Colorado Parks and Wildlife is advising hunters heading to Game Management Unit (GMU) 23 in the White River National Forest that the southeast portion of the unit will be temporarily closed by the U.S. Forest Service during the upcoming big-game seasons due to concerns about an active wildfire in the area, CPW reported in a news release. Although recent rainfall has dampened the fire, USFS officials are concerned about the number of weakened trees and snags caused by the heat and flames, as well as concerns that the fire could re-ignite as temperatures rise and rainfall moves out of the area. The closure extends through Dec. 31, but could end sooner if conditions warrant, according to the release. USFS officials say the Middle Elk fire was caused by an unattended campfire. Since it was discovered, it has grown to 257 acres, burning in a mix of spruce and fir trees, open areas and high elevation aspen groves west of Forest Road 245, also known as the Buford - New Castle Road. The road is not currently included in the closure and remains open to hunters, the release stated. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding hunters and other outdoor recreationists to observe closure notices and to follow campfire rules and regulations as they head to their camps.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will receive an update on research involving black bears and cutthroat trout when the Commission meets in Durango Thursday and Friday, the agency reported in a news release. The meeting will be held at The Strater Hotel, 699 Main Ave. in Durango. The Commission agenda begins at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, when agenda includes general updates on agency strategic priorities and a financial update, according to the release. Thursday briefings from Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff will include an overview of ungulate population management plans. Commissioners will also receive a briefing on black bear research taking place in the Durango area, the release stated.
Last week Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., hailed U.S. Senate action that will bring S.3525 to the floor for final passage during the lame duck session following the November general election. S. 3525, also known as the Sportsmen’s Act, includes Udall’s Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support provision. If passed during lame duck the bill would provide states with greater flexibility to use funds collected from sporting equipment and ammunition sales to create more accessible gun ranges for safe target practice and recreational shooting.
A Meeker outfitter was convicted last month in federal court in Denver of six felony violations of the Lacey Act. Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh, 72, of Meeker, faces a stipulated maximum sentence of five years in prison for each felony conviction and up to a $250,000 fine, according to a Colorado Department of Justice news release. According to the indictment, between 2002 and 2007 Rodebaugh, operator of D&S Guide and Outfitter, allegedly guided numerous out of state clients on multi-day big game hunts in the White River National Forest where deer and elk were allegedly shot from tree stands. The stands were located in close proximity to where Rodebaugh annually placed each spring and summer hundreds of pounds of salt as bait.
(AP) — The National Park Service acted properly when it ruled out using wolves to control the elk population in Rocky Mountain National Park, government lawyers argued Thursday before a federal appeals court. The government also defended the use of trained volunteers to help Park Service employees shoot and kill excess elk, saying it didn't violate a hunting ban in national parks. In a hearing before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a law student representing the wildlife advocacy group WildEarth Guardians argued the Park Service did not give enough consideration to the wolf option and rejected it without giving the public a chance to comment. The group also said letting volunteers shoot elk instead of limiting the shooting to Park Service employees was tantamount to hunting.
Program aimed at reducing trespassing, limiting access to critical mine operating zones
The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office recently entered into a contract with Colowyo Mine to conduct patrols during the 2012 to 2014 hunting seasons. Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said deputies have been patrolling the boundaries of Colowyo Mine for about the past five seasons in an effort to minimize the number of trespassing violations by hunters. Colowyo Mine is private property.
(AP) — Fifteen years ago, the U.S. Forest Service boldly announced a goal of eradicating hazardously overgrown forests nationwide by 2015. That goal is long gone. The threat to Colorado homes in 2013, it now appears, will likely be as high as ever. Forest restoration and bush clearance have lagged even as new housing is built in threatened areas. And, for a variety of reasons, little progress was made this year in reducing the fire danger. Instead, 2012 saw a drastic change in Forest Service policy. Officials say the shift was done for just one year because of the unusual emergency but that, nonetheless, the overall picture remains one of stretched resources, dry woodlands and endangered homes.
Want a parking place in downtown Durango overnight? You might have to pay for that. The city council is considering a proposal to sell a "hunting license" to drivers who want to look for an overnight parking space at a city lot.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Miller Creek Ranch in Meeker are offering big-game hunters an opportunity to apply for a limited number of private property, high-quality elk and mule deer hunts beginning Nov. 3, the agency announced in a news release. Interested hunters must submit a written application by 5 p.m. Oct. 10, 2012, to: Colorado Parks and Wildlife - Meeker Office Attn: Bailey Franklin/Special Miller Creek Ranch Hunts PO Box 1181, Meeker CO 81641
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved mountain lion harvest quotas for the upcoming lion season in the state last week at the commission's September meeting in Glenwood Springs, the agency announced in a news release. During Friday's morning session, the Parks and Wildlife Commission also denied a citizen petition requesting that crossbows be approved for use during archery seasons. Commissioners also approved changes to falconry regulations to make it easier for non-resident falconers to participate in falconry events in Colorado, the release stated. The meeting was held at The Hotel Denver in Glenwood Springs.
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.