Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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Before heading to your favorite water, be sure to check new fishing regulations

By Dave Buchanan

Anglers eager for the spring thaw can spend the next month reading the newest fishing regulations on their favorite waters. Most of the new regulations were adopted last November by the Colorado Wildlife Commission and went into effect Jan. 1. However, many of the new changes won’t be noticed by anglers until this spring, when the first inkling might come immediately after a wildlife officer asks to see their license. Thirty bodies of water in every region in the state have ...


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DOW launches ad campaign to attract more elk hunters

By Dave Buchanan

Facing a glut of elk and a declining number of hunters, the Colorado Division of Wildlife is challenging hunters nationwide to tackle elk hunting this fall. The division is in the midst of a $300,000 advertising campaign aimed at hunters age 35–60 across the nation in an effort to boost elk license sales and support the rural communities that depend on hunting. The campaign, titled “Elevate Your Game,” will run through April 5, the application deadline for limited-draw ...


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Big-game license deadline approaching

By Dave Buchanan

Winter is growing thin and so is your time to apply for a limited big-game hunting license. The deadline to enter the computer drawing for a limited license is April 5. Leftover licenses are set to go on sale Aug. 9. If you still haven’t decided, the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s 2011 Big Game Hunting brochure is available on the web and at license agents statewide. No pressure, but you have less than a month. WHAT: Application deadline for the limited big-game hunting ...


Fisheries weigh options for, against increased diversions

By Dave Buchanan

Fisheries managers offer two views of plans to increase diversions from the Colorado River. The bright side is the money set aside in current mitigation plans, which include restoring the river and populations of greenback cutthroat trout. The dark side is the “no action” alternative, which means the water leaves the Western Slope with no mitigation promised. Denver Water’s Moffat Firming Project (in Colorado water law, “firming” refers to firming up or ...


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Biologists seek to mitigate water suppliers’ increased thirst for Colorado River

By Dave Buchanan

High in the headwaters of the Colorado River, streams that once flowed unimpeded to the west now flow east through a series of tunnels owned by Denver Water to water parched lawns and families in Denver. Similarly, since the 1970s the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District has diverted water from the Colorado River near Windy Gap Reservoir and pumped it through the Continental Divide to thirsty cities along the northern Front Range. Those transmountain diversions, plus others in ...


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BLM rule changes could have big effect on camping hunters

By Dave Buchanan

A little-noticed change in camping regulations on public lands in Colorado has some hunters worried. The new ruling, which was reported by this paper last summer after appearing in the June 10, 2010, Federal Register, continues a 14-day camping limit but now requires campers at the end of those 14 days to move at least 30 air miles from the initial campsite. It also requires campers to stay away from the first site for at least 30 days before returning. The old rule, which dated from ...


Missouri men nabbed for poaching

By Dave Buchanan

Three Missouri men have been fined $2,851.50 each and assessed 30 points each against their hunting privileges after being ticketed for illegally killing bull elk last fall while possessing only cow elk licenses. According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the three were reported by other hunters on Oct. 28, shortly after the three men had left Colorado.  ...


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Shrinking deer herds reason for concern as hunters become enamored with elk

By Dave Buchanan

Two decades ago, Colorado and other western states with a long tradition of quality mule deer hunting realized their deer herds were in trouble. Harvest was declining and worse, interest from hunters was dropping. Many hunters, aware that deer numbers were declining but unsure of what to do to help the herds, simply stopped pursuing mule deer as a voluntary method of sustaining the herds. Get around a group of hunters today and you still can hear arguments debating whether it was ...


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Ice fishing sounds absurd, but breeds fun, adventure

By Guest Columnist

BY JOEL L. EVANS Usually when I go fishing, I walk in the water. That is at least until I fall in and go swimming. But that’s summer. This time of year, I’m able to walk on the water. Frozen lakes demand a change from a warm weather, horizontal method to a cold weather, vertical method. You guessed it – ice fishing! Although many fishermen, even non-fishermen, are familiar with this absurdity, few seem to participate. That is, until you get to a popular destination on ...


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Western Slope ice finally freezing for eager anglers

By Dave Buchanan

CRAWFORD — Ice fishing. Ice. Fishing. It’s not quite what it sounds like, and yet, not too different either. All you need is the desire to catch fish — perhaps your biggest fish of the year — while spending a few hours outdoors when the temperature hovers somewhere south of double digits. “The winter!” wrote poet Robert Service. “The brightness that blinds, you, the white land locked tight as a drum ...” Ice fishing is the great ...


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Dress warm, drift deep pools and fish for trout all winter

By Guest Columnist

By JOEL EVANS There came a time — years ago — I considered moving to some place where it was warmer in the winter. Just once that occurred to me. But I quickly reasoned that doing so would severely impair my opportunity to meet and greet trout. So I never brought it up to myself again. Wrongly so, some miscreants would argue that not catching trout in the winter is OK. Or they might mistakenly harbor the opinion that catching other kinds of fish in the winter is a ...


Wildlife commission seeks draft bear regulation

By Dave Buchanan

The Colorado Wildlife Commission today unanimously moved to have the Division of Wildlife develop a regulation prohibiting the hunting of bears in their dens. Division regulations manager Brett Ackerman told the commission the agency has received numerous comments on the issue, which is based on a November incident when a Craig hunter killed a bear in its den. The division will develop a draft regulation to be presented in March to the wildlife commission as the second of its three-step ...


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Fly-tying series heats up for winter

By Dave Buchanan

You might want to sit down. It’s fly-tying season and you can’t do it standing up. Well, you can, but Dave Whitlock, Lefty Kreh and Helen Shaw are the few tiers I’ve known who could put thread to hook without a vise. Or a vice, if you’re really hooked on fly tying. The winter series of free fly-tying demonstrations heat up each Saturday through February at Western Anglers Fly Shop. This week, the talented Gail Doudy shares some of his secrets for fishing the ...


Rifle cancels ice-fishing tournament

By Dave Buchanan

A lack of sufficient ice has caused officials to cancel the 13th annual Rifle Gap Ice Fishing Tournament scheduled for Jan. 15-16 at Rifle Gap Reservoir. “We talked to the folks at (Rifle Gap State Park) and they said there wasn’t enough ice to safely put 600-plus fishermen out there,” said Nicole Simonds, event coordinator for the Rifle Chamber of Commerce. Anglers who already have paid their $35 registration fee can get a full refund or use the entry fee to purchase 10 ...


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Warmer-than-usual temperatures putting damper on winter season

By Dave Buchanan

Recent weather patterns, including warm temperatures and even a bit of rain, have taken a big bite out of the ice fishing season. “Last year at Christmas I took my nephew out fishing on Corn Lake and we had 8 inches of ice,” said Steve Fisher at Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods. “You sure won’t find that now.” You might not find 8 inches anywhere in western Colorado below 10,000 feet. Last week’s Pineapple Express raised temperatures and dumped ...


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Hunting for antlers? Make sure you do it the correct, legal way

By Dave Buchanan

The stress of the holiday season is nothing compared to the winter stress on big game animals. Not only are deer, elk and pronghorn still weary from the rigors of breeding season, the animals face an ever-shrinking food supply just when they need the calories the most. Any added stress, including sometimes inadvertent and sometimes purposeful harassment by shed antler hunters, only makes survival that much more difficult. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s the exercise, ...


Colorado’s big-game season so-so as weather fails to cooperate

By Dave Buchanan

If you’re busy still making that list and checking it twice, you might want to consider leaving something extra for Mother Nature. Maybe next year she’ll smile more kindly on big-game hunters. Colorado’s 2010 big-game season started slow, nearly got snowed out and then ended slow. Hunters in the early archery and muzzleloader seasons and the first combined season were greeted with near-summer temperatures and mostly blue skies. Which is fine if you’re looking ...


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Hunt for 703-pound bear attracts amazement, criticism

By Dave Buchanan

When hunter Richard Kendall crawled into the darkness of a bear den in late November, he was prepared to face the largest black bear he had ever tracked. What he wasn’t prepared for was the 703-pound bear waiting for him or the firestorm that erupted after he left that den. Kendall, 55, of Craig, said he’s had years of experience hunting black bears in Colorado and after seeing the 8-inch-wide tracks left by this bear, knew he had a potential record on his ...


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Keys’ strong guidance helps Sapa complete Grand Slam of bighorn sheep hunting

By Dave Buchanan

Joe Keys has many good memories after more than two decades as a big-game guide and outfitter, but this November certainly stands out. Keys, who owns Keys Guide and Outfitting in Mesa, helped Montana hunter Dick Sapa harvest the first desert bighorn ram allowed a nonresident hunter from sheep unit S56 on Black Ridge. That game unit is bordered by Colorado Highway 141 and the Dolores River on the east and south, the Utah border on the west and the Colorado River on the north. “We ...


Aurora youth lands state-record smallmouth bass

By Dave Buchanan

Aurora Reservoir must be the place to go if you’re seeking a state-record fish. Just more than a month after 20-year-old Jessica Walton landed a state-record 43-pound channel catfish at the reservoir east of Denver, another Aurora youth has eclipsed the state’s mark for smallmouth bass. On Nov. 12, Conner Peitsmeyer, 11, caught a 20.75-inch smallmouth weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Conner was fishing with his dad Michael when the big fish bit. “We had caught quite a few ...


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