Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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Commission approves offering Apprentice Hunter program

By Dave Buchanan

A proposal to allow youths 10 years and older to hunt one time without taking a hunter education course was adopted Thursday by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission. The Apprentice License would be a one-time waiver of the state’s current hunter education requirement, which says anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1949 must pass a state-approved Hunter Education course. The young hunters would be required to take an online pre-hunt survey and hunt accompanied by a mentor 18 or ...


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Staying the course

By Dave Buchanan

Taking the approach that “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on Friday agreed to take a hands-off approach to the current big-game license allocation process. “In essence, we concluded we’re in a better position to stick with the status quo in terms of how we are allocating the overall big game tags, particularly elk,” said commission chair Bill Kane of Basalt during Friday’s meeting in Glenwood ...


Meeker ranch to open for public hunters

By Dave Buchanan

A handful of big-game hunters this fall will get the rare opportunity for a free, private-land deer or elk hunt near Meeker. The hunts are arranged by Colorado Parks and Wildlife on the Miller Ranch in game management unit 23 as part of a deal establishing a perpetual conservation agreement on the 3,100-acre ranch. The agreement required allowing limited public hunting access. The 10 hunts — mostly cow elk and doe deer, with one bull elk hunt — are open to all eligible ...


091014_OUT_Superfly_measure

Knowing when to measure or release ‘such a mind game’

By Dave Buchanan

Leaning against the wooden counter that dominates the pocket-sized shop housing Almont Anglers, guide and shop owner Mark Day commented on how fishing can be baffling. Not all fishing, mind you — although some anglers are quick to dispute that — but certainly the test of the Gunnison Angling Society’s Superfly, a one-day contest in which anglers are limited to, among other restrictions, pre-selected flies, pre-selected waters and a strict time limit. “It’s ...


091014_OUT_Superfly_Joel

Catch and release

By Dave Buchanan

ALMONT — Despite the background chuckle of a nearly full East River, an anguished cry could be heard from an angler knee-deep in the September flows. “Oh, I hope he gets off,” pleaded Joel Evans of Montrose, as he watched his fly line jump and dance from the efforts of the 8-inch rainbow stuck securely to Evans’ fly. Evans gingerly released a bit more line and suddenly the fish, one second hooked and the next second gone, became a forgettable memory. “He ...


090714_OUT_Sun_Lake_Powell

Threadfin shad having banner year at Lake Powell

By Dave Buchanan

When longtime Lake Powell fisheries biologist Wayne Gustaveson looks back on the the 2014 fishing year, he might be thankful for a silvery little fish that sustains the lake’s entire food pyramid. Threadfin shad are having a banner year after several years of decline, Gustaveson said in the latest of his weekly Lake Powell fishing reports, and anglers around the lake are reaping the benefits. “It has been a rough couple of years with the declining lake level, loss of habitat ...


Outfitters on commission to decide license rules

By Dave Buchanan

In what appears to be the inmates running the jail, a pair of Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioners, both of whom are registered big-game hunting outfitters, are set to play major roles in deciding how the state’s wildlife agency doles out big-game licenses. More exactly, the decision will determine how many of the most-coveted of those hunting licenses will be taken from the allotment set aside for resident hunters and be given to nonresident hunters, who make up the great ...


090714_OUT_Sun_mtn_lion_licenses

Boosting mountain lion quotas on agenda

By Dave Buchanan

An increase in mountain lion quotas for this year’s November through March season and the addition of a new fall mountain lion season starting in 2015 are among the items to be considered when the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission meets this week in Glenwood Springs. The meeting is set for 8 a.m. Thursday and 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Ramada Glenwood Springs. According to a memo to the commission from Parks and Wildlife director Bob Broscheid, the agency is developing a new ...


Colorado’s license cap is ‘unfair’

By Dave Buchanan

An attorney representing the Colorado Outfitters Association has questioned the state’s method of distributing big-game hunting licenses to nonresident hunters,  saying it could be unconstitutional. “We have real concerns with the current (license) allocations,” said Kent Holsinger, speaking to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission during the August commission meeting in Fort Collins. “We believe the current system is unreasonable and unfair and that it ...


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Get in the (small) game

By Dave Buchanan

This past weekend marked more than the unofficial end of summer, it also was the beginning to the state’s hunting season. Archery season began Friday, which may have surprised some mushroom hunters who spent the day in the woods and unexpectedly ran into someone dressed in camouflage and carrying a bow. Archery hunters aren’t required to wear fluorescent orange unless hunting during a rifle season. Archery runs through Sept. 28, with muzzeloader (blackpowder) season opening ...


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Young Utah hunters can learn the ropes

By Dave Buchanan

In a play-before-you-pay effort to attract more people to hunting, this year Utah is offering a program where any licensed hunter 21 years or older can take a person 12 years or older hunting. The licensed hunter does not need to be a trained hunter-education teacher nor does the first-timer need to have taken a Hunter Education course. The only requirements for Utah’s new Trial Hunting program is the “student” possess the proper licenses and permits and complete an ...


083114_OUT_Sun_Lily_2

Lily Lake pretty ... and quiet

By Dave Buchanan

Looking up from the rainbow trout he was unhooking, the angler nodded toward the dark trees on the other side of Cottonwood Lake No. 4. “You want to see a real pretty lake?” he asked, sharing another of his life-time supply of insider hints about fishing Grand Mesa. “You ever been to Lily Lake? It’s not that far and it’s one the prettiest lakes I’ve ever seen.” When asked if there were any fish in Lily Lake to make the hike worthwhile, he ...


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Free seminar will teach fly fishing to novices

By Dave Buchanan

Expand your world of fishing by learning to fly fish, courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Grand Valley Anglers chapter of Trout Unlimited. Novice anglers are invited to a free, three-hour seminar about fly fishing at 6 p.m. on Sept. 17 at the Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education Building, 711 Independent Ave. All equipment will be provided. Topics will include insect biology, casting techniques and gear, such as rods, reels and flies. Participants will have the opportunity to ...


082714_OUT_GM_Wieckert

The last hook

By Dave Buchanan

Iron-gray clouds and water the same color, the latter made even more obscure by a quick breeze from the southwest, greeted angler Dan Wieckert when he arrived Monday morning at Kitson Reservoir on Grand Mesa. Wieckert, however, had driven his pickup camper nearly 2,000 miles from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, so a little wind wasn’t about to stop him from fishing. “It’s my first time in Colorado, I usually head to Montana,” said Wieckert, an IT specialist back home. ...


082714_OUT_Ark_gold_medal_water

Arkansas River receives Gold Medal designation

By Dave Buchanan

Colorado’s newest entry in the list of Gold Medal waters is a stretch of the upper Arkansas River downstream from Leadville. Part of the river already carried Gold Medal designation and this newest reach brings the total on the Arkansas to 102 miles, stretching from the confluence with the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River, near Leadville, downstream to Parkdale at the U.S. Highway 50 bridge above the Royal Gorge. No fishing regulations were changed when the river was designated Gold ...


082414_OUT_Bomber_lure

Shad populations at Lake Powell nearing decade peak

By Dave Buchanan

The fishing enigma we know as Lake Powell is offering another puzzle for anglers to solve. The fishing food chain at Lake Powell relies on shad, which in the past few years have been (compared to other years) in relatively short supply. Low water, lack of spawning areas — the reasons for the shad shortfall were several. Although this meant the top-line predators, particularly stripe bass, suffered a bit in size and weight, it made fishing a bit easier because anglers found less ...


Feasting on leftovers – 20,000 tags still available

By Dave Buchanan

When you’re hungry, leftovers may be the best option you have. Particularly when it comes to big-game hunting licenses. Hunters with an appetite for a 2014 hunting license still can take advantage of the estimated 20,000 leftover big-game and turkey licenses available, officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife said. These licenses include pronghorn, elk, bear, deer and turkey licenses as well as over-the-counter elk tags. With more than 23 million acres of public lands, ...


081014_OUT_Sun_waterfowl_hunt

Waterfowl framework ready to go

By Dave Buchanan

Waterfowl hunters will enjoy a 107-day season this fall after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed liberal hunting season lengths and bag limits for the upcoming 2014-15 late waterfowl seasons. The various states will select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits. According to the Fish & Wildlife Service’s 2014 Waterfowl Population Status ...


Get ready for elk season with class

By Dave Buchanan

Cooler mornings and changing weather signal hunting seasons are approaching quickly. Eager hunters are preparing themselves and their equipment in anticipation of one of the most exciting times of the year for sportsmen and sportswomen. As part of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s continuing efforts to help hunters have a safe and successful season, the agency and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will offer a one-evening only “Elk Hunting 101” class from 6-9 p.m. on Aug. ...


Tons of hunting licenses still available despite record day

By Dave Buchanan

Colorado Parks and Wildlife survived a computer-system crash during the early hours of its big-game license sales Tuesday, but it had to halt sales for three hours. According to a Parks and Wildlife spokesman, an unprecedented volume of hunters purchasing various tags caused stress on the system and forced agency officials to halt sales statewide. As sales resumed at noon Tuesday, a record number of licenses were sold by 2 p.m. and continued to grow. The licenses being sold included ...


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