Parks and Wildlife seeks artwork for 2013 waterfowl stamp competition
Last week Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced it is accepting original artwork entries for its 2013 Colorado Waterfowl Stamp art contest. This year’s species of focus is the Greater Scaup, a cousin of the Lesser Scaup, which also are more commonly known as bluebills.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will meet in Westminster Thursday and Friday to finalize big-game hunting regulations for 2013. The meeting, held at the Doubletree Hotel, 8773 Yates Dr., will begin at 8:30 a.m. The commission will review more than 40 proposed changes to the big-game regulations. Among the biggest proposed changes is a proposal to further reduce the areas allowed for youth late-season elk hunting, as a result of elk populations being reduced to desired long-term levels.
The cross-country trail is groomed and the pond has been cleared in anticipation for the annual Ski and Skate at Yampa River State Park.
Two fawns saved from Elkhead Reservoir over holiday
It’s not uncommon to hear stories about multiple agencies collaborating together on a case to serve the public good. But too often those tales are told in reference to crimes, fires or some kind of natural disaster. Last week rangers from two local agencies came together to pull off a daring rescue to save a pair of mule deer fawns trapped in the ice at Elkhead Reservoir.
Late season youth hunts are underway, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to remind young elk hunters, their parents or mentors about eligibility information. New youth hunt rules include limits according to color-coded Game Management Units as defined on page four of the 2012 Colorado Big Game brochure. However on rule remains unchanged, according to a Parks and Wildlife news release. Youth hunters with an unfilled bull tag do not qualify for a late season hunt. A list of late season hunting opportunities also can be found online.
Congressional Republicans float idea to avoid fiscal cliff
In an effort to avoid a fiscal cliff Congressional Republicans earlier this month floated an idea to raise revenues by selling public lands. Reps. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Stevan Pearce, R-N.M., first presented the idea in November through a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio. Because the western United States is home to the country’s largest expanses of public lands Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., rejected the idea, saying a sell off of public lands would be imprudent and detrimental to western economies.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists are employing the use of aircraft in two separate operations to help monitor the deer population in eastern Colorado. Agency biologists started utilizing low-flying helicopters this past Saturday, Dec. 15, to assist in surveying deer herds in southeastern Colorado, the agency announced in a news release. "We will primarily be flying in the Arkansas River Valley in Prowers, Bent, Otero and Crowley Counties," terrestrial biologist Jonathan Reitz said in the release. "But we will also be flying low over portions of Kiowa and Baca Counties as well." Depending on weather, the operation in southeastern Colorado is expected to continue until the end of the year.
A free clinic for duck hunters will be offered at 6 p.m. on Dec. 18 in the Hunter Education classroom at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife office at 4255 Sinton Rd. in Colorado Springs, the agency reported a news release. The clinic is designed to teach waterfowl hunters about hunting regulations, duck identification and hunting tactics with the hopes of increasing duck hunting success, according to the release.
Family of hunting accident victim seeking closure
Accidents happen. But they can also have devastating affects on people’s lives. In the case of visiting hunter Tyler Rast, 38, of Bountiful, Utah, a bullet that missed its intended target and struck him in the arm last month has not only resulted in unique physical challenges, but also has weighed heavily on the emotions of his family. “Accidents can change lives and in this case it has,” said Kent Rast, Tyler’s uncle. “It’s really affected the family.” On Thursday Kent and Dan Rast, Tyler’s father, both also of Bountiful, returned to the scene of what Moffat County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating as an accidental shooting.
During the holiday shopping rush there is one gift that often gets overlooked by Christmas shoppers, Colorado’s outdoors. But Colorado Parks and Wildlife is making it easier to find that perfect gift for the outdoorsman in the family through its online e-store and Shop Outdoors. Many of the Parks and Wildlife gift ideas start at just $5, according to an agency news release.
Updated plans for Cheyenne Mountain State Park tops the agenda for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission’s meeting Thursday and Friday in Colorado Springs, the agency announced in a news release. A full agenda for the meeting — set to start at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Doubletree Hotel, 1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd — is available online at http://wildlife.state.co.us/SiteCollectionDocuments/DOW/Commission/2012/Dec/Agenda.pdf. The Commissioners on Thursday morning will tour Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which opened in 2006 in cooperation with Great Outdoors Colorado and the City of Colorado Springs, according to the release.
A Moffat County High School student got a once-in-a-lifetime hunting opportunity and made the most of it. Molly Nations, 17, drew a bull moose tag in just her fifth year putting in for tag. The 1-in-14,000 chance fell in Nations’ favor, though, and she got the most difficult tag to get a hold of in Colorado. “For most people it takes about 20 to 25 years,” Nations said of getting a bull tag. “So I got really lucky. Everyone that I talked to said they’ve put in more years than I’ve been alive.”
Late season GMU 22 hunters may be affected by capture, collar operations
Hunters planning a late season hunt in northwest Colorado are advised that state officials will be in the area to conduct an ongoing mule deer population study. Beginning in December Colorado Parks and Wildlife will begin helicopter capture and collaring operations in the Piceance Basin — specifically in Game Management Unit 22, according to a Parks and Wildlife news release states. Hunters heading into the field next month may be affected by the study.
Once nearly extinct throughout the state, there are more wild turkeys in Colorado now than ever before, according to a news release issued by biologists at Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "The increase of wild turkeys in Colorado is due to their adaptability, high reproductive capability and careful management of hunting," said Brian Dreher, a senior terrestrial biologist for CPW, in the release. Dreher said state wildlife managers have been developing strategies to increase the wild turkey population since the early 1980s. Since that time the agency has successfully transplanted wild turkeys into most of the available habitat in the state, according to the release. Turkeys were plentiful in the North America when the Pilgrims landed, but as colonists spread west turkey populations plummeted to approximately 30,000 by 1900. In the release Dreher said wild turkeys faced a double whammy in the early years of our country.
Cow, 2 calves killed in Granby subdivision
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are investigating the shooting deaths of three moose killed earlier this week near Granby. The incident took place between 8 and 10 a.m. Wednesday in an empty lot at Shadow Mountain Estates, a subdivision located on Grand County Road 6421 between Granby and Grand Lake, according to a Parks and Wildlife news release. A witness reported to wildlife officials that he heard, while hunting near the subdivision, several shots fired in rapid succession. Upon further investigation, the witness reported he found a cow moose and a calf dead, with a second calf dying.
Authorities from Colorado Parks and Wildlife are investigating a case of vandalism that resulted in several hundred dollars worth of damage at the Cheyenne County Shooting Range, the agency reported in a news release. The Cheyenne County shooting range is a public facility northeast of Cheyenne Wells. Illegal activities began several weeks ago when CPW officer Todd Marriott noticed tire tracks on the hills surrounding the range. Marriott talked to people at the range regarding safety concerns over ATVs that were driving on and off the range while it was in use, according to the release. Marriott installed a gate to prevent vehicles from driving in unsafe areas and a sign was put up to let people know the area was closed to ATVs, the release stated.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife will host a waterfowl hunting seminar on Dec. 1 in Montrose, the agency reported in a news release. The class will run from noon to 4:30 p.m. Colorado Parks and Wildlife experts and the Montrose chapter of Ducks Unlimited will give instruction on all aspects of hunting waterfowl. Participants will learn about hunting tactics, use of dogs, calling, bird identification, setting decoys and more, according to the release.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission at its November meeting in Yuma last week gave final approval to fishing regulations for the 2013 fishing season, the agency reported in a news release. Additionally, commissioners started reviewing big-game hunting regulations and received informational updates on wildlife research projects, financial issues, an agency marketing plan and the Colorado Archery in the Schools Program. Commissioners received a briefing on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Strategic Plan, which is being rewritten to fulfill requirements of legislation that merged the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks last year, according to the release. The fishing regulations for the 2013 fishing season, which begins April 1 of next year, were widely unchanged. Anglers will see new regulations extending walleye and saugeye regulations upstream of Lake Pueblo State Park, standardizing regulations below Kenny Reservoir near Rangely and allowing the take of carp at Switzer Lake in Delta County, the release stated. Commissioners also extended a full fishing closure on Bear Creek in El Paso County. The closure is designed to protect the unique, native population of greenback cutthroat trout found in the creek, according to the release.
Medical pilot made multiple low-altitude passes over heard near Grand Junction
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has cited an Arizona helicopter pilot for harassing elk near Grand Junction. Owen Park, 35, of Page, Ariz., a pilot for Classic Lifeguard Air Medical in Page, was assessed 10 penalty points against his hunting and fishing privileges, and a $200 fine for flying his ship Sept. 23 very low over an elk herd in a canyon near the headwaters of Granite Creek, southwest of Grand Junction. Park has paid his fine, according to a Parks and Wildlife news release. There was not a patient onboard at the time of the incident.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife, currently proceeding with phase two of a fishery and wetland rehabilitation project at Gypsum Ponds State Wildlife Area, recently asked for public patience in a news release as the work will temporarily limit public access to the popular fishing spot. Agency officials are asking visitors to use caution and avoid construction areas until the project has been completed, according to the news release. Phase one of the project concluded earlier this year and increased the height of the berm around the main pond, enhancing fish habitat by making the water deeper. The elevated berm will also help prevent water encroachment from the Eagle River, the release stated. Phase two will continue through November of this year and includes making the east pond deeper to improve fish habitat. In addition, a small pond at the south end will be filled to create a wetland environment with a goal of increasing the diversity of forage for waterfowl, according to the release.
Commission to approve final statewide fishing regulations
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is expected to approve final annual changes to statewide fishing regulations when it meets later this week in Yuma. The meeting, scheduled to take place beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Yuma Community Center, 421 E. Second Ave., also will provide commissioners with the opportunity to consider and approve Consumer Price Index adjustments of non-resident license fees for the 2013-2014 fishing season.
Big game hunting is a tradition for a lot of Craig families, but it also comes with certain inherent risks. And with the Elk and Mule Deer rifle seasons well under way Lt. KC Hume of the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office said now is not the time to forget the cardinal rule of hunting — be sure of your target and beyond.
Due to warm weather dominating most of the fall, hunting has not been as productive as Craig and the surrounding area is accustomed to. According to Mike Porras, the Public Information Officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife northwest region, two seasons of hunting have been less successful than normal. Elk hunting in Parks and Wildlife’s area six, which includes Moffat, Rio Blanco and parts of Garfield and Routt Counties, has been characterized as below-average by a small margin.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are seeking help from the public in solving a pronghorn poaching case that occurred near Lamar, the agency announced in a news release. Wildlife officers found two pronghorn antelope Oct. 13 dumped near North 13th Street and Canal Road. Portions of the animals were missing but the meat was still present, according to the release. Anyone who saw any suspicious activity or has information should call Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Kevin Mahan at 719-940-0233 or call the toll-free poaching tip line at 1-877-265-6648. Verizon cell phone users can dial #OGT, or tips can be e-mailed to email@example.com, the release stated.