Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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Electronics, new gear lead the change in the ice-fishing climate

By Dave Buchanan

Among the innovations in ice fishing is what you see on, and under, the ice. Rarely, although it’s not impossible, do you see someone standing far from the hole, haggling with the same long rod, bulky reel and stiff nylon line used for warm-weather trout fishing. Today’s ice anglers, dressed for success in high-tech insulated layers or snug inside a wind-stopping portable shelter, seem to prefer short, fast-action rods with small reels and lighter-weight line. Lures may be ...


A lovely day at Rifle Gap

By Dave Buchanan

RIFLE — On a squinty-bright day on an ice- and snow-covered Rifle Gap Reservoir, it seemed there wasn’t much reason not to be ice fishing. The Broncos were off, Friday’s storm had blown over, and there were the hopes the reservoir might give up a few secrets one week before the big ice-fishing tournament. As it turned out, two out of three were the best most anglers could do. “It’s pretty slow,” said Hayden Flesch of Grand Junction as he readied ...


The search is on for shed antlers

By Dave Buchanan

One fast-growing outdoors pastime has nothing to do with a ball or score. It’s searching out and collecting dropped antlers, also called “shed antlers.” Discarded by elk and deer in the winter and early spring (moose drop their antlers starting in November) and then regrown later the same spring, elk and deer antlers are among the curious things both hunters and non-hunters acquire. So popular is shed-antler collecting that in some parts of the U.S. kennels train dogs ...

Regulations surround collecting shed antlers

By Dave Buchanan

Deer and elk lose weight in the winter, but it’s not all from the waistline. Wild ungulates also drop a few pounds of antlers each winter, with deer losing their antlers beginning in late January and elk about one month later. Biologist say deer, elk and other big game may lose 30 percent or more of their body weight during the winter, an amount that increases if the animal has to burn extra calories avoiding human disturbance. The “why” of the human disturbance ...

New Cabela’s ColorPhase camo a game changer

By Dave Buchanan

The hottest topic in outdoors hunting wear isn’t hot at all, although it changes color when it does get hot. Cabela’s, renowned among hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts for its extensive line of outdoors clothes, recently released the company’s new line of “ColorPhase” camouflage, designed to change colors as temperatures change. According to Cabela’s, the camouflage pattern changes from greens to browns and grays according to the ...


Ice fishing heats up

By Dave Buchanan

For many year-round anglers, the best part of winter finally arrives when there is enough ice on their favorite lake to drill a hole and drop a line through it. Anglers are by nature optimistic, perhaps none more so than the stoic, heavily garbed crowd you see venturing out on ice-capped lakes and reservoirs. For some ice-cap enthusiasts it’s only recreation. For others, it’s more of a passion. And for the most passionate, the heart of the season begins Jan. 18-19 with the ...


New book gives insights into how to cook ducks, geese

By Staff

Late-season waterfowl hunters have a conundrum: They still have three weeks left in the current waterfowl season and, depending on the weather, these final few weeks may prove the hardest and at the same time the best hunting of the season. The Pacific Flyway duck and goose season ends Jan. 26, which means a few more days of getting up early and huddling in a blind, all the time remembering that this late in the season the freezer may be getting a bit full. Forget the dried-out turkey of ...


Ice is nice

By Dave Buchanan

There always are the curious, the ones who put forth such questions as, “Isn’t it cold out there?” and “Are the fish really biting?” and “How do you know how thick the ice is?” Good questions, of course, and in order the answers are: sometimes; usually; and you measure it. Ice fishing isn’t rocket science, although some ice anglers have enough equipment to supply the International Space Station. It can be minimalistic, with tiny baits, ...

Kokanee salmon of concern at Granby

By Dave Buchanan

It’s become a familiar refrain for Colorado Parks and Wildlife — a topline predator fish eats itself out of its prey, forcing fisheries managers to find ways to control the predator. It happened at Blue Mesa, where lake trout plundered the kokanee salmon and eventually became over-populated, leading to some large-scale management and regulation changes at the southwest Colorado lake. Now, a similar situation has arisen at Lake Granby, once home to some of the largest lake ...


Winter fishing has its perks

By Dave Buchanan

To this reporter’s surprise, a recent Sunday noon found the Bureau of Land Management parking lot at the Gunnison Forks, where anglers can cross the North Fork to reach the main stem of the Gunnison River, empty of any signs of anglers. A few tire tracks showed where someone had been there earlier in the day, and a short walk to the bank of the North Fork solved the mystery. A lip of shelf ice, of indeterminate thickness and strength, stretched six feet into the stream, making ...



By Dave Buchanan

Dawn Gwin paused, thoughtfully taking census of the neatly arranged fly boxes arrayed before her. “I have different boxes with flies for different fishing situations,” said Gwin, reaching across the array of boxes while sitting at the well-appointed fly-tying table at Western Anglers Fly Shop. “I’ve done 12 boxes so far, and have more to do.” The exacting task — at last count up to 18 boxes — is a special duty for Gwin, a Navy veteran and ...


‘Net-gunning’ useful in preventing harm during research

By Dave Buchanan

The capture of wild animals is one of the most exciting and most difficult part of any research project. Among the preferred methods for capturing wild big- game is “net-gunning,” which involves catching the animal in a large net launched from a helicopter. A skilled and well-rehearsed helicopter crew can capture, immobilize and release unharmed four-legged targets ranging from coyotes to bison. Once an animal is captured and blindfolded, researchers are able to record a ...



By Dave Buchanan

Beginning early this month and continuing through late March, Colorado Parks and Wildlife employees are flying across expanses of wildlife habitat in search of big game animals. It’s not a sightseeing tour, but rather part of the agency’s annual survey to judge ages and sex ratios in herds of deer, elk and pronghorn. Hunters and outdoor recreationists are cautioned that low-flying helicopters or airplanes may be encountered at any time. In addition to that inventory of ...


Despite boycott attempt, hunting numbers steady

By Dave Buchanan

The outdoors side of the news for the last few days has been led by the results of the recent Colorado big-game hunting season, news made more “newsy” by the apparent failure of the highly touted nonresident boycott of Colorado. Apparently the boycott, called to protest the state’s tightening its gun laws, failed to have the punishing affect its backers desired. Instead, Colorado Parks and Wildlife says its preliminary numbers indicate a surge in elk, deer and black ...


Numbers game

By Dave Buchanan

Call it, for the lack of a better name, the “Four Fs” of why hunters didn’t hunt in 2013. “Firearms, fires, floods and feds,” is how Randy Hampton, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, put it when asked what kept hunters home this fall. Not that a lot of hunters stayed home, according to some preliminary numbers from Parks and Wildlife. Big-game hunting license sales were up for deer, elk and black bear, with only pronghorn showing a drop. Those ...


Rain, snow kept hunters working to find animals

By Dave Buchanan

You might forgive early season hunters this fall who forgot Colorado has been in an extended drought. Rain and snow, and significant amounts of both, greeted the archery hunters in August and never really relented through the end of the final rifle season on Nov. 17. “I had archery tags for deer and elk in a unit around Lake City but it rained most of the time,” recalled local bowhunter Denny Behrens, field representative for the Colorado Mule Deer Association. “I think ...

Processors good barometer of hunting season

By Dave Buchanan

If you want a real idea of how the hunting season went, it doesn’t hurt to talk to a meat processor. Packing plants that deal in wild game can offer a business-eye view of hunter success in the fall season, and long-time readers know two of my favorites are Old World Meat & Marketplace in Grand Junction and the Purkey Packing Plant in Meeker. “Just about everybody I see is nonresident,” said Jason Purkey, at 26 the fourth generation of Purkeys to work in the plant ...


Parks and Wildlife honors Northwest Region education coordinator

By Dave Buchanan

Kathleen Tadvick of Grand Junction, the Northwest Region Education Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, recently was honored with the agency’s John H. White Memorial Membership Award. Tadvick was praised for her efforts and contributions to Parks and Wildlife’s Hunter Outreach program, including leading nearly 2,000 novice hunters on what for many is their first experience in the field. The award’s namesake, John H. White, was one of the first members of the ...


Hunting for all

By Dave Buchanan

Looking through some of the photos that have appeared during the recent hunting seasons at The Daily Sentinel was a reminder that hunting is no longer a male sport, if it ever was one. It’s not unusual to see hunting photos submitted for the “You Saw It” section, and it’s less unusual to see a woman as the successful hunter. Although men still account for the majority of the 13.7 million U.S. hunters, the number of women actively hunting is on the rise. Recent ...

Proposal to ban drones for hunting a hot topic

By Staff

Among the items discussed at last week’s meeting of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission was a proposal to ban the use of drone aircraft “as an aid in scouting, hunting and taking of wildlife.” After a brief discussion, the largely unimpressed commission voiced support to prohibit the use of unmanned aircraft in hunting and will take up the matter again at a future meeting. Although the matter was well down on the commission’s agenda, its presence was enough ...

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