Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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Some out-of-state hunters shy away from hefty license fees for big game

By Dave Buchanan

As results of the 2009 big-game limited-license application process are tallied, one thing seems clear: Nonresident hunters are showing less interest. Officials from the Colorado Division of Wildlife told the Colorado Wildlife Commission on Thursday that out-of-state applications for all limited-draw big-game licenses dropped from as little as 2 percent to as much as 50 percent this spring compared to 2008. Conversely, resident hunters expressed slightly more interest this year in ...


Fewer licenses will be available to hunt deer, elk

By Dave Buchanan

Fewer elk and deer licenses will be available this fall after action Thursday by the Colorado Wildlife Commission. The nine-member panel approved offering nearly 8,000 fewer deer licenses and more than 10,000 fewer elk tags to hunters seeking a limited-draw license. The largest reduction in deer licenses will be in the Northwest region, particularly in game-management units around Meeker, Craig and Steamboat Springs. In that area, license numbers were slashed by more than 6,600. All doe ...


OUTside Connection May 06, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

There’s really no mystery about how the state’s fish and game laws are created, but only a relative handful of hunters and anglers ever check out the process. One reason, of course, is the Colorado Wildlife Commission holds its meetings on weekdays, when most of us are working. It’s not impossible to participate, however, since the commission members are approachable, meeting sites rotate around the state and there’s now an Internet audio link where you can listen ...


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OUT: East Portal May 06, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

EAST PORTAL, Gunnison River — Draped over Jason Booth’s hands, with plenty to spare on either end, was an example of why so many anglers risk the hair-raising ride down the rock-pocked ribbon of pavement into the East Portal section of the Gunnison River. Like a ghost returning from a time before whirling disease took its toll, a magnificent carmine-striped rainbow struggled into Booth’s net, was held briefly for the camera and then eased into the river. Booth, co-owner ...


OUT: Sunday Column May 03, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

The Colorado Wildlife Commission slips into Grand Junction on Thursday facing a decision on how much it wants to tread on private hunting rights. The one-day meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn, 755 Horizon Drive. The May commission meeting traditionally is when license numbers are set for the fall big-game hunting season and the public gets a first look at some tentative dates for the waterfowl season. The latter won’t be finalized until later this year after the U.S. ...


OUT: Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report

By Dave Buchanan

April 28, 2009 Springtime in Colorado represents both the best and worst of times for anglers. While the spring thaw continues, chasing the ice from ever more lakes and reservoirs, it also triggers the runoff in free-flowing rivers across the state. Blue Mesa Reservoir and the “Sagebrush Lakes” of North Park are the latest additions to the list of major flat waters that are free of ice. Big-fish specialists have been taking some impressive mackinaw from Blue Mesa, along with ...


OUTside Connection Column April 29, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Here’s something good to grouse about. Sage grouse, that is, and the Mountain (also called the Columbian) Sharp-tailed grouse, which offer some of the most curious and fascinating entertainment during their spring breeding rituals. Which, by the way, are occurring now on a lek (a grouse display ground) near you. Listen and watch to them booming, strutting, and flashing their best footwork to impress the ladies.  No, it’s not the local night club, although it’s ...


OUT: Sunday Column April 26, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Of the many conservation groups I’ve been associated with or written about in my 25-plus years of covering outdoor causes and issues, none stand out as much as Trout Unlimited. Agreed, Trout Unlimited doesn’t own the concession stand for worthwhile conservation groups. There are a lot of hard-working, goal-oriented organizations available for just about any outdoors-related interest. From waterfowl (Ducks Unlimited) to big game (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Colorado Mule ...


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OUT:  O:utside connecction April 22, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

It’s hard to understand how any youngster in western Colorado could get what author Richard Louv described as Nature Deficit Disorder. Louv, in his 2005 best-seller “Last Child in the Woods,” described how children are spending less time outdoors, their lives preoccupied with the lure of video screens. But there are children in Grand Junction who don’t know how to bait a hook or tie a good climbing knot or the fundamentals of gun-handling safety. The remedy? A ...


OUT: Sunday Column April 19, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Everyone knew children were losing touch with nature, but no one put a name to the problem until author Richard Louv published his best-selling “Last Child in the Woods.” Louv calls the problem “nature-deficit disorder,” and as he claims on his Web site (richardlouv.com), students who take part in environmental learning do significantly better in school. Why? Louv says it’s because “the best learning takes place when all the senses are engaged, and ...


OUT: Mystery of the scourge of whirling disease may be solved by a small aquatic wo

By Dave Buchanan

Blame it on a worm. The mystery of why Colorado was so hard-hit by the scourge of whirling disease may be solved by a small aquatic worm known as Tubifex tubifex. Whirling disease is caused by a microscopic parasite that attacks the soft cartilage in young salmon and trout, including rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout. The water-borne parasite (Myxobolus cerebralis) may not directly kill trout, but highly infested fish can become deformed or exhibit the erratic tail-chasing behavior ...


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OUT: Cutthroats threatened by brook trout competition and whirling disease

By Dave Buchanan

A project to restore Colorado River cutthroat trout to Trappers Lake may have more unanswered questions than solutions. Trappers Lake, located at 9,600 feet elevation near the head of the White River about 30 miles east of Meeker and just inside the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, is a popular fishing destination, offering both cutthroat trout and sizeable brook trout. Once home to pure Colorado River cutthroat, today most of the trout carry a mix of Colorado River and Yellowstone cutthroat ...


OUT: Weekly Fishing Report April 15, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

April 14, 2009 Spring has come to Colorado and with it a time when most anglers are eagerly awaiting the prime fishing times on their favorite waters. For some, the time already has arrived. For others, it lies just ahead. For all, the early season fishing prospects are just about as predictable as the weather. Many parts of the state received good, early season snowfall, followed by a relatively mild winter. Spring seemed to arrive unusually early, complete with an early ice-out at ...


OUT: Sunday Column April 12, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Each year hunting trips seem to take a bigger bite out of the budget, and a new report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reveals how big that chunk is. The report says waterfowl hunters in 2006 spent $900 million on necessities and hunting-related toys ranging from dogs, decoys and guns to the trucks needed to haul them. The information was collected in 2006 as part of the agency’s national survey of fishing, hunting, and wildlife-associated recreation, which is done every ...


OUT: Sunday Column April 05, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

That deadline for 2009 limited-license big-game hunting applications is, like, Tuesday. Your taxes can wait another week, but something as important as having a place to hunt next fall can’t. If you’ve procrastinated this late, the easiest and fastest way is to log on to the Division of Wildlife Web site at wildlife.state.co.us, click on Hunting and follow the links to the application page. It takes about 10 minutes or less, if you already know the season and the game ...


OUT: Exxon Valdez spill effects felt 20 years after

By Special to the Sentinel

When the Exxon Valdez smashed in to Bligh Reef in the Gulf of Alaska on March 24, 1989 and spilled nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, many species of wildlife were decimated. While many are showing signs of returning to normal populations levels, several bird species have not yet recovered, and the status of five others remains unknown. “Twenty years after the Exxon Valdez spill, oil still poses a grave threat to marine birds,” said Dr. Michael ...


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OUT: Kids learn fly-fishing at expo

By Dave Buchanan

You’re never too old or too young to learn to fly fish. Well, maybe you can be too young. “I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who’s not yet walking,” offered Taila Oulton of Gunnison, one of the featured fly tiers and speakers for the 11th annual Western Colorado Fly Fishing Expo set for Friday and Saturday at the Doubletree Hotel. At 13, Taila knows something about learning young. She tied her first fly at the age of “3 or 4,” she said, under ...


OUT: Sunday Column March 22, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Bikes and bears, not boards, will dominate most ski resorts by mid-April. Powderhorn, which still has good snow cover on most of its runs, closes March 29 with many other areas loading their last chair for 2008-2009 on April 5. Thursday at Powderhorn, we found only a few skiers and boarders enjoying what might have been the some of the best skiing of the year. It wasn’t deep powder but instead near-perfect spring conditions that had people exploring on and off trail. As we were ...


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OUT: Flooding from snowpack catches juvenile trout emerging from nest

By Dave Buchanan

The immediate effect of watching flood waters last spring roar from the bypass tubes at Blue Mesa Reservoir was amazement at the power of so much water. That water’s ultimate power, however, might be felt in years to come if anglers notice what biologists already have seen: there are fewer fish in stretches of the Gunnison River. Perhaps not enough to register on the sensitivities of anglers but sufficient to hint at what might happen should the Gunnison Basin see a series of ...


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OUT: Let your Irish eyes smile on fish in Green, Gunnison rivers

By Dave Buchanan

It’s St. Patrick’s Day but instead of wearing the green, why not try fishing it? We’re not referring specifically to Utah’s lovely Green River where it courses through the sun-burnt cliffs of Flaming Gorge, although that is never a bad bet for an early spring getaway. “It’s really fishing great this time of year,” said guide Curtis Brown from Trout Creek Flies in Dutch John, Utah. “The flows are right at 900 (cubic feet per second), which ...


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