son, I think, it was pretty unreadable), it was dated 1836 and said “I killt a Silver bar here” sic. Meaning, a Silver-tip, or grizzly I surmise. Another said a name that I do not remember, but said “Good beaver area, but the Indians are pretty bad.” Dated 1842, others had names and dates all the way up to 1942. So much for “discovering!”

The stoves heated up, and I was stoking the fire to roast the grouse on when all of a sudden the boys let out a shriek, Charlie screamed for me to get the rifle and I instinctively looked in that direction. At the same time I heard a loud snort, and a large black bear  came tearing through camp and cleared the stream in a single leap… To this day I’m not sure who was more afraid, the boys, or that 300 pound bear!

We got the crew fed and watered, did a last check on the gear,and turned in… I know the boys didn’t sleep a wink, not after the bear and the excitement of their first high country hunt. Four A.M. came early, and both boys were blurry eyed, but fired up and ready to head out. Breakfast was out of a can, corned beef hash, and Texas Toast Colorado camp style. meaning hobo bread cut thick, and more or less burnt on the stove!

Then we headed out. Jerry decided to head up the near side mountain alone. It is almost straight up, but, if you can make it to timberline the chances of getting a shot at a Colorado Classic Timber Buck are pretty good, and if things didn’t work out that way on the hike back down you would be on top of where a herd of does tended to congregate. (He had tags for both sexes.)

Charlie took Michael down the road to the trail that led toward the Great Muddy Slide (Do a web search) intending to get Michael onto a Bull Elk as the big fellas tend to use a saddle near there to cross between the parks in the area.

I tossed our tree branch bridge across the stream, and took Jason with me. I looked at him and told him to unload the rifle. he asked why,and I told him that after crossing our “bridge” that he would understand, I also told him that, with this being his first hunt that he would shoot the first legal animal that he had tags for… That there were plenty of future hunts when he could look for horns that he couldn’t eat. With an OTC Buck tag, and an Elk tag to match he had also drew a doe deer tag. I felt confident that he would at least have a decent chance at bringing home some freezer food.

I wiped down my rifle, and told Jason to go and get a change of clothes on, and we would try again. Yes, he fell into the stream… I told him that he scored a solid five for form and demeanor. That’s right, at one time or another each of us has taken that ride! ( My best score, as assigned by Charlie, was an eight. he refused to allow me any extra for cursing etc. After all, he has the Championship at nine…)

Jason’s second attempted crossing went much better, and we headed across the scrub meadow to the gate that gave access to the forest, the fog was settling now, and I knew that would be good for hunting. It seemed to confuse Deer, Elk,and Bears, and that gave us two legged predators an edge. Jason asked, is this why you call it the enchanted forest? Sure is I responded. ” Jason, this fog gets pretty thick at times. If we get separated for some reason, stay put, don’t go wandering around. It will burn off in an hour or two, and we will hook back up. He acknowledged what I had said, added that he had been told of sudden drop offs, and that we had better start whispering because the fog would carry our voices. I nodded to his wisdom, chambered a round quietly, and motioned for him to do the same, and follow me.

I call it the enchanted forest because in the dense fog anything, and everything can, will, and just might blow your mind as it happens. After about going a hundred feet, I shifted off the trail went to a blow down, and sat, getting acclimated to the surreal environment. Jason whispered to me about the scope covers,and I told him to keep them on for now, that the fog would probably mess with things. Just then the boys eyes got really wide as he looked past my shoulder. Thinking that the bear had decided to exact a little revenge for the earlier fright that had been put into him (or the peanut and honey sandwiches that were in our backpacks!) I slipped the Ruger 41 Mag from the holster at my hip,and slowly turned… Jason, sat there as quiet as a church mouse, and popped the covers from the scope.

I got turned, my eyes focused on the front sight and did a hasty search of the area that had been behind me… No, no bear was in sight. I glanced at my watch; legal hunting time was ten minutes past. I whispered; Jason, he’s really close, and hes facing us almost straight on, I want you to aim at his nose, right between his nostrils… I think I heard an “Uh huh” and the Remington shattered the strange quiet of the Enchanted forest… “Jason follow me!” I yelled we ran a scant ten feet and I told him to “rack a round, get up next to him, and put it right where his front leg joins his chest, point at the same spot on his other side, and pull the trigger!” ‘Okay, he said, then what? Do it again, then get back behind me and reload!” The boy did as I had said… for the first shot. He turned and asked, the fear in him very apparent; “Is he dead?”

I yelled ” I don’t know, now shoot him again like I told you to do!” He did, and got right behind me and loaded three more rounds into the rifle that has earned the nickname “Mister Death.”

The smell of Elk urine was more than apparent, as in death the huge Bull Elk died. I looked at Jason, and told him. “You just did something that few life long Elk hunters accomplish Jason, say a prayer.” Jason’s first big game animal was a Branch Antlered Rocky Mountain Elk Bull. A Basic six point, with a seventh nub point. After the required drying period, it scored 370 even. I told him that Charlie would be one of two things. Pissed, or really proud. Why is that Jason asked as he stared at the noble beast that would be used for food and many other things. ” Because, I think this is the Bull that Charlie fell out of a tree a few years ago trying to arrow it!”

As we went about the real work involved in a successful Elk hunt I noted that my time in Africa had payed off in spades. The very first bullet had hit dead center under the Bulls chin, and broken it’s spine at the second cervical vertebra. Still, I was glad that I had had the young one shoot twice more. “It’s the dead ones that kill you.” I don’t know how many times I have heard that. I don’t know how many times it should be repeated. But? It is a truth of truths, and must be passed on.

By about  ten in the morning we were ready for the first phase of the haul back to camp. The Bull was quartered and tagged as the law required. I had showed Jason how to make a pack frame of his basic backpack. We heard two shots in rapid succession from the west. That would be Charlie and Michael.

“Why are the horns, hide, and other quarters strung up in the trees? And why double looped? He asked” Because you made a “friend” last night son,and, because it’s just good sense to keep your meat cool. We headed back to camp,and no, he didn’t get any style points for crossing…

We hung the meat after putting the pieces into bug bags, and prepared to head back up when we heard a shot. It was close, within two hundred yards. Then we heard Jerry’s voice; “Hail the Camp! Anyone there? I could use some help, I got a Doe!”

On our way Bro! I yelled. I looked at Jason and said. “He don’t know it, but he just became a Mule!”

We hiked the distance…. About fifty feet… Yelled to Jason to get his butt over here, dragged the doe away from the road. Gutted her, and as Jason arrived I told him? “Nice shooting! Now, let’s get her back to camp, and then the real work will start!” We did a quick and dirty field dress of the Doe. Got her back in Camp, and hung her on the Camp Tree. I told him then; “You ready to work now?” he looked at me like I was dumb stupid… Your Son did better than you, me,Charlie,or any of the guys at work have ever friend. Three more loads Bro. You up for it?”

“Lead the way Ranger.” Now,that, is the sort of response that I expect from a Marine. After all, I am a Marine Corps Brat!

I am ending this thing now, but, it didn’t really end there. There was a First Fish caught on a fly. A lesson in making wet wood burn. A bear cub that decided that our camp was home, and many other things.

Oh? Those shots that we heard off to the west? Charlie finaly got his elk, and Michael got his first Deer.

Cross posted to Hunters Central in Yahoo groups


Deer Tales: Another Hunting Remembrance

January 2, 2010

Jerry, an old friend spoke with me on the phone for a bit yesterday. He reads the blog, but never comments, and asked why I don’t do more story’s  about the hunting trips that all of us enjoyed so much in the years gone by. His son Jason was listening in the background. He burst out laughing, and said that I should write about the time we went Deer /Elk hunting when he was thirteen… Jason, this is for you!

Colorado GMU 15 is rugged and beautiful. Everything that people think of when they think outdoor recreation in Colorado. The entire Lynx Pass Area is a natural wonder that you should make sure and get to at least three times if you are an outdoors person. There are Grouse, Mule Deer, Elk if you are lucky in the least, and the stream that follows the gravel road harbors great numbers of Brook Trout as well as an occasional Cutthroat and Cutt/Bow hybrid. It is also just about surrounded by “Draw” License tag areas for Elk, and in 1990 it was an OTC Deer tag. Need I say more?

Jerry,  Jason, and Michael all poured themselves into the land Cruiser and found myself and fellow hunting addict Charlie on the tiny and only spot where the land is public on the south side of Lynx Pass Road. Charlie and I were putting the finishing touches on the camp as they pulled in and all were happy that they had not only found us, but that they were in one piece. Earlier, we had heard that there had been a pretty bad accident on Gore Pass, and we hoped and prayed that our friends were not involved in it. They were all amazed that such wild beauty could be found a scant four hours from Denver.

Then things went south, so to speak…

Charlie asked if they had finally sighted in their rifles. See, he and Jerry worked together, the response was not what was expected, and Charlie reacted accordingly. Soon, after a bit of this and that, they all piled into Charlies Toyota, and headed South, as in away from our hunting area to get the rifles sighted in. This would normally have not been an issue as Charlie and myself are dyed in the wool bow hunters. But, this year our schedules and the stars just didn’t cross.

Two hours later they returned. Sadness abounded on their faces and demeanor. Jason’s new rifle simply refused to shoot straight. Charlie handed me the rifle,and said that he had tightened all the screws and so on, and that it was all over the board no matter who was behind the trigger. I nodded, and held the rifle up, and looked through the scope. It had been mounted improperly, but, something told me to look a bit farther. I rested it on the table, on top of a sleeping bag, sighted on a distant rock, and told Charlie to tap the rifle… he did,and the reticule danced. I held the rifle a little more firmly, and asked for a repeat. I got a repeat…

Jason looked like he was about to burst out in tears. I looked at him and said, “Boy,  go over to the back of my car, and get that rifle case out.” He did, and I opened the case up, and his eyes got really wide.  It was my bread and butter gun; a Remington 7mm Express that I had killed my very first Buck with near Camp Las Pulgas, on Camp Pendleton when I was a kid. I would shoot my sons 270 as it wouldn’t be right to lend his rifle to a child without his permission. Besides, he still has the 7mm Mag BDL that he “borrowed” some time in 87

A quick trip down the road, and I was satisfied that Jason could,in fact, hit the broad side of a dinner plate at 200 yards with my trusted rifle, only a slight windage adjustment was needed… ( Not to mention that the lil’ piss ant shot way tighter groups than I do with it!)

We returned to camp, and I set about getting things other than beer and whiskey ready for supper. Jerry had usedmy Wrist Rocket to secure nine Blue Grouse for the pot, and Charlie had pulled about twenty Brook Trout from the stream.

To be continued.

NOVICE HUNTER INSTRUCTIONAL CLINICS

August 22, 2009

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Local wildlife conservation groups are teaming up with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) to offer some exciting FREE clinics for beginning hunters. The seminars were developed following the success of a ‘Turkey Hunting 101’ seminar that was offered by the National Wild Turkey Federation this past spring.

The local committee of the Colorado Mule Deer Association will be hosting a free ‘Mule Deer Hunting 101’ clinic on Monday, Aug. 24 at the DOW Grand Junction Hunter Education Building at 711 Independent Ave. Class participants will be treated to a free barbecue beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the mule deer class beginning at 7 p.m. The clinic will cover a variety of topics including mule deer biology and habits, hunting strategies, equipment, and local deer hunting opportunities. The Colorado Mule Deer Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving the mule deer and its habitat.

The local committee of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will be hosting a free ‘Elk Hunting 101’ clinic on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at the DOW Grand Junction Hunter Education Building at 711 Independent Ave. The clinic will begin at 6 p.m. and will cover topics including elk biology and habits, hunting strategies, equipment, and local elk hunting opportunities.  The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving the Rocky Mountain elk and its habitat.

The local committee of Ducks Unlimited will be hosting a free ‘Waterfowl Hunting 101’ clinic on Friday, Sept. 25 at the DOW Grand Junction Hunter Education Building at 711 Independent Ave. The clinic will begin at 6 p.m. and will cover topics including waterfowl identification and biology, hunting strategies, equipment, and local waterfowl hunting opportunities. Ducks Unlimited is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of waterfowl and their habitat. The local Ducks Unlimited committee also offers a free youth waterfowl clinic and guided hunt in the Grand Valley.

All hunting clinics are limited to 40 participants and preregistration is required.  These hunting clinics are designed for novice hunters. For more information about the clinics and to register please call the DOW Education Office at (970) 255-6181.

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For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.

Glade Park Deer and Elk Meetings‏

August 18, 2009

Obama isn’t the only thing going on in Grand Junction!

GLADE PARK DEER AND ELK MEETINGS


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is interested in hearing from the public about management of big game herds in and around Glade Park. Public input is critical in helping revise herd management plans, called Data Analysis Unit or DAU plans. DAU plans establish herd population objectives and set goals for male-female ratios within populations.

Interested members of the public are invited to attend a DAU planning meeting for deer and elk in Game Management Unit 40. In order to maximize the public’s opportunity to comment, these meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

Wednesday, Aug. 19, Mesa County Fairgrounds, Sagebrush Room, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 20, Glade Park Community Bldg., 6:30 p.m.

Deer DAU D-18 and Elk DAU E-19 cover the Glade Park herds, which occupy the area east of the Utah state line, south of the Colorado River and north and west of Highway 141. The area includes Glade Park, the McInnis Canyons NCA, the Colorado National Monument and the west side of Unaweep Canyon. The DAU plans will guide management in Game Management Unit 40, which is known for producing quality buck and bull hunting opportunities.

“Herd size is a function of biology, but it is also a function of what the public desires for a population,” added Ron Velarde, regional manager for northwest Colorado. “While the DOW is well-suited to make biological decisions, we need public input to determine if larger or smaller herds would be acceptable.”

Sportsmen, outfitters, business owners and landowners all have a vested interest in the big game populations in an area. Sportsmen may want larger herds for increased hunting opportunity or male-female ratios that create bigger bucks but less hunting opportunity. Outfitters and hunting-tourism dependent businesses like hotels and restaurants may want increased hunting opportunity that brings more hunters to an area. Landowners may want decreased herd sizes to limit damage to crops and fences. Large landowners may also want herd gender ratios that promote bigger bucks and result in more desirable private land licenses.

DAU plans are based on wildlife management principles and public input and are revised approximately every 10 years. To aid the public in discussion, several management alternatives will be presented at the public meetings. The alternatives cover increasing or decreasing overall herd size and male-female ratios or leaving the populations and gender ratios at their current levels. The benefits and drawbacks to each alternative will be presented.

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For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.

It is about that time again!

August 18, 2008

I took some time this past weekend to get up into the high country, even though I will not be able to enjoy it this year. My friends were scouting Elk at an elevation ranging between nine and eleven thousand feet. The area is commonly known as “The Muddy Slide.”

This is in Routt County, near Lynx Pass, it is one heck of a hike from the areas where you can set a camp up to get to the parks, and black timber where the Wapiti like to hang out.It is however, well worth the effort to do so. Just a short distance away is the Gore Pass area, that is most often inundated with road hunters.That is fine with me. It is also probably the single largest factor in why so often the Elk harvest is around twenty percent success. Over the years, my friends and I have averaged closer to forty percent success harvesting Elk by all legal methods. It would be even higher if we didn’t regularly pass on shots.

Bottom line? The Elk are moving, and the rut is in it’s early stages. The guys were all still out when I made it into camp. I used a diaphragm to blow out a few cow mews, and was rewarded by the sound of not one, but three young bulls that were off in the black timber.Prime time is still about a month away, so this was a very good sign.

I will be up in Wyoming when the big bulls begin to roar across my beloved Colorado Rockies. Indeed, with Wyoming taking a year to establish residency it could be two years before I can hunt again. Such are the vagaries of life. It is all well and good though, areas fifteen and sixteen have been very good to me over the years.

Fly Fishing, again :)

June 11, 2008

“Yes young man, it is an addiction.”

That was my response to Robert “Bob” Graves, a co-worker at Haley Paramedic Ambulance. He, some how, I mean, I wouldn’t know… Had become bitten by the Fly Fishing bug.

“It is an insidious thing indeed.” So said Senior Paramedic Arthur ( A. Flippin) Flippin Paramedic. An emerging Master Outdoors man.

But, I knew that this young man had promise as he watched me tying an Adams. “That’s an Adams isn’t it?” Correct I responded. I also gave him a little bit of hard earned knowledge about that Adams pattern, as it is best used along the Colorado front range.

The Adams pattern is very versatile, it imitates many Mayflies in sizes from 12 to 16. It really shines though as a Midge imitation. Especially along the South Platte river below Cheeseman. That would be in sizes 18 all the way to 24, if you can tie them, and then attach them without the fly blowing off up the canyon, that is.

It is also productive along Boulder Creek, each tributary. Although not nearly as effective as Gray Caddis patterns, or a Gold Ribbed hares Ear, as far as that goes. And so the session went on. Bob was a terrific student, and, he even provided Guinness when he chose to visit.

This is beginning to look like an expensive hobby he noted on one such occasion. Nonsense I replied, after all, that Bull Elk that you are sighted upon will provide many years worth of flies, after all. “With a 264 that is more than twenty years old he asked?” I felt much like a Jedi Warrior, instructing a young protege… Have faith young man… And “pull the damned trigger!”

And so it goes, life as an outdoors-man in Colorado. Bringing new ones into the fold.

Bob moved away, to some Shangrila called South East Alaska. He bought a Marlin rifle in 450 Marlin for holding big bears at bay, and a Winston bamboo fly rod, just because he could. Something tells me that he may be in need of some small bit of guidance … Just a little … I may have to plan a trip to see him … 😀

INFORMATION SOUGHT ON DEAD ELK

October 25, 2007

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is seeking information about a suspicious incident in the Hanks Creek drainage of Game Management Unit 61 where a bull elk was found dead. Unit 61 is located north and east of the San Miguel River on the west side of the Uncompahgre Plateau.
     
On Oct. 9 a local rancher reported finding the carcass of a large bull elk. Due to the position of the carcass and other factors, the rancher was suspicious of the cause of death. When Division of Wildlife officers examined the carcass they determined that the elk had been dead for at least a day and that the animal’s antlers had been removed.
     
Information can be provided to the DOW anonymously. Anyone providing tips abut this incident, if it is determined to be an illegal act, could be eligible for a cash reward. Also, because GMU 61 is a totally limited draw unit for elk, anyone providing a tip could also be eligible to receive a bull tag for the unit under the TIP(Turn In Poachers) program.
     
Anyone having any information regarding this incident should call District Wildlife Manager Mark Caddy at (970)327-4489 or Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648.  

This is in the general area, or drainage that the all time record bull was collected. Those that kill an animal for the antlers alone are thieves that are stealing our public property, and heritage.
      
 

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.


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