Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are advising hunters in Game Management Units 28 and 18 that beginning Tuesday, hunting access to these areas may be restricted by the U.S. Forest Service during the upcoming seasons as they continue a project to cut hazard trees along the area's roads and trails, the agency reported in a news release. The closures coincide with several big-game hunting seasons, including moose, mule deer, elk, bear and mountain goat during archery, muzzleloading and the first through third rifle seasons, according to the release.
Cooler mornings and shorter days are reminders for people that fall will soon arrive. Colorado Parks and Wildlife advises everyone that black bears notice the subtle change in seasons too, and will soon begin their annual food binge as they prepare for hibernation, the agency reported in a news release. "Obey local ordinances, secure your trash, remove any accessible food source and never intentionally feed a bear," said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde in the release. "If more people follow just these few simple recommendations, it can reduce the possibility of conflicts." Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides extensive information through their website, volunteer teams and publications. Bear information can be quickly found online at http://wildlife.state.co.us/bears, according to the web site.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will establish harvest limits for the 2012-2013 mountain lion season when the Commission meets Thursday and Friday in Glenwood Springs, the agency announced in a news release. The meeting will be held at the Hotel Denver, 402 Seventh Street in Glenwood Springs. The commission agenda begins at 1 p.m. Thursday, with an agenda including general updates on agency strategic priorities and a financial update. The commission will reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning, when regulation items will be considered, according to the release. The Parks and Wildlife Commission will consider changes to raptor importation guidelines for competitive national falconry events held in the state. Commissioners also will receive information about the annual update to fishing regulations as well as draft regulations regarding prohibited species and fish stocking procedures, the release stated.
EUREKA (AP) — Crumbling foundations are all that remain of this once-vibrant San Juan County mining town, which lived and died on the production and milling of ore. Today, the former town eight miles north of Silverton is best known as a popular camp site, but this year, for the first time, the privilege comes with a cost. County officials said the conversion of Eureka to a paid 50-space campground and day-use area was necessary. Pete McKay, a county commissioner, said it eliminates willy-nilly campsites and fire pits, and, above all, controls an "extreme" problem of sewage and human waste.
(AP) — Conservation groups are welcoming a federal report spelling out how sage grouse should be managed in 11 Western states to avoid new federal protections. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's draft report issued Thursday advises states and federal land management agencies to act immediately to "stop the bleeding of continuing habitat and population losses." The report is certain to command attention in Western states where listing sage grouse as endangered could result in federal restrictions on energy development and other activities. Sage grouse are found in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. They also inhabit Canada.
With hunting draws completed, leftover hunting licenses are now on sale, but not many are available around Craig. In many game management units around Colorado, leftover licenses were still available in plentiful supply for bears, deer and elk as of Aug. 22, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife reports. Hunting tags for elk in GMUs around Craig, however, have been scarcer. Local licensing agents have been selling tags, but not at the rate they are accustomed to, some said. Leftover tags went on sale Aug. 14 and several area licensers made sales the first couple days, but have been mostly dormant since.
Long Draw Road, located on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District 53 miles up the Poudre Canyon, is closed starting this week to allow for hazardous tree removal along the road, the U.S. Forest Service announced in a news release. The trees marked for removal have been hit by the mountain pine beetle and are a safety hazard if not taken down. Because of that, the Forest Service has announced that no foot or vehicle traffic will be allowed on the road starting today unless specifically authorized by the U.S. Forest Service, according to the release. “We understand this is a popular area, especially for hunters, but it’s crucial for us to cut and remove these trees for the public’s safety,” Canyon Lakes District Ranger Kevin Atchley said in the release. “I know this is an inconvenience, but this effort should make it safer in future years for the public to enjoy the Long Draw area.”
Beginning this week, the Parks Ranger District portion of the Buffalo Pass Road (Forest Road 60) will be temporarily closed to the public for removal of beetle-killed hazard trees, the U.S. Forest Service announced in a news release. The route is a popular one between North Park and the Yampa Valley that provides year-round recreation access. Initially, while logging operations occur along isolated sections east of the junction with the Hidden Lakes Road (Forest Road 20), the closure will be intermittent with one-hour delays for the first gates at this junction as well as near the summit at the junction with Forest Road 310, according to the release.
(AP) — The Bureau of Land Management on Friday released its final environmental analysis to allow uranium mining in a remote area of southwest Wyoming, leaving the project one more regulatory step before mining can begin. If all goes well before the BLM issues its final approval, Littleton, Colo.-based UR-Energy could start building the Lost Creek mine by early October, according to company and BLM officials. The BLM will take more public comment on the project until Sept. 17. Its final approval could come about two weeks after that. "For us, that is the last permit that we need to begin construction, and we really have all of our operational permits in place as well," Wayne W. Heili, president and CEO of UR-Energy, said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be offering a one-day, accelerated Bowhunter Education class from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Horsethief Canyon State Wildlife Area near Fruita, the agency announced in a news release. Participants must have already earned a hunter education card to be eligible to participate in the class, which is designed for bowhunters of all ages and ability. For novice archers, equipment will be provided, according to the release. In many states, passing a Bowhunter Education class is required before purchasing an archery license. In Colorado, the class is considered an advanced hunter education course but is not required, the release stated.
The 2012 edition of Colorado Hunter will be released Thursday. A joint effort between the Craig Daily Press, Steamboat Today and Grand Junction Sentinel, the magazine serves as a guide to hunting in Western Colorado, complete with season and license information, hunting safety tips, maps, and hunting stories and photos from local outdoor sports enthusiasts.
Drought conditions and low water flows throughout the state have Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminding anglers to monitor water temperature when they are out fishing, the agency reported in a news release. Several water-specific recommendations have already been requested this summer, however aquatic biologists recognize that fish can be stressed due to temperatures in many different coldwater fishing locations, according to the release.
AP) — The outdoor recreation industry is flexing its economic muscle — some $640 billion spent annually by Americans on gear, travel and services — to push for wilderness protection in Utah, threatening to pull a lucrative biannual trade show if the state doesn't change course on environmental issues. The industry showed its resolve last week by giving Utah's governor an ultimatum: give up on a threat to take over federal land in the state or risk losing the outdoor gear show that draws thousands of visitors and injects more than $40 million yearly into the state economy. Empty threat or not, the outdoor industry and related services represent a sizeable chunk of Utah's income — roughly $4 billion a year, or 5 percent of the state's gross product. And it's not the first time the 4,000-member-strong Outdoor Industry Association has threatened to take its business elsewhere.
(AP) — The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved disaster loan assistance for farmers, ranchers, businesses, homeowners and nonprofit organizations affected by some Colorado wildfires, flooding and mudslides this summer. The low-interest loans are available to people affected by fires and the subsequent flooding and mudslides in El Paso and Larimer counties. Neighboring Boulder, Crowley, Douglas, Elbert, Fremont, Grand, Jackson, Lincoln, Pueblo, Teller and Weld counties in Colorado, and Albany and Laramie counties in Wyoming also are eligible for help.
OLD FORGE, N.Y. (AP) — With their normal summer diet of greens and berries shriveled by summer heat or drought in many spots nationwide, hungry bears are rummaging through garbage, ripping through screens and crawling into cars in search of sustenance. In the Adirondack Mountain village of Old Forge in northern New York state, a black bear clawed through the wall of a candy store on Main Street last week; another one locked itself in a minivan and shredded the interior in a frantic struggle to escape, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "We've been here 17 years and never had a problem with bears," said Roslyn Starer, who runs the Candy Cottage in Old Forge with her son, Larry. "But it's been so dry the normal foods in the woods just aren't growing. So they're coming into town." Starer came to the shop one morning to find a bear had ripped a big hole in the wall. "If it had gone much further it would have gotten into the shop, and the damage would have been devastating," she said.
The Bureau of Land Management's Northwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council will meet August 23 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds, 700 Sulphur Road, Meeker, Colorado. The meeting is open to the public, with public comment periods scheduled for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
(AP) — This probably comes as no surprise: Federal scientists say July was the hottest month ever recorded in the Lower 48 states, breaking a record set during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. And even less a surprise: The U.S. this year keeps setting records for weather extremes, based on the precise calculations that include drought, heavy rainfall, unusual temperatures, and storms. The average temperature last month was 77.6 degrees. That breaks the old record from July 1936 by 0.2 degree, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Records go back to 1895. "It's a pretty significant increase over the last record," said climate scientist Jake Crouch of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. In the past, skeptics of global warming have pointed to the Dust Bowl to argue that recent heat isn't unprecedented. But Crouch said this shows that the current year "is out and beyond those Dust Bowl years. We're rivaling and beating them consistently from month to month."
LONDON (AP) — USA Shooting is based in Colorado Springs, Colo., about an hour's drive from the site of the movie theater massacre. Yes, that's very much on the mind of the American shooting team at the London Games. Shooting sports get barely any mainstream attention in the United States except during the Olympics. Even then, it's nominal at best. So far in London, American shooters have won two gold medals. But since the team arrived questions have kept coming about Aurora, Colo., and the rampage on July 20 that left 12 dead and 58 others wounded. Along with that is the renewed debate about gun control in the country.
Any woman interested in learning the basics of fly-fishing, proper firearms handling and safe shooting skills are invited to attend, which runs until mid-afternoon. No experience is necessary and all equipment will be provided.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The arrest of three teenagers in a Central Oregon poaching case underscores the difficulty biologists and wildlife officers are facing in attempts to rebuild the mule deer population. "Poaching is a much bigger problem than we thought," said Steven George, an Oregon Fish and Wildlife biologist based in Bend. "More animals are killed by illegal harvest than legal harvest." Poaching has undermined efforts to rebuild the population of mule deer at the Metolius Wildlife Management Unit, The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/MXsDUW ) reported. A viral disease a decade ago cut the population in half, and wildlife managers reduced the numbers that hunters were allowed to take legally.
(AP) — A man spotted dressed in a goat suit among a herd of wild goats in the mountains of northern Utah has been identified as a hunter preparing for a Canadian archery season. After a hiker spotted the so-called goat man on July 15 in the mountains above Ogden, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, wildlife officials said they wanted to talk to the person to be certain he was aware of the dangers as hunting season approaches. They speculated he might have been an extreme wildlife enthusiast who just wanted to get as close as possible to the goats. A few days after the spotting, state wildlife authorities received an anonymous call from an "agitated man" who simply said, "Leave goat man alone. He's done nothing wrong." This week, however, the mystery was solved.
Presidents, movie stars, Western outlaws, even an otherworldly spirit or two. One area hotel lays claim to housing them all, and after 126 years in business the Northwest Colorado establishment still brings in crowds in droves. With its blend of turn-of the-century aesthetics and modern-day creature comforts, The Meeker Hotel provides an ideal getaway for hunters and tourists from out-of-state as well as within. Founded in 1886 by pioneer Susan C. Wright and partner Charlie Dunbar, an adobe building that served as housing for soldiers in the area was passed onto Wright’s brother, R.S. Ball, after her death in 1893.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio wildlife officer has been placed on unpaid leave after state investigators found that he and two other officers in the southwestern part of the state hunted deer while on the job. A Thursday report by the state inspector general accuses field supervisor David Warner of hunting while on duty in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The watchdog's review also accuses wildlife officer Matthew Roberts of hunting while on duty during the 2010 deer gun season. Wildlife officers are tasked with enforcing state hunting and fishing laws.
(AP) — A sheriff has warned residents in a tourist town northwest of Colorado Springs that a strong, aggressive 6-foot lizard that eats small animals — including dogs and cats — is on the loose in the area. Teller County Sheriff Mike Ensinger said Tuesday that a 25-pound pet Nile monitor lizard has gone missing after breaking a mesh leash and crawling away. Ensinger said about 400 homes in the Woodland Park area were warned. He added that the animal, which escaped Monday and is known as Dino, has not bitten any humans — yet. "We have a 6-foot reptile out and about," Ensinger said. "If it gets hungry enough, we don't know what it will do."