Posts Tagged ‘Turkey hunting’

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

May 1, 2012

PROGRAM HELPS YOUNG HUNTERS BAG FIRST BIRDS

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: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/HunterOutreach/Pages/HunterOutreach.aspx

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: http://www.parks.state.co.us

To learn more about Colorado’s wildlife programs, please see: http://wildlife.state.co.us

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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.
http://dowlegacyapps.state.co.us/apps/ImageDB/ImageDownload.aspx?ImageId=26719&ImageSize=Print&ImageType=JPG

Thirteen-year-old Antoinette Dorris of Rangely poses with her first turkey.
http://dowlegacyapps.state.co.us/apps/ImageDB/ImageDownload.aspx?ImageId=26721&ImageSize=Print&ImageType=jpg

Ten-year-old Tagerty Poole of Rifle with his gobbler and proud grandma Sunny Stead.
http://dowlegacyapps.state.co.us/apps/ImageDB/ImageDownload.aspx?ImageId=26720&ImageSize=Print&ImageType=JPG

District Wildlife Manager Mike Swaro (left) poses with Travis Flaherty and 10-year-old Tagerty Poole.
http://dowlegacyapps.state.co.us/apps/ImageDB/ImageDownload.aspx?ImageId=26723&ImageSize=Print&ImageType=jpg

Officers, youths and their parents pose proudly for the camera at Bel-Aire State Wildlife Area.
http://dowlegacyapps.state.co.us/apps/ImageDB/ImageDownload.aspx?ImageId=26722&ImageSize=Print&ImageType=JPG

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

The Addicition Series Continues : Beginning Turkey Hunting

February 15, 2010

After last years smashing success about Turkey Hunting in Colorado several people have asked for some more tips and so on about Turkey Hunting in general. Most asked for advice for beginning Turkey Hunters. So that is where we will begin!

First let me tell you this. It is really quite easy to spend a fortune on Turkey Hunting gear and equipment but you don’t have to in order to enjoy the sport. No, you don’t absolutely have to have the latest and greatest equipment!

Since the big question from newer hunters always seems to center on what firearm to use I will cover that first. In most, if not all states during spring seasons you can only use a shotgun or bow legally to hunt we will cover shotguns. As Stick & String is a lot more involved. If anyone is really interested, I can cover that aspect at a later date.

I always advise people to use a twelve gauge shotgun, at least when first beginning. However,please note that a youngster that I taught to hunt started with a Remington Youth / Women’s twenty gauge, and still uses it, and with great success I might add. That was more than twenty years ago and the following advice is as true today as it was then. Use a gun that you are comfortable with that patterns well. My all time favorite shotgun for Turkey hunting was a Browning BPS ten gauge. But to be truthful in all probability you will only get one shot, so a repeater just isn’t all that needed to be an effective hunter. So, yes, a single shot that patterns well with appropriate shot should do the job.

Shot size is always a bit controversial but four through six should do the job. Remember, the birds will be on the ground,and you are aiming for the head and neck area to ensure a quick kill. The added bonus of smaller shot is that you will not be digging it out of the birds carcass or breaking teeth  on it when you eat the bird. I prefer Remington Hevi Shot in size five, but again, use what load your shotgun patterns best with. Many people are surprised to findout that the shorter magnums are more effecting in their particular shotguns than the big heavy loads.

Which brings us to chokes, and patterns and I can’t say or explain  it better than what you can read HERE.

Then we get to Cammo, and yes, you can spend a small fortune on camouflage. There are just too many good patterns available these days to really say that any one is hands down better than another because of the varied habitat that Turkeys inhabit. Want something tried and true, and want to try your hand at an old craft that is still used by Army and Marine Scout Snipers? Then make a Ghillie Suit! Here’s a video that should help as well.

Lastly, we get to calls, and yes, again you can go broke buying them. But really, all you need to get a Turkey, is a yelper type call, and guess what? With a little practice most people can do that just using their own mouth! However, the shear romance of a good box or slate call is hard to resist. As well as inexpensive latex diaphragm calls. Purchase a few videos or tapes, and practice. A lot of public library’s have them and you could just check them out while you learn. If you can, attend any seminars that are available from N.W.T.F. or your Fish and Game Department.

I will post more about tactics and so on later. You need to get busy and fill out license applications, as most states are coming due to apply already!

The Addiction Series: Getting ready for Wild Turkey

October 27, 2009

Yes, I know. It’s Big Game season across much of the land. Not to mention upland bird and waterfowl seasons are, or are beginning to get going depending on where you are located.

This is, however, the time to not only think about spring Turkey hunting, but to prep for it. Thinking Colorado, and probably elsewhere. This is the time of year when you will most probably be meeting farmers and ranchers. In the coffee shops and stores as you go about your pursuit of Deer, Elk, Pheasant,and quail. Should you come upon a person that has tumbled their load of hay on a back country road? Pull over, and give them a hand getting it back onto their trailer or truck. It’s a great way to get information on local animals, and just might open a door to huntable land.

I have written elsewhere on this blog about Bosque Del Oso SWA, and places that are close to Denver where birds can be found. Guess what? From the confluence of Clear Creek and the South Platte River near Commerce City all the way to the border there are what are probably the thickest populations of Rio Grande Turkey’s in the state. The stretch between Commerce City and Fort Lupton being exceptional habitat. Getting permission to hunt though, is often the toughest part of the hunt. Get permission before you apply for a limited license. That’s where pre-planning,and getting to know the locals comes in. What follows is a video of Wild Turkey’s in similar riparian habitat courtesy of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Enjoy!

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GET READY FOR SPRING TURKEY HUNTING

March 21, 2009

GET READY FOR SPRING TURKEY HUNTING; SEASON STARTS APRIL 11

Colorado’s spring turkey season offers hunters one of the most unique experiences in the field.

From late April through mid May, turkeys are at the height of their mating season. The hens are calling for the toms, and the toms are on the move looking for mates and putting on their displays of wild machismo.

“There is nothing else like hunting turkeys,” says Tom Spezze, southwest regional manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “You call them in, the toms are making all kinds of noises spitting and drumming, and they’ll get right next to you. It’s incredibly exhilarating.”

The 2009 spring turkey season starts April 11 and continues through May 24, although dates vary in some units. Over-the-counter licenses can be purchased for most units in the state; but some areas are limited so be sure to check the 2009 turkey hunting brochure.

Turkey hunters can use shotguns and bows during the spring hunt. Shots are usually made within 30 yards of a bird. Hunters must be sure of their targets–only toms can be hunted during the spring.

Because turkeys are very wary and spook easily, hunters are allowed to dress in full camouflage. One note of caution: Because hunters wear camouflage, turkey hunting can be dangerous in popular areas. As with every other type of hunting, only shoot at what you see and clearly identify. If you shoot in the direction of a sound you might be shooting at another hunter making a call. If you need to signal to another hunter the best method is to whistle.

Turkeys roost in trees at night so the hunter’s first task is to locate the resting spot. Spezze recommends that hunters arrive near the roost just before dawn and find a place to set up without spooking the birds. Hens welcome the day with a very sleepy “tree call.”  The toms will gobble in response to nearly every hen call made in the roost. After adequately announcing the day, the birds will fly down from the roost once light is full. Then they’ll begin calling to gather the flock for the day.

Seasoned spring turkey hunters will usually begin calling to the toms before any of the birds fly down in an effort to direct them away from the roosted hens.

A common mistake turkey hunters make is “over-calling,” says Spezze. Hunters should only imitate the various calls the turkeys are making at that moment.

“Nothing scares off an already-wary tom more than calls that are too loud or too frequent,” Spezze says.

As toms approach, the hunter must sit absolutely still. Any shot must be executed very quickly. Shotgun pellets won’t penetrate a turkey’s plumage, so the aim must be at the head and neck.

Two types of turkeys live in Colorado. The Merriam’s turkey lives primarily in the mountains, while the Rio Grande turkey lives on the flat lands east of I-25. Populations of both types of turkey are healthy and have been growing during the last few years.

The Merriam’s turkey is partial to open meadows and usually roosts in ponderosa pine trees. They can also be found in oak brush and pinon-juniper stands. Hunters should find areas where turkeys have cover, forage and nesting habitat. Look for meadows in narrow valleys where there are grassy areas, aspen groves and ponderosa pines. The Merriam’s, however, are wanderers and will roam over large areas.

The Rio Grande is the larger of the two birds and can usually be found in cottonwood trees and along riparian areas. The birds are creatures of habit, often roosting in the same tree and feeding in the same fields every day. Rio Grande turkeys are easier to locate than Merriam’s and hunting them is generally not as difficult.

Turkeys forage for seeds, grasses, forbs and insects. Hens usually nest in tall grass and prefer to be near a water source.

Hunters should scout areas looking for sign– tracks, feathers, droppings, scratching and dusting areas. Even if turkeys are not seen or heard, it’s a good bet to hunt in places where there are lots of fresh sign.

Turkey calls also are essential–box calls, slates and mechanical-plunger calls are easy to use.

Your calling position should have a solid back as wide as your shoulders while providing you with a wide area of visibility. Don’t hide so well that you can’t see what’s happening in front of you.

Hunters should not try to stalk turkeys in the spring because chances of success are slim. Set up in a somewhat concealed location and wait for the birds to come to you.

Hunting in the morning is typical, but toms can also be called in late in the afternoon. So don’t hesitate to hunt late in the day.

The long season also works to hunters’ advantage. Some of the best hunting occurs late in the season when hens are on the nest. If you miss opening day, you won’t be missing your chance to get a turkey.

This “right of spring” is an experience that turkey hunters look forward to every year.  Successful hunters are rewarded with fine, lean meat. With careful cooking, wild turkey makes an excellent and highly nutritious meal.
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For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.

SPECIAL SEASON OFFERS ANOTHER CHANCE FOR YOUNG TURKEY HUNTERS

November 20, 2008

Get off your butt, and take a kid hunting!

DURANGO _ Young hunters who did not fill their fall turkey tags will have a second chance at bagging a holiday bird at the end of November.

A special late fall season for all Colorado hunters under age 18 is set for Nov. 22-30. Any youngsters who did not get a turkey during the regular fall season can hunt in southwest Colorado. Each hunter must be accompanied by a mentor who is 18 or older. The mentor cannot hunt and must have a Colorado Hunter Safety Card.

The special season opens a new opportunity for youth in Colorado’s southwest corner, said Tom Spezze, southwest regional manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

“Unlike other areas of the state, in the southwest we don’t have upland game birds,” Spezze said. “Turkey hunting gives our young hunters a great opportunity to learn about hunting, and this special season will encourage families to get out together to hunt.”

Turkey hunting is somewhat easier in the fall than the spring. Hunters can take birds of either sex in the fall, and turkeys travel in flocks and can be tracked on the ground. Turkeys are abundant in southwest Colorado and large expanses of public land allow hunters to enjoy a high-quality experience during this season.

The season also follows the last big game season.

“This is a great time of year to hunt; people will have the woods to themselves,” Spezze said. “And you never know, your son or daughter could provide your family with a turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

Young hunters who previously purchased a regular fall turkey license anywhere in the state for 2008 are eligible for this special season. Separate licenses will not be sold for this season.

The season will be open in these game management units: 52, 54, 55, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 82, 83, 411, 521, 551, 681, 682, 711, 741, 751 and 771. For more information refer to one of the Colorado hunting brochures or the DOW Web Site (http://wildlife.state.co.us) for the exact locations of these units.

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

Spring Youth Turkey Hunt

May 16, 2008

While I cannot really say that I absolutely endorse the youth hunting program, this is one excellent example of how it can be applied, and be used as a tool for young people to learn that there are better things in life than being a mall rat, doing drugs, or just hanging out. Please note that this area is not all that far from a ranch that at one time I was closely associated with. I can all but guarantee you that there were no Wild Turkeys there.

MEEKER LANDOWNER AND DOW TEAM UP FOR SPRING YOUTH TURKEY HUNT


The Colorado Division of Wildlife and a Meeker-area ranch recently hosted a very special youth only turkey hunt. The once-in-a-lifetime private land hunt, held in mid-April at the Seven Lakes Ranch east of Meeker, was coordinated by local DOW personnel and volunteers from the ranch.

Many young people applied but only three were selected for this year’s opportunity. Applicants for the hunt were required to write an essay about hunting traditions and why they wanted to participate. The youth that were selected to participate in the 2008 spring turkey hunt were Alex Smith, 13, from Meeker, Tristan Spainhower, 9, from Parker, and Joseph Newman, 11, from Meeker.

Seven Lakes Ranch owner, Greg Norman, and ranch staff including Judy Byrd and Tony Decker were very supportive of the DOW youth hunting program and should be commended for their generosity and efforts which made this youth hunting event possible. Seven Lakes Ranch offers prime wildlife habitat in the White River Valley for a tremendous diversity of species, including wild turkey and big game.

Youth participants were required to go through a half-day hunter orientation prior to participating in the turkey hunt. The kids learn that hunting isn’t just about shooting an animal. The youth hunters and their parents were given presentations by DOW officers on wild turkey biology, game management, hunter safety and ethics, state laws, and turkey hunting and calling techniques. Youth participants received free gifts from the DOW and National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), including turkey calls, camouflage clothing, an annual membership to NWTF, and wildlife guides and literature. After the classroom part of the orientation, the youth hunters were taken to the Meeker Sportsmans Club shooting range where they received hands-on training from DOW officers. The three young men were reminded of firearm and hunter safety principals and also instructed on marksmanship and shot placement. A live fire session reinforced the skills. DOW supplied the .20-gauge youth-model shotguns, ammunition, and necessary turkey hunting equipment for each youth that participated in the hunt.

Following the range time, the youth hunters and their mentors were taken into the field on the evening prior to the hunt where they were shown turkey scouting techniques including the use of calls to locate “gobblers” and how to identify turkey sign in the field (tracks, scat, feathers, etc.). During the pre-hunt scouting trip several turkeys were seen and heard gobbling along the White River. Even though the weather was snowy and cold the next morning, seeing the turkeys really got everyone excited for the upcoming hunt.

During each day of the two-day turkey hunt, each youth hunter and their parent/mentor were assigned to a DOW officer who guided them on Seven Lakes Ranch property. After the morning hunt, the DOW provided a lunch at Bel-Aire State Wildlife Area where everyone warmed up and prepared for the afternoon hunt. All of the youth hunters had the opportunity to see and hear wild turkeys and many other types of wildlife while hunting on this beautiful parcel of property along the upper White River valley. Two out of three of the youth who participated were fortunate enough to harvest a wild turkey on the hunt. After turkeys were harvested in the field, DOW officers showed the youth hunters how to properly field dress and care for the turkey. DOW provided the successful hunters with a plaque for mounting of the tail fans so that the youth could proudly display their turkey for years to come.

“It is safe to say that all of the kids learned a great deal, had the opportunity to see lots of wildlife, and all left knowing that a successful hunt isn’t always about whether you fill your tag or not”, said Bailey Franklin, DOW District Wildlife Manager who coordinated the event. “All three of the young hunters experienced ‘gobbler fever’ when they heard and saw the male turkeys strutting towards them during the hunt. It was great to see them get so much enjoyment from this opportunity. It’s an experience and memory that will last a lifetime.”

One goal of the DOW youth hunting program is to encourage youth and their families to spend more time outdoors hunting and fishing. Statistics from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Census Bureau indicate that the number of hunters and fishermen is on the decline national. It’s estimated that sportsmen numbers have declined an average of four percent each year since 1990. Surveys indicate factors such as a lack of places to hunt and fish, lack of mentors and busy lifestyles all contribute to the slow decline of our outdoor heritage. A strong partnership between dedicated landowners, DOW and conservation organizations like the NWTF has provided a new vision for future hunters and fishermen of Colorado.  DOW is committed to continuing to work with landowners to provide access to private lands, train Huntmasters and volunteers to teach, coach and mentor young hunters.

Unit 23, near Meeker, is a limited unit for wild turkey hunting and the population has grown considerably, especially on private lands along the White River. Wild turkeys were first transplanted to the area by DOW in 1994. A total of 24 wild turkeys were initially transplanted near Miller Creek that spring. Today, DOW estimates that there are approximately 150-200 wild turkeys in the upper White River Valley. While the introduction was successful, the turkey habitat is marginal due to the severe winter weather.

Through the DOW Hunter Outreach Program, youth under the age of 18 may submit applications for the opportunity to participate in a spring youth turkey hunt on private lands in Colorado. To increase youth participation, the Colorado Wildlife Commission in 2007 authorized the DOW to issue up to 50 turkey licenses statewide each year for youth turkey hunts. Using those and other licenses, the DOW Hunter Outreach Programs seeks to expose young hunters to quality experiences that will give them basic skills and a positive experience in the field. The goal of bringing the tradition of hunting to young people cannot be accomplished without the help of private landowners, such as Seven Lakes Ranch.

If you are a landowner interested in sponsoring a youth hunting event (big game, small game, turkey, etc.) or if you are a volunteer who would like to help with a youth hunting event, please contact your local DOW office or the Hunter Outreach Program at (303) 291-7248.

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The Colorado Division of Wildlife is the state agency responsible for managing wildlife and its habitat, as well as providing wildlife related recreation. The Division is funded through hunting and fishing license fees, federal grants and Colorado Lottery proceeds through Great Outdoors Colorado.

Editor’s note: photos from the hunt are available to media outlets through the DOW Image Database by clicking on the links below:

Youth Hunter Tristan Spainhower from Parker, Colorado packs out his turkey.

Youth Hunter Tristan Spainhower from Parker, Colorado poses with his father Brian and Tristan’s turkey.

Youth Hunter Alex Smith of Meeker, Colorado poses with his turkey and his hunting guides DOW District Wildlife Manager Jon Wangnild and terrestrial biologist Darby Finley.

Youth Hunter Alex Smith of Meeker, Colorado poses with his turkey

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

Front Range fishing forecast: Bottom line? Big fun

April 17, 2008

Anyone that reads this blog on a regular basis knows how I love the outdoors. This is an excellent piece by Ed Dentry, with link, about what to expect in the very near future. Also, from the field, Wild Turkey season is in full swing and this looks to be a banner year, including the over the counter license areas. The book that is written about in the Rocky Mountain News article is a must have. Local fishing has improved so much over the past twenty or so years that even those that live here should grab this reference, on sale from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Big snowpacks combined with the high price of fuel should focus anglers’ attention on fishing within earshot of home this year, at least for a while.

Thanks to a wealth of well-groomed fishing spots up and down the Front Range, wetting a short line could be a good thing.

It’s likely that a tasty bass pond, also stocked with catchable trout, waits not far from your lawn mower. Just follow the daily flights of Canada geese.

Larger reservoirs in nearby state parks add to the bounty. Might as well stick close and let the deluge roll from the mountains while we apply for a second mortgage to fuel more exotic outings later in summer.

Runoff will stretch long this year (hopefully, or there will be floods). Trout streams could be high and murky until August. Trails leading to many high lakes will be blocked by stubborn snow whales.

Meanwhile, those backyard fishing holes beckon. More than 200 reservoirs, ponds and some streams are detailed in Fishing Close to Home, a $7 publication of the state Division of Wildlife’s Colorado Outdoors magazine.

With maps, directions, fish species and access information, the booklet is unequaled as a guide to metro and mountain waters along the northern Front Range.

“I use it all the time,” said biologist Paul Winkle, who manages Denver-area fisheries for the DOW.

Other DOW biologists who spilled the beans for this preview were Kurt Davies (North Park and northern Front Range), Ben Swigle (northern foothills and lower South Platte reservoirs) and Jeff Spohn (Upper South Platte River).

No one is better qualified to forecast what the fishing fates might deliver hereabouts than the professional team of Winkle, Swigle, Davies and Spohn (their hot spots are noted below by an asterisk).

Source: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/apr/16/front-range-fishing-forecast-bottom-line-big-fun/

Turkey Hunting in Colorado

March 7, 2008

FRONT RANGE TURKEY HUNTING SEMINARS


Turkey hunting is one of the fastest growing hunting sports in North America.  Colorado’s 2008 Spring Turkey Season opens April 12 and the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is hosting two free seminars to help novice hunters learn more about hunting wild turkeys.
 
The first seminar is Tue., March 18 in Denver from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hunter Education building at 6060 Broadway.  The second is Sat., April 5 in Colorado Springs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DOW office at 4255 Sinton Rd.  
 
The seminars will provide hunters with an overview of turkey hunting in Colorado.  DOW biologists will discuss turkey habitat, locating birds, safety tips, current laws and regulations as well as hunting tips and techniques for the novice hunter.
 
“These classes are geared for the novice and first time turkey hunter,” said Steve Lucero, an education coordinator with the DOW.  “It’s a great opportunity for an introduction to turkey hunting.” 
 
The seminars are free, but class sizes are limited, so participants must pre-register.  For more information or to register, call (303)291-7545 for the Denver class, or (719)227-5200 for the Colorado Springs class.
 
Consistently, successful wild turkey hunting requires a high degree of skill. Wild turkeys are extremely wary and possess keen color vision and very good hearing ability. Turkeys can see in a radius of 270 degrees.
 
Scouting for sign left by turkeys is a great way of increasing the odds of a successful hunt. Signs to look for include roost trees, droppings, feathers scratch and dusting areas and listening for gobbling.
 
Colorado is home to two subspecies of wild turkey: the native Merriam’s and the Rio Grande, which was introduced to the state in 1980.  Merriam’s are primarily found in open meadows and in ponderosa, oak brush and pinion juniper stands in mountainous zones west of Interstate 25.  The Rio Grande species inhabit cottonwood and creek bottoms adjacent to agricultural lands in the eastern portion of the state. 
 
The population of wild turkeys in North America reached a low point in the 1930’s, but conservation programs by state wildlife agencies and private partners have restored the birds throughout most of their historical range. 
 
Today, wild turkey populations are booming in Colorado thanks to transplant efforts, protection through game laws, and habitat improvement projects – funded in large part by sportsmen’s dollars.  “There are more turkeys in the state than ever before,” said Lucero. 
 
The price of a turkey-hunting license is $21 for Colorado residents, $11 for Colorado Youth, and $101 for non-residents.

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


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