Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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Wildlife feeding program not forgotten despite mild winter in Gunnison

By Dave Buchanan

The memories are still fresh of the massive emergency feeding program the Division of Wildlife undertook two years ago this month as winter clamped an iron fist around the Gunnison high country. Record snows and accompanying cold forced deer and elk into the Gunnison Basin, where an immense, four-month effort by the DOW and scores of volunteers prevented what surely could have been a terrible die-off of wildlife. At one time, the DOW was feeding about 9,500 deer, an estimated half of all ...

Hunter bags lion that may have mauled dog

By Paul Shockley

A Lake City hunter on Friday shot a young mountain lion believed to have mauled a family dog last week on the outskirts of the small town. The licensed hunter, Jim Higgins, said he took aim Friday afternoon after stumbling across the lion as it fed on an elk’s carcass following a kill. The lion was bagged roughly four miles north of the home of Schuyler Denham, whose dog, Jane Doe, was attacked the evening of Jan. 11, near the Denham’s front porch. Higgins said the lion, ...

Grand Junction man gets jail time, fine for wildlife violations

By Dave Buchanan

A Grand Junction man with a history of wildlife violations will spend a year in jail for his latest infractions. Jonathan H. Gilbert, 29, was sentenced on Jan. 8 in Garfield County District Court to one year in the Department of Corrections and fined $952 after being caught last January illegally shooting at a bobcat decoy near Baxter Pass. Gilbert pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon by a previous offender and to unlawfully hunting with artificial light, according to court records ...

South banks, good gear make winter river fly fishing a warming proposition

By Dave Buchanan

What to do when it’s January and the cabin fever is getting bad? Grab your fishing rod, some warm clothes and a Thermos of soup, and head off to your favorite river. Even in mid-winter you’ll find open water on the Gunnison, Colorado, Fryingpan, Uncompahgre and Taylor rivers, among others. While sometimes it can be seriously too cold to go out, we’re blessed because there are many sun-splashed winter days when air temperatures climb above freezing. Staying out of the ...

Hunting area disclosure rule implemented for property buyers

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Complaints from residents about gunshots along local rivers and in other traditional hunting areas have prompted the Mesa County Commission to take steps to advise property owners what to expect in their new surroundings. Commissioners recently adopted a resolution requiring notification whenever a development application is approved in an area where hunting occurs. The notice will inform future home or business owners that they’re occupying an area where people traditionally have ...


Plentiful snow geese nuisance for some, good hunting for others

By Dave Buchanan

“These damn geese, they pretty hard to fool.” Spoken in the cadenced patois of Cajun Louisiana, the ghost words hang like smoke on a frosty morning in late December. Tommy Redbone, camouflaged head-to-toe in what he called his “Cajun tuxedo,” was putting down a couple thousand white rag decoys across a recently harvested rice field. “I got to put all these out, otherwise the birds don’t pay no attention,” he explained, crossing and crisscrossing ...


OUT: Ice fishing, Christmas tree hunting in full swing on Grand Mesa

By Dave Buchanan

MESA LAKES — Steve Stiers’ walrus-sized mustache had barely defrosted Saturday when a nosy visitor cornered the owner of Mesa Lakes Lodge to query about early season ice fishing on Grand Mesa. Stiers, a large-framed rambling sort who easily fills a doorway or one of the comfortable seats in the redecorated lodge’s dining room, didn’t hesitate with his answer. “Well, if you’d have been here about five minutes ago, you’d have seen us out on Beaver, ...

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Controlling fertility: Wildlife commission considers allowing DOW to manage problems

By Dave Buchanan

Taking care of business with a needle, not a gun, will be on the agenda this week for the Colorado Wildlife Commission. When the commission sits down to its December workshop Thursday in Pueblo, among the items set for adoption is a formal policy on using fertility control on wildlife. The policy allows the Colorado Division of Wildlife the “limited use of fertility control to manage problem or nuisance wildlife under very specific conditions.” Controlling wildlife ...

120209 OUT streamers pan

With warm weather, fishing is still looking up

By Dave Buchanan

It isn’t often you might plan a fishing safari for the first week of December, but so far this isn’t a normal winter. As skiers and boarders join resort owners anxiously eyeing clear skies, a few anglers are taking advantage of mild temperatures and the late-fall hunger of post-spawn brown trout. “We fished the Uncompahgre River below the dam Sunday and by 11 o’clock we were taking off our hats and gloves,” recounted Phil Trimm, shop manager at Western ...

Funding for land conservation makes for good outdoor recreation and good economic sense

By Staff

Many of us will be afield this fall spending time in our favorite hunting and fishing spots. We will be enjoying the tradition of these field sports so important to our lives. But as you head out to the fields, rivers and streams we want to take a moment of your time to let you know about an important tool for conservation of those areas we find near and dear to our hearts. The United States Congress has a very full plate this fall. Important topics will be debated and may become law. ...

DOW might expand efforts to collect salmon eggs

By Dave Buchanan

A forecast earlier this summer by the Colorado Division of Wildlife of a possible shortage of kokanee salmon eggs is becoming a reality. With most of the egg-take operations around the state winding down, biologist are reporting the state has collected about 75 percent of the 12 million or so eggs needed to meet the various demands for the popular game fish. So serious is the shortfall that the DOW is considering expanding its egg-taking operation to three reservoirs — Cheesman, ...

Opening of pheasant season a mixed bag for hunters

By Dave Buchanan

Thousands of Colorado upland bird hunters taking to the field Saturday for the opener of the 2009/2010 pheasant season may find the abundant moisture of spring and late summer left a mixed blessing. “There’s plenty of cover out there for the birds thanks to the moisture we received this spring and bird numbers have rebounded,” said Ed Gorman, the Division of Wildlife’s small game manager. “I saw well over 300 while driving around Yuma County last week and if ...

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Elk, deer harvest tally low across Western Slope

By Dave Buchanan

If you really want to learn how well hunters are doing in their quest for elk and deer, check out the local meat processors. A quick tally Monday of the carcasses hanging in coolers across the Western Slope revealed this year’s elk harvest might be a bit down overall while deer hunters are well down from recent years. That’s reflective of the move by the Colorado Wildlife Commission to reduce elk and deer licenses across much of the Western Slope. Last summer, the commission ...

Generally accepted: Elk, mule deer population on par

By Dave Buchanan

Our next example of understanding what you read involves the recent proclamation by the Colorado Division of Wildlife saying the elk population on Grand Mesa is roughly one-third larger than estimated, and mule deer numbers are off by the same amount. Although knowing there are approximately 6,500 more elk and 10,000 fewer mule deer in the handful of game management units that comprise Grand Mesa might excite hunters and ranchers — for decidedly different reasons — ...


Hunters have mixed success in first season

By Dave Buchanan

Mid-October finds many Colorado sportsmen entranced by elk, a relationship that’s all too often a one-sided affair until Mother Nature decides to intrude. Wildlife managers might create numerous opportunities to get man and beast together but rarely does much happen without a winter storm or two putting pressure on big-game herds to leave one range (summer) and get within another range (rifle). That’s apparently the scenario in the first combined deer and elk rifle season, ...


Seasons change: Fall is here and gone are the crowds

By Staff

Gone are the torrents of spring. Fading is the memory of the sweet smell of an afternoon summer rain. Now, golden leaves of fall glide downward on the fading breeze to the waiting water, visually confusing the cast of hope I have made to the consistently rising brown trout. Seemingly, there is no insect hatch detectable by my strained but focused vision. Yet clearly I can see the spots on the side of the trout and the white inside of his opening mouth as he comes up with each take. What ...

Shotgun start: 14-year-old Montrose student has big success on opening day

By Dave Buchanan

At the tender age of 14, Justin Mahan has enjoyed elk-hunting success that eludes most men many times his age. Or maybe he just has the right friends in high places. Either way, you can’t argue with this young hunter’s success. On the opening day of this year’s first rifle elk season, Justin went into the hills outside his home near Montrose and killed a 7x7 bull elk that measured a green score of 386, just under the Boone and Crockett Club’s record book for ...

Veteran angler reveals secrets to fall fishing in the Roaring Fork Valley

By Dave Buchanan

October offers more choices than brilliant leaves, brisk mornings and big-game hunting. The change of seasons affects fish and fishermen, making the former more aggressive (particularly the fall-spawning brown and brook trout), which in turn makes the latter more aggressive, particularly when chasing the large trout stocking up on winter calories. The Roaring Fork Valley, which for our purposes includes the Roaring Fork, Fryingpan, Crystal and Colorado rivers, offers an angler several ...

Rifle hunters lucky to spot elk on public land

By Dave Buchanan

This week’s lowering skies and the layering of high-country snow that often accompanies them come at an auspicious time for hunters. The first of four rifle seasons opened Saturday, and hunters leaving the lowlands Friday should have been prepared for sloppy roads and unseasonable temperatures. They also might want to be on the look out for elk, because in some places only early season hunters have the certitude of seeing elk. Studies in the Bears Ears and White River areas of ...

Senators take aim at improving public shooting areas

By Dave Buchanan

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall (D-Boulder) and Idaho Sen. Jim Risch (R-Boise) are co-sponsoring a bill that aims to improve and create more public shooting ranges for gun owners and sportsmen. Titled “The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act,” the legislation would allow states to allocate a greater proportion of the federal Pittman-Robertson funds for recreational shooting and target practice.  The Pittman-Robertson Act is a sportsman-driven fund began in ...

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