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2010

COMPLETE HUNTER’S GUIDE A supplement to the Cortez Journal

ATVs or horses Horse regulations

Ethical hunting Hunters bag gifts

Colorado GMU map

Sunrise & sunset table

Taxidermists offer looks

Local big game recipes

Safe handling of game meat

High elevation adjustment

Hardy elk provide good hunt

Deer hunters can enjoy season


2010 Hunting guide

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Forecast: Deer hunters can enjoy season By KimBerly Benedict Journal Staff Writer Hunting mule deer in Southwest Colorado is as much a part of the area’s culture as the snow that blankets the region in the winter. Each year, thousands of hunters descend on Game Management Units 70, 71, 711, 72 and 73, the Dolores-Dry Creek region, with the goal of stocking their freezers with fresh venison. The 2010 season will be no exception, though lingering drought conditions, harsh winter weather and lower fawn production might result in a more challenging hunt. “This year should still be really good deer hunting” said Andy Holland, Southwest Colorado big game coordinator for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “It may not be quite as good as it has been the last few years, but it will still be good.” Division of wildlife officials have observed declining buck-to-doe ratios over the past year, leading to a lower fawn birth rate. In response, nearly 20 percent fewer buck tags were granted this year, lowering the overall number of hunters who will be in the fields come October. Last year, roughly 5,000 people hunted the area during archery, muzzle loader and rifle seasons. Harvest included 2,167 bucks, 620 does and 13 fawns. The current estimated deer population stands at 22,300 with a three-year average sex ratio of 30 buck per 100 does. A reduction in buck tags this year will most likely mean a smaller buck harvest. “What we did this year was reduce buck license numbers to some degree to maintain the ratio that we do have,” Holland said. A number of factors have led to the lower buck count in the region. Lag effects from a decade-long drought coupled with disease potential and higher deer density have led to a lower fawn survival rate than normal, but the hard winter might have had the largest impact on local herds. “We really had a severe winter,” Holland said. “Actually, we’ve had several pretty difficult winters in a row and mature bucks have lower survival rates in a

Journal/ Sam Green

Four-point bucks run through a Southwest Colorado field. Division of wildlife officials expect deer hunters to have a successful year in Southwest Colorado. difficult winter than does do. We don’t know how high the mortality rate was on mature bucks, but we do know it will be higher than normal.” The mule deer breeding season, more commonly known as the rut, occurs late in the autumn, and most mature bucks enter winter in a weakened condition, Holland said. “They have been expending huge amounts of energy in the rut,” Holland said. “They go right into the winter in a weakened condition, and that make survival more difficult in a harsh winter.” Despite division of wildlife’s cautionary steps in reducing the number of licenses sold, Holland is confident hunters will experience a successful mule deer season in Southwest Colorado. “Most hunters are not going to notice a slight decline in ratios like we do,” Holland said. “I’m not trying to lead anybody to believe it is not going to be great. I would be excited to go, and I would be getting ready for the season.”

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Forecast: Hardy elk provide good hunt By KimBerly Benedict Journal Staff Writer Whether due to the sound of the bugle echoing across the mountains, the sheer mass of the trophy racks or the majesty of the animals themselves, there is a little doubt that no hunt in Southwest Colorado is more iconic than that of the Rocky Mountain elk. From trophy hunters to those looking for meat for their families, hunters from across the United States travel to the region each fall. They scramble up rocky slopes and quietly sit in bean fields, waiting for the opportunity to make good on their tag. While an elk hunt is by no means an easy prospect — the three-year success rate ranges from 7 to 54 percent throughout Game Management Units 70, 71, 711, 72 and 73 — 2010 is shaping up to be a successful season for those heading to the hills. “The elk forecast is good this year,” said Andy Holland, Colorado Division of Wildlife big game coordinator. “It will be pretty much what people are used to seeing during elk season.” Though the region experienced a particularly harsh winter, the elk population was not negatively impacted, according to Holland. “Elk are a lot more resilient (than deer),” Holland said. “They have a much higher survival rate in the face of a difficult winter. Elk survival is generally very high in Colorado even with hard winters.” The elk population in the Dolores-Dry Creek management region is estimated at 20,500 with a three-year average sex ratio of 18 bulls per 100 cows. Last year, 10,539 elk tags were issued for the four area game management units, resulting

Courtesy photo/u.s. Fish and WildliFe serviCe, Colorado division oF WildliFe

A wAry bull elk looks around during a Colorado snow. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has forecast a favorable elk season for Southwest Colorado hunters. in the harvest of 1,378 bulls, 1,150 cows and 208 calves. The division of wildlife statistics for archery, muzzle loader and rifle seasons are based on phone surveys. Another factor lending itself to a successful 2010 hunting season is quality forage bolstered by ideal weather conditions. “With the moisture that we’ve gotten in the last couple of weeks, it has really

held a lot with forage production,” division of wildlife District Wildlife Manager Dave Harper said in early August. “That means really good body condition that also equates into better antler growth for those that are interested in antlered animals.” Hunters searching for trophy animals will notice the number of mature bulls in the area has increased slightly, Harper

said. Even distribution patterns throughout local units also will facilitate successful hunts. “With the moisture and the forage, production can be distributed widely over the hunting units,” Harper said. “The animals shouldn’t be concentrated in one area over another, and hopefully that will continue into the fall.”

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State reminds hunters to follow rules Hunting is challenging. Not only must you understand the habits of the animal you are hunting, you must also understand regulations, laws governing public and private lands and your own limitations. The Colorado Division of Wildlife offers some reminders and things to consider before you start your hunt. ■ To obtain a license, all hunters born after 1948 must present a Hunter Education Card from Colorado or another state. ■ You must know the specific rules that apply to the game management unit in which you are hunting. If you violate rules, you can be cited and fined. ■ Be sure to know where you are hunting. You can only hunt in the game management unit that your license specifies. ■ As you are hunting, be aware of buildings, homes, roads, and your overall surroundings. Make sure you know what is behind an animal before you shoot. A bullet shot from a high-powered rifle can easily carry two miles or more. ■ Make sure that someone at home knows where you are hunting, your vehicle’s license plate number and where you are staying. ■ Weather in the fall can change rapidly in Colorado. A day that starts sunny and warm can end with a snowstorm. Be sure you are prepared for all weather conditions. ■ Make sure you can recognize the symptoms of hypothermia in your hunting partners. ■ Know how to get back to your camp. ■ Cell phone service is not reliable in the mountains. Don’t expect to contact someone by phone if you are lost or if your vehicle is stuck.  ■ Make sure you drink plenty of water. Colorado’s dry air and high

altitude can quickly deplete your energy stores.  ■ Be sure to consult Division of wildlife publications to understand antler requirements for taking bull elk. ■ Do not attempt to shoot at animals that are in areas where you cannot retrieve the meat. Know your physical limits. ■ If you are using horses: Each must have a Certificate of Health Inspection within 30 days of entering Colorado; each must present evidence of a Coggins blood test within a year of coming to Colorado; to combat the spread of noxious weeds on federal lands and Division of wildlife properties, hay, straw and mulch must be clearly marked as weed free. ■ If you harvest an animal, make sure each carcass is properly tagged and that sex and antlerpoint evidence requirements are met. Tags must remain with all processed meat. ■ If you transfer an animal killed by another hunter, make sure it is properly tagged. You could be cited for illegal transport of a game animal even if someone else made the error. ■ Do not strap a harvested animal on the outside of your car. ■ Operate all-terrain vehicles and off-highway vehicles responsibly. The vehicles must be registered in Colorado or your home state. Observe road closures; do not drive them into roadless and wilderness areas; and do not drive them where roads are not present. Offroad vehicles can cause resource damage. OHVs also disturb animals and other hunters. ■ If you see hunters violating laws, report the actions to the Division of wildlife or to other law enforcement organizations. Actions by a few hunters can reflect badly on all hunters.

FOr MOre INFO n For more information on hunting in Colorado visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife website at: http://wildlife.state. co.us/Hunting

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Forest service rules affect game retrieval By KimBerly Benedict Journal Staff Writer Substantial changes to forest travel management in Southwest Colorado might have hunters working harder for their trophies. In compliance with the 2005 U.S. Forest Service travel rule, all motorized cross-country travel has been eliminated on forest service lands in Montezuma and Dolores counties. The change means that cross-country, all-terrain vehicle use will not be allowed for back country hunting access or big game retrieval. “On any forest service landscape, no game retrieval will be allowed off of a designated route,” said Steve Beverlin, district ranger and field office manager for the Dolores Public Lands Office. “The purpose is to manage the resources on the landscape and minimize the impact to wildlife.” The alternation to forest service guidelines is significant for hunters accustomed to using their ATVs, rather than their backs, to remove meat from the woods, but it should not be construed as a limit on hunting itself. “It was not so long ago we didn’t have ATVs and people hunted and they were still able to get their animals out of the woods,” said Joe Lewandowski, public information specialist for the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Southwest Region. “People still hunt with horses, and perhaps that is the easiest way to haul a critter that has been shot deep in the woods somewhere.” Southwest Colorado hunters would do

“Horses, hikers, anyone can cause damage. If you are causing resource damage by any means, just please don’t do it.” Steve Beverlin, district ranger and field office manager Dolores Public Lands Office

well to be familiar with the new regulations and acquire a map listing the designated routes, according to Beverlin. The forest service is working to publish a new route map, but it probably will not be available for 2010 hunting seasons. “The best thing is to buy a forest map — there is a 2005 version — and if (hunters) stay on all those designated routes that are on that map then likely they will be OK,” Beverlin said. Lewandowski cautions hunters to abide by the letter and the spirit of the law, noting penalties can be steep for those who choose to disregard the changes. “The forest service rules are the forest services rules. That’s what hunters must abide by,” Lewandowski said. “There are no exceptions for game removal, nor do

See ruleS on Page 6

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Hunters choose between horses, ATVs By KimBerly Benedict Journal Staff Writer Of the many interesting aspects of the sport of hunting, perhaps none is quite so intriguing as the juxtaposition of the primitive and the modern. Perhaps nowhere is that contrast more clearly seen than in the method hunters use to access their prey. For generations, hunters have relied on horses to carry them, and their trophies, across the mountains. Horses have been used to pack deep into the woods, allowing for access to places not easily reached by foot, and to remove hundreds of pounds of meat from wilderness areas. Modern technology, however, has provided another option for those seeking an alternative to walking or horseback riding, and all-terrain vehicles have become an every increasing sight during hunting season. In Southwest Colorado, the choice between ATV and horse relies primarily on the character of the hunter and the desired experience. “I enjoy riding four-wheelers,” said Page Bane, a hunter from Cortez. “So that is mainly why I do it. And it is a convenience to be able to pack all your stuff in on the four-wheeler. It is also really easy to get your animal out with a fourwheeler.” Costs for purchasing an ATV can run anywhere from $1,500 used to $10,000 for a top-of-the-line, fully loaded machine. Once purchased, however, upkeep on ATVs is relatively inexpensive. “If you ride all day you are talking maybe $10 to $15 in gas,” Bane said. “I change the oil once a year, so that is $20 to $30 in maintenance. Depending on what you break and your gas usage, it is really inexpensive.” Horses, on the other hand, can be a costly prospect, according to Al Cannon, outfitter with Circle K Ranch out of Dolores. “Usually the cheapest part about a horse is when you buy him, then it goes up from there,” Cannon said. “Between shoeing and feed and shots and vet bills and tack, you are looking at around $1,200 a year. It is $50 to $60 a month just to feed him. I would say that it is definitely cheaper to own an ATV. You don’t feed an ATV when you are not riding it, and it doesn’t wear out unless you are riding it.” Cannon would trade the cost effectiveness of the ATV for the pleasure of taking a horse into the back country, however. “It is the aesthetic value, I guess,” Cannon said. “I like the quiet serenity of the forest. Hunting and horseback — the two just go together.” In addition to differences in cost, there are also vastly different regulations that govern equine and ATV use in Southwest Colorado. All ATV users, even those from out of

Courtesy photo/Colorado division of Wildlife

Many hunters choose between accessing their hunting grounds on all-terrain vehicles or on horses. ATVs can provide a less expensive alternative in the long run, but horses can provide an aesthetic value to hunters. state, must ensure their vehicles have been registered with Colorado State Parks. The cost is $25.25 per year. Weapons, including bows, must be unloaded and carried in a closed carrying case, and the vehicle can’t be used as a rifle rest. Horse owners must carry health certifications, including Coggins blood test. Hay, straw and mulch must be certified “weed free.” Changes in access regulations also enter into the discussion. Motorized vehicles of any type are not allowed off designated roads on forest service land or in wilderness areas. There are no restrictions on horses. Whether hunting with horses or ATVs, hunters in Southwest Colorado should be aware of the laws regulating their chosen method of hunting and always exercise caution and common sense. For more information, contact Colorado State Parks at 303-791-1920 or the Colorado Division of Wildlife at 970-2470855.

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2010 Hunting guide

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Caution helps hunters miss mistakes Every year, hunters make mistakes in the field. Hunters might shoot the wrong animal, accidentally kill more than one animal or hunt in the wrong game management unit. Most of these mistakes can be avoided, although some are truly accidental.        Colorado Division of Wildlife officers understand that mistakes occur. If you make a mistake, your best course of action is to contact a division of wildlife officer as soon as possible to report the problem, according to the division. While you will still be subject to penalties, those could be less severe if the officer determines that you are cooperative, that the error was not intentional, or that it was unavoidable given the circumstances. Hunters who make errors can

be penalized with fines, suspension points against license privileges, felonies and misdemeanors, loss of meat, license suspension or confiscation of equipment. Penalties can be much more severe against those who purposefully attempt to hide mistakes from wildlife officers. Many errors can be prevented by carefully reading the big game brochure. It is the hunter’s responsibility to know the rules and regulations of hunting. The brochure provides a variety of important information that hunters must know. “Ignorance of the regulations is not a defense,” J. Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison, said in a statement from the division of wildlife. “There is a difference between a legitimate mistake and a careless error.”

rules

Boning animals in field makes retrieval easier From Page 4 we advocate for anything like that. The division of wildlife officers can write tickets to ATV users who are in prohibited areas or operating vehicles improperly, and if it is during hunting or fishing season, whoever is riding the machine will be assessed 100 license penalty points.” Hunters who receive 20 penalty points must surrender hunting licenses for at least a year, depending on the circumstances, Lewandowski said. Forest service fines for violating the travel rule run between $500 and $1,000, according to Beverlin. In addition to horses, Lewandowski advises Southwest Colorado hunters to brush up on alternative methods of packing out big game. “With a deer, two people could pretty easily haul it out, even if they didn’t

quarter it,” Lewandowski said. “They could tie it up on a pole and walk it out. Sometimes you quarter it, and you have to make two or three trips. And that is part of hunting. That is what hunters need to do.” Elk hunters might want to learn how to bone an animal in the field, reducing the weight by as much as half. “An elk is obviously a much bigger animal,” Lewandowski said. “A lot of people are boning out right in the field but to learn is not easy and something like that would require some practice.” Overall, hunters are reminded to be aware of new regulations and always be conscientious of the impact they have in the field. “Horses, hikers, anyone can cause damage,” Beverlin said. “If you are causing resource damage by any means, just please don’t do it.”

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Hiding in plain sight

Journal/Sam Green

Bucks in velvet wander through a field of tall grass. Habitat often does a pretty good job of keeping game out of a hunter’s sight.


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2010 Hunting guide


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Supplies make, break hunting camps by bobby abplanalp Journal Sports Editor Hunters heading into the field for the 2010 seasons might stay in a range of possible camps, from simple camps with must-have items to more sophisticated camps with some luxuries. Bob Luna, owner of and guide for Colorado Hunting Expeditions, described his approach to camps. Colorado Hunting Expeditions is on the banks of McPhee Reservoir just outside of Dolores. The outfitter specializes in guided hunting trips all over the world, but for big game in southwestern Colorado, it’s primarily for mule deer, elk and black bear. Colorado Hunting Expeditions has hunting access rights to thousands of acres on private land throughout the San Juan Range of the Rocky Mountains. Camping and hunting can vary anywhere from 6,000 feet above sea level to 10,000 feet, so the outfitter provides proper camping supplies for a safe and pleasurable experience. “I set it up the way I would want it. I like the luxuries,” Luna said. “If there is something I forgot to bring, tell me and I’ll bring it. We want to make it as comfortable as possible.” Items on a Colorado Hunting Expedition camping trip include plenty of water for drinking and to use the solar showers; matches; lots of fire wood, which is cut in advance for the camping trip; coffee pots to brew coffee, and cast-iron frying pans to cook meat, poultry, and breakfast items. Lanterns are stocked in and around the camp. Four-wheelers are used to haul game back to the camp, and horses haul supplies to and from the camping site. Plenty of tarps and rope are supplied for tents.

The

Everything provided by Colorado Hunting Expeditions might sound pretty typical for a hunting camp, but Luna greatly emphasizes one thing: Remain dry. The outfitter’s wall tents are made of a thick canvas, and carpet or wooden floors are placed inside. The tents are Scotch guardedTM and covered with tarps that are tied down with rope to keep everything as waterproof as possible. “People don’t realize that hyperthermia can set in really quick, especially when you get in at 9,000 or 10,000 feet,” Luna said. “When it rains, it’s cold, no matter what time of year. A lot of guys think they can rough it, but if you don’t have matches, dry wood or a tent, and if you can’t dry off, you’re in trouble.” Luna supplies campers and guides with ponchos when they go hunting because they’re very compact — they can fit in a backpack — and can shelter a person if a rainstorm occurs while out hunting. “You can put your bow or rifle underneath and make a tent out of it,” Luna said. “Get up under a spruce tree or some place with heavy limbs and stay until the storm blows over.” A wood stove is provided at the camp to dry off anything that is wet, which is critical, according to Luna. For more information about camping supplies for hunting season, call Luna at 970-882-5400 or log on to www.coloradohunting.com.

Camps can leave minimal impact

Camping can cause significant impacts on public lands if not done properly, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Hunters can minimize much of their impact with some advanced planning. The division of wildlife offers these guidelines: ■ Hundreds of campsites have been established over the years and are apparent along many U.S. Forest Service roads. Use established areas as much as possible. ■ Campsites must be at least 300 feet from streams, lakes or riparian areas. ■ Occupy as small of an area as possible. Avoid trampling grass and shrubs. ■ Do not dig a trench around your tent site. ■ You can only drive a vehicle 100 feet off of an established road to set up camp. ■ Using a stove is safer, easier and causes less impact than using a fire for cooking. ■ Collect all cooking grease in a can and carry it out. Do not dump it on the ground. ■ If possible, bring firewood or collect deadfall for campfires. It is illegal to cut down trees — even if they appear to be dead. Keep campfires small. ■ Be aware of local regulations — fire

bans are common in the fall. Be careful with fires; do not leave them unattended. Put fires out every night. ■ Do not bury trash; do not burn items that contain aluminum foil or any type of metal. ■ After shopping, attempt to minimize the amount of packaging materials brought to camp. Less material means you’ll have less garbage to store and pack out. ■ When you leave camp for the day, store all food and garbage securely inside vehicles, trailers or bear-proof containers. Leaving food and garbage out will attract animals — including bears. Animals will chew through bags and force open containers. ■ When washing dishes, strain the water before throwing it out and put the organic debris in the trash. Small bits of food attract insects and small animals. ■ At camp, dig a latrine for human waste. Be sure that it is at least 100 feet from the nearest water source. Dig a hole about 3-feet deep. Spread soil on top after each use. Cover completely and attempt to restore to natural condition when you break camp. ■ Pack out all trash. Inspect your camp carefully after it is packed up. Leave your camp cleaner than how you found it.

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2010 Hunting guide

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Hunters can scope out variety of rifles by bobby abplanalp Journal Sports Editor You place the butt of the rifle between your chest and shoulder, then slowly, you move your finger over the trigger. You focus on the target with one eye through the scope. The target is drawn, and the trigger is pulled. Down goes the game. You wonder where it’s hit. You wonder if it will get up. You see it — not just the game, but the perfect shot. A hunting rifle can bag big game and big memories for hunters of all ages, and the right rifle and proper usage can make hunting stories a reality. Bob Luna, owner of and guide for Colorado Hunting Expeditions, likes to hunt with a .270 magnum rifle for big game in Southwest Colorado. Although a .270 caliber is slightly small for hunting elk, Luna said it can be a great rifle to hunt with if you know how to use it. “What’s most important is bullet placement,” Luna said. “Know what your rifle will do.” Not having the right kind of power in the chamber is a common mistake among some people who hunt in Southwest Colorado, Luna said. Along with the .270 magnum, the .30-06 and .300 Winchester magnum are popular and recommended rifles to use in Southwest Colorado, according to Luna. The most popular rifle in Southwest Colorado now is the .300 Winchester magnum, which has been the best seller recently for Shooters World, located east of Cortez at 27688 U.S. Highway 160, according to Steve Arpherton, gunsmith at Shooters World. The rifle is popular because of its long

Journal/BoBBy aBplanalp

BOB LUNA, owner and guide for Colorado Hunting Expeditions, holds a .270 magnum rifle in front of a wall of mounted trophy game in his house. Guides and gun retailers recommend a range of rifles for hunting in Southwest Colorado. range. Hunters can use a 150 grain bullet for deer and a 180 grain bullet for elk in the .300 Winchester magnum, Arpherton said. The bullet coming out of the larger .300 magnum chamber

has the long range of a .300-caliber yond that point is not recommended. rifle and a flatter trajectory, compared “If you’re closer, it hits a little hard, to the more arched trajectory from a but you don’t want to shoot from real .30-06 or .270. The average distance far because you don’t know what obthe .300 Winchester magnum can fire is 500 yards. Shooting at anything be- See Scope on page 12

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2010 Hunting guide

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Proper care helps preserve game meat Ethical hunters not only make a clean kill, they don’t waste what they kill — and that means taking care of the meat, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. It’s against the law to waste game meat. If you harvest an animal, it is your responsibility to remove and care for the meat. Start preparing before you go into the field. Get your body in shape and be ready to carry heavy loads over rough terrain. Be sure you know how to field dress an animal. Numerous books and websites are available to provide explanations. If you will be hunting with someone who is inexperienced, teach them the proper techniques. The division of wildlife has produced a video, “Down to the Bone” which explains how to bone out the meat of a big game animal. By boning out the meat there is much less weight for a hunter to pack out, according to the division. More and more hunters are “boning out” their game. Deboned elk or deer meat also tastes much better than one with the bones left in. That’s because bones and bone marrow impart a more “gamey” taste, as does the fat.  You can order the video by calling the division of wildlife at 303-297-1192; or by going to the website at http://wildlife. state.co.us. Get your gear in shape. Collect and test all of the equipment you need for cleaning, hauling and caring for your meat. A short list to consider: high-quality knife, sharpening stone, bone saw, tarp, game bags, frame pack, paper towels, rope, rubber gloves and a first-aid kit. Get your freezer ready, too. Be sure you have enough room in your freezer to store the meat.   Make a clean kill       Shot placement can affect meat quality, according to the division of wildlife. Try for a quick kill with a shot that will produce minimal meat damage. The best targets: the heart/lungs area just behind the front quarter. A shot to that area will drop the animal quickly. Avoid shooting an animal in the gut or hindquarters.

Also, be aware of where the animal might fall. You don’t want an animal lodged in an area where you will not be able to retrieve it. Make sure you are capable of retrieving all the meat before it spoils, is claimed by a predator, or you become exhausted. If you can’t make a clean shot, don’t shoot!   The aniMal is down       When you bring down a big game animal with bullet or arrow, you have achieved one immediate goal, but you haven’t fulfilled all of your responsibilities as a hunter, according to the division of wildlife. You still have to field dress, transport and butcher your animal properly. Animals must be field dressed immediately. That means removing the guts, heart, lungs, liver, esophagus and other internal organs and cleaning out the rectal bone. After removing all the entrails, roll the animal over to drain the body cavity, then use a clean rag to wipe off excess blood, bone chips, dirt, partially digested food particles and other foreign matter. Only leave the hide on long enough to keep the meat clean while dragging it on the ground or transporting it over dusty roads in the back of an open pickup.   Next, cool the meat as quickly as possible. Skin the animal as soon as you reach camp. Time is critical, even in cool weather. Without air circulating around the carcass the meat can sour quickly. Bacterial growth begins at any temperature over 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Maggots can hatch within eight hours if the carcass is exposed to flies and other winged insects. Remove the head, trim as much fat as possible, place in game bags and hang them in the shade. Keep the meat dry. Do not allow meat to hang more than two days in the woods. If the weather is warm get the carcass into cold storage as soon as possible. Remember — aging does not improve the flavor or serve to tenderize game meat. Beef can be aged to become more

tender and flavorful because the fat on a domestic cow protects the meat from rotting at 38 degrees. Deer and elk are 90 percent to 95 percent lean, and the leaner the meat, the faster it deteriorates.  When taking the animal home, keep it cold and out of sight. Do not strap an animal to the top of your car. Game meat can last for several years

in a good freezer if it is well-wrapped. And the best wrapping is a vacuum seal. If you don’t have one, use freezer paper. It’s better than plastic in staving off freezer burn. For a more in-depth explanation of field dressing animals and caring for meat, go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us/ Hunting/ResourcesTips/FieldDress.htm.

State asks hunters to remember good ethics Hunting is an integral part of wildlife management in Colorado. The Colorado Division of Wildlife reminds hunters that while they are involved in an enjoyable recreation activity, they are also an active and important participant in managing big-game herds. With your license comes a responsibility to hunt and conduct yourself in an ethical manner, according to the division of wildlife. The division asks hunters to take a few moments to answer the following questions and to remember the answers when they are out in the field: ■ Are your hunting actions providing a “fair chase” scenario for the animal? ■ Would you behave the same way if you were hunting with a wildlife officer or being videotaped for the evening news? ■ Do you know exactly where you are hunting? Are you in the right game management unit?

■ Do you know the habits of the animal you are hunting? ■ Are you in good enough shape to be able to hunt in mountainous terrain and properly retrieve a harvested animal? ■ Do you know how to properly field dress a big-game animal? ■ Do you minimize the impacts of your camp on the landscape and do you leave a camp site cleaner than how you found it? ■ Do you pack out all of your trash? ■ Will you report rule violations — yours and others — to a Colorado wildlife officer? ■ Have you read the Colorado Big Game brochure to check the rules and regulations for the area in which you are hunting? Ethical behavior is critical to the future of hunting, according to the division of wildlife. Consider how your actions impact wildlife, fellow hunters and the general public.

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2010 Hunting guide

12  | 

Farm fed

A to Z Taxidermy

Taxidermy for the Discerning Sportsman

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• Taxidermist • Wildlife Wild Artist

• Game Heads • Fish • Lif Life Size Mammals • Rugs (970) (970 533-1133 Cellular (970) 570-5816 Eas Sunset St. 123 East Mancos Mancos, Co 81328

Journal/sam Green

A three-by-four point buck enjoys an irrigated pasture. Private-land owners play an important role in the management of big game in Southwest Colorado.

scope

The right gun improves odds for success From Page 10

using a rifle that feels suitable for that person. A smaller person in stature should use a .270 because of the lesser discharge it gives off when fired, and a larger person should use .300 to .308. For more information about hunting rifles and different calibers for hunting season, call Luna at Colorado Hunting Expeditions at 882-5400 or log on to www.coloradohunting.com. Call Cortez gun retailers Shooters World at 565-2960, or call Summit Shooting Center at 565-2474 or log on to www. summitshootingcenter.mfbiz.com.

jects are or what wind speed will do to affect the shot,” Arpherton said. Shooters World also recommends a .30-06 and .270. A 7 mm is recommended for a youth who is beginning to hunt because of the smaller size. Larry Chandler, owner of Summit Shooting Center at 23858 County Road G off U.S. Highway 491/161 south of Cortez, prefers to hunt with a .30-06, .270, and .308. Chandler said most people hunt with those calibers in Southwest Colorado and recommends them. Reach Bobby Abplanalp at bobbya@ But Chandler strongly recommends cortezjournal.com.

Welcome Hunters! to

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BUILD YOUR LOG HOME at the TOP of the Mtn! Secluded subdivision nestled in the middle of BLM/Forest Service land. Hunting, hiking, camping, so peaceful you’ll never want to leave! 35+ac #638746 $125,000

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EASY ACCESS to both civilization AND hunting! 3BR/2BA log home w/wrap around deck on 11+ac, 2-Car detached garage w/ large workshop & 2 rooms overhead. Close to Summit Lake w/view of mtns. #622971 $330,000

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VACANT LOTS 80ac w/irrigation available: $260,000 #638744 15ac,mfg ok, great access, close to BLM: $75K 625667 6ac Cedar Mesa Ranch: $72,000 #637534 4.21ac in Pinion Hills: $54,500 #648700

Check website for more information on these & other properties: www.SWColoradoProperties.com


2010 Hunting guide

  |  13

Common violations can trouble hunters Every hunting season, officers for the Colorado Division of Wildlife hand out thousands of tickets for violations that cost hunters hundreds of thousands of dollars. While some of those tickets are for flagrant violations of wildlife and hunting laws, many more are for minor violations that could have been avoided, according to the division of wildlife. Hunters are reminded that not only can they be fined for violations, they could also lose their hunting privileges in Colorado and the 20 other states that cooperatively participate in a wildlife compact agreement. Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for the San Luis Valley, said hunters need to set aside some time to review the Colorado big game brochure. The brochure explains many of the common violations and how to avoid them. “Hunters must know their responsibilities when they get into the field,” Basagoitia said. “Wildlife laws are written

to protect a valuable resource and for safety.” Following are some of the common violations that wildlife officers see: ■ Not wearing fluorescent orange — You must wear at least 500 inches of daylight fluorescent orange, part of which must be a head covering. You cannot wear camouflage orange or mesh orange. ■ Carrying loaded firearms in or on vehicles — Rifles must not have ammunition in the chamber while in or on any motor vehicles. For those riding all-terrain vehicles, weapons (rifles and bows) must also be in a closed case and fully unloaded (chamber and magazine). Most accidents involving firearms occur in or near vehicles. ■ Shooting from a road — Before firing a shot, you must be at least 50 feet off designated state or county roads, and just off forest roads. ■ License not voided — After you kill an animal, you must void the license immediately. 

■ Improperly attached carcass tag — The carcass tag must be attached to the animal. The best way is to cut a hole in the hide and attach with a tie. It is OK to wait until you get back to camp or to your vehicle to attach the carcass tag. ■ No evidence of sex — Be sure to leave evidence of sex naturally attached to the carcass. Evidence includes the head, the ovum or the scrotum. ■ Waste of game meat — Big game meat can begin to spoil at 38 degrees. Remove the hide as soon as possible after the kill and allow air to circulate around the carcass. Reduce the mass of the carcass by quartering the meat or boning out the meat. Place the meat in a cooler as soon as possible. Even in cold weather,

D

a carcass should not hang outside for more than 48 hours. Because game meat contains very little fat, it cannot be aged like beef. The so-called “gamey taste” is caused by spoilage, not because the animal is wild. ■ Shooting a spike-antlered elk — Hunters who hold a cow elk tag sometimes shoot spike bulls. Be sure of your target. If you are shooting at a long distance or in low light conditions, it can be difficult to see spike antlers. If you are not absolutely sure, do not shoot. ■ Illegally tagging an animal — You can only place a tag on an animal that you shot. You cannot trade tags with other license holders, or use tags of other license holders.

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2010 Hunting guide

14  |

Hunters should adjust to high elevations Every year more than a few hunters must be rescued from the wilds of Colorado. Hunters get trapped by snowstorms, injured in various types of accidents or simply get lost in the woods. Hunters must remember that altitude can affect their health and their ability to move easily, according to a statement from the Colorado Division of Wildlife. And in the Rockies, weather can change quickly with fast-moving storms dumping a couple of feet of snow in just a few hours. Be prepared for all types of weather, including wet, cold, dry and hot. Take appropriate clothing and the right camping gear. If possible, spend a few days at a higher elevation before hunting season to allow your body to acclimate. Chances of heavy snowfalls increase in October, November and December. High-country hunters, especially those who backpack into wilderness areas and have to get out on foot, need to watch the weather closely and pick their escape routes before they choose a campsite, according to the division of wildlife. Snow can obliterate trails or make them impassable. Survival experts recommend that you never go into a wilderness area alone. Unavoidable accidents do happen. Learn how to use a compass, take a map of the area and orient yourself before leaving camp. Before leaving camp, explain to your hunting partner where you’ll be going and when you plan to return.   Always carry a survival kit and know how to use it, the division of wildlife warns. Such a kit should include a knife, waterproof matches, fire starter, compass, reflective survival blanket, high-energy food, water purification tablets, first aid kit, whistle and unbreakable signal

mirror. If you get lost, sit down, regain your composure and think for a few minutes. Many times people who are lost can figure out where they went wrong and make it back to camp. If you truly don’t know where you are, stay put.  Papa Bear Whitmore, a survival expert who has taught Navy Seals, Green Berets and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police — and also Colorado hunter education courses — says survival is 80 percent attitude, 10 percent equipment and 10 percent skill and knowledge to use that equipment. His most important advice: “The best survival tool is your head.  Use it.” If you are caught in a storm or forced to spend the night out, there are three keys to survival: shelter, fire and signal.  If you can’t find camp and have to overnight in the wild, your first priority is shelter, according to the division of wildlife. Even if you have nothing else going for you — no fire or food — an adequate shelter that is warm and dry will keep you alive until rescuers find you. That means anything from an overhanging rock shelf to a cave, timbered leanto or snow cave. Always prepare for the worst and build a shelter that will last. Cut boughs from evergreen trees and use them as padding and for covering. Dress in layers and take extras with you. Put on layers before you become chilled and take off a layer before you become damp with perspiration. Staying warm is a process of staying dry. Do not dress in cotton — it becomes wet easily and is difficult to dry. Use wool, wool blends or synthetic clothing that wicks moisture away from skin. Be sure to carry a quality stocking cap that is made of wool or synthetic fleece.

You lose up to 45 percent of your heat around your head, neck and shoulders. Winter headgear should conserve heat, breathe and be water repellent. The old saying, “If your feet are cold put your hat on,” is good advice. Use water-proof footgear, wool or synthetic socks, and always remember to carry gloves. Fire is the second priority if you are forced to stay out overnight. Know how to build a fire even in wet or snowy conditions. That means carrying lighter, metal matches or wooden matches in waterproof containers and a fire-starter — such as steel wool, cotton or sawdust saturated with paint thinner or alcohol. Experiment with various materials before going into the field. A fire will warm your body, dry your clothes, cook your food, and help you to signal for help. The third priority is signaling. This can be done by fire — flames at night or smoke from green branches during the day; with a signal mirror in bright sunshine; and with sound — hence the whistle. You can live up to three or four weeks without food, according to the division of wildlife. You will, however, be more efficient and alert, and have more confidence if you are able to satisfy your hunger. So carry some high-energy food in your survival kit.  Water is more important to survival than food. Your body needs about three quarts of water a day to metabolize its energy reserves and carry away waste. Carry iodine tablets to add to water taken from streams or snow banks. Avoid drinking ice-cold water, which can cause your body temperature to drop.  Altitude sickness is another danger. Hunters who are fatigued, cold or ex-

hausted are vulnerable. At the very least, altitude sickness can ruin a hunting trip; at the worst, it can prove fatal. An example: A hunter from coastal Washington state flew from sea level to mile-high Denver, then drove to Trapper’s Lake on the Western Slope and backpacked to an altitude of 12,500 feet in the Flattops Wilderness Area — all within the span of 18 hours. He spent all five days of his hunt on his back in agony suffering from altitude sickness. Take time to acclimate and do not move above 8,000 feet quickly. Symptoms of altitude sickness include shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, headache and loss of appetite. To avoid altitude sickness get in shape, limit alcohol consumption, acclimate for a few days before the start of the season, and drink lots of water — staying hydrated is key factor in reducing your chances of getting altitude sickness. Hunters with any heart problems should be extra careful in Colorado’s high country. To prevent problems hunters should consult their doctors before going to the high country. If you have a heart condition you should keep any prescribed medication with you at all times.

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2010 Hunting guide

  |  15

Hunters set benefit to honor veterans By BoBBy aBplanalp Journal Sports Editor A local hunting guide, Safari Club International, the National Rifle Association, and other businesses and volunteers will continue a tradition that started in 2008 to honor U.S. veterans by giving them an opportunity to hunt. The annual Mark Ecker Memorial Veterans Benefit will take place Jan. 13 through Jan. 15, 2011, at Colorado Hunting Expeditions in Dolores and the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc to honor the late Sgt. Mark Ecker. Ecker was a U.S. Army veteran who survived the blast of an improvised explosive devise in Ramadi, Iraq, and lost both his legs below the knee, before learning to walk again with prosthetic legs. Through the help of the Safari Club International Four Corners Chapter, American Legion Ute Mountain Post 75 and Colorado Hunting Expeditions, Ecker shot a 6-by6-point bull elk on a hunting trip at Mesa Verde Elk Ranch east of Mancos in January 2008. Ecker later spoke at a Safari Club International Four Corners Chapter banquet. His story inspired many there, and multiple hunting services were donated for disabled veterans, including the annual cow elk hunt provided for the veterans benefit. Ecker, a native of East Longmeadow, Mass., was killed July 10, 2009, outside of Lawrence, Mass., in a rollover car accident where he was unfastened and ejected from the passenger seat of a 1996 Pontiac Sunfire. He was 23. The Mark Ecker Memorial Veterans Benefit will be held at Colorado Hunting Expeditions on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 13 and 14, before the benefit dinner at the Ute Mountain Casino on Jan. 15. Thursday will be an opening get-together with the 24 wounded veterans who will be in attendance at a dinner. Friday will be the veterans, cow elk hunt, and Saturday is the main event dinner at the Ute Mountain Casino. The dinner will feature a raffle of thousands of dollars in prizes donated by the National Rifle Association. The whole event is open to the public, and Bob Luna, owner of and guide for Colorado Hunting Expeditions, said volunteers are welcome. “The more the merrier,” Luna said. Ecker’s parents are expected to be at the event along with many veterans who attended previous years. Major sponsors are the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International. In the past, the veterans benefit has received donations from Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Diamond D Meat Processing and Ridgway Taxidermy, and each year local Boys and Girls Scout troops bring the veterans care packages. But the rightto-bear-arms and right-to-hunt organizations really enabled the veterans benefit to happen. “The NRA and Safari Club are the ones that really got this thing going,” Luna said.

Journal file photo

Sgt. 1St ClaSS Shawn Farnsworth, left, of Canon City, and retired Sgt. Mark Ecker, then of Pueblo, pose with a 6-by-6-point bull elk Ecker bagged Jan. 19, 2008, at Mesa Verde Elk Ranch east of Mancos. Ecker, who inspired many people by telling the story of how he learned to walk again after losing his legs in Iraq, died in July 2009 in a car wreck. Established in his honor, the annual Mark Ecker Memorial Veterans Benefit will be held in January 2011 at Colorado Hunting Expeditions in Dolores and the Ute Mountain Indian Casino in Towaoc. SCI Four Corners Chapter President Stephen Blackwell said he took Mark Ecker sr. hunting last year, so Ecker senior could live a bull elk hunting experience similar to the one his son enjoyed. “He never hunted before, he never saw an elk and he never knew what to do,” Blackwell said. “He wanted to shoot the same rifle, sleep in the same bed and have the same guide, so that was fun.” Blackwell is happy that SCI is a partner sponsor with the NRA for the veterans benefit, not only to give back to the troops, but also to show them what hunting means to people. “It gives them new life,” Blackwell said about the veterans. “They eat the meat, and they get to experience the outdoors when some thought that they would never get to.” For more information about the Mark Ecker Memorial Benefit, contact Luna at 882-5400 or reach Blackwell at 565-8300. Reach Bobby Abplanalp at bobbya@ cortezjournal.com.

Welcome Hunters Fall Specials Breakfast starting at $595 Dinner Specials Daily BBQ Baby Back Ribs $995 Daily

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16  |

2010 Hunting guide

Your Outdoor Real Estate Connection!


2010 Hunting guide

  |  17

Abundant game

Journal/Sam Green

Turkeys share a field with a deer. Southwest Colorado offers a variety of game for hunters.


2010 Hunting guide

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Bulls & Buck Meat Processing + Hurds Taxidermy We have rolled back our Prices! We will meet & beat anyone! - OPEN YEAR ROUND -

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2010 Hunting guide

  |  19

Taxidermists can offer variety of looks By Hope NealsoN Journal Staff Writer After tagging wall-worthy game, the next task the hunter faces is deciding on the pose. Taxidermist Rick Hurd said when it comes to Montezuma County, the mule deer hunting is world class, but elk, bear and even mountain lion are abundant — and he has mounted them all. “This area is where the world record mule deer was killed,” he said, referring to the Boone & Crockett buck that hunter Doug Burris Jr. bagged in 1972 in neighboring Dolores County. “Some of the best in the world — people come from everywhere.” Hurd said shoulder mounts are more mainstream for mule deer, as well as horn mounts, while hunters often opt for rugs and life-sized mounts for bears. European mounts, where the skull is bleached and on display, is also a popular option. “We also do trophies from as far away as Africa and around the world — cave buffalo, kudus, zebras, a little bit of everything.” Paul Weyand, owner of Memories on the Wall in Cortez, has also mounted a range of species for both locals and dignitaries, including former President George W. Bush and former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker. “I get work from all over the United States,” Weyand said. “Most people — I’d say 90 percent — will say, ‘Do what you think will look the best. You’re the expert. Work your magic.’ Then there is the odd few that have in their mind exactly what they want.” The most elaborate mount Weyand ever completed in his 12 years as a taxidermist was a mountain goat coming out of a wall. “One leg was attached to the rock on the wall, and the rest was suspended in the room,” he said. “I’ve also done lions chasing deer. I mostly do work for guys with spectacular trophy rooms.” Weyand said the one fundamental rule that all hunters agree on is to make the mount look real. “I want my animal to look like, if someone walks by them, they’re waiting for something to blink at them,” he said. Weyand said he gets a lot of elk out of Utah and Arizona, but Colorado is definitely known for it’s huge mule deer. “Sometimes in the winter you’ll see mountain lions if we have a good winter — and bear,” he added. Charles Tillian, the owner of Tillian’s Taxidermy in Lewis, said his favorite animal to mount is elk, and lately he has seen a lot of them. “I’ve mounted some big monster elk,” he said. “Some of the Ute tribal members go hunting, and they bring some big bulls in, 390 to 400 plus bulls. These are trophies!”

Journal/Sam Green

RichaRd huRd holds a muskie from Minnesota that he mounted at his taxidermy shop south of Dolores on Colorado Highway 145, and a variety of wall mounts are shown in the background. Taxidermists can create a range of different looks, ranging from shoulder mounts to full-body mounts, for deer, elk, bears and other wildlife that hunters — and anglers — bag. Tillian, who has been in the business 30-plus years, said there is definitely a trend in the preferred pose when it comes to elk. “They like the elk in a sneak position. That’s the best,” Tillian said. “When they’re in a sneak position, it lowers the antlers. They put them in an upright — it takes at least a 6-foot wall to put an elk in, and that’s with the elk on the floor.” Tillian said shoulder mounts also are popular. Tillian and Weyand both estimated it takes eight months to a year to get a trophy tanned, mounted and ready for the customer to take home. Hurd, who has 31 years of experience, said he also processes and ships the meat for his customers, creating a “one stop shop” that keeps him busy all year. “In the fall is when the hunters come in,” he said. “We take all the animals in, process the meat, take care of the hide, freeze and salt it and it goes to the tannery and we do all the taxidermy in the winter and summer.” For more information, contact Hurd’s Custom Taxidermy in Dolores at 7396665, Tillian’s Taxidermy in Lewis at 8824580 or Memories on the Wall in Cortez at 560-2277.

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2010 Hunting guide

20  |

Hunters can bag gifts for spouse, kids By Paula Bostrom Journal Staff

Some wives might enjoy having the house to themselves while their hunter husbands are away for a couple of weeks trying to bag their tag. Other women left at home might feel a little resentment when all household duties and childcare are left up to them as their hubbies enjoy time spent outdoors with buddies. Either way, if a hunter wants to smooth things over with his wife or simply bring home something more pleasant than a deer or elk rack for a spouse to enjoy, there are many options for giftbuying in the Four Corners. A popular place for hunters to stop is the Mesa Indian Trading Company and Gallery, just east of Cortez at U.S. Highway 160. The trading company, home of Ute Mountain Pottery, offers Navajo sandpaintings, Kachina dolls, wood art made from aspen trees and, of course, pottery. “We see hunters buying a lot of glazed pottery pieces that are functional,” said Judd Rogers, sales and website designer for the trading company. Plates, cups and serving dishes are made on site by local Native Americans. The most popular items hunters buy while they are in the area are things their loved ones can wear. “Jewelry is what they mainly buy,” Rogers said. “And for kids, mostly Tshirts.”

journal/paula bostrom

Hunters looking for gifts to take home to the family can choose from many varieties of Native American pottery made onsite at Mesa Indian Trading Company and Gallery. Other souvenir items for children include arrowheads and colorful rocks. Shopping for loved ones is a good idea, especially if hunters fail to nab their game. “If they don’t get anything, they have to bring something home to justify the trip,” Rogers said. “It helps smooth things over.” Another place to stop is Notah Dineh Trading Company and Museum at

Welcome Hunters to

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345 W. Main, Cortez. Notah Dineh is known for having the largest collection of Navajo rugs in the Four Corners. The store also offers beaded baskets, cradle boards, moccasins and sterling silver jewelry. If you’d like to bring back a taste of the West, try Dove Creek’s Adobe Milling. Anasazi beans are the most sought after item. This sweeter and mealier bean can be cooked in a variety of ways with many

different foods. Adobe Milling also offers hot sauces and salsa, soup mixes, blue popcorn and spices. For a nice wine to go with dinner, the Four Corners offers many award-winning wines grown locally that include Sutcliffe Vineyards, 12202 County Road G, Cortez, and Guy Drew Vineyards, a little farther down the road at 20057 Road G. For those who enjoy unique, original creations to display, fine art galleries offer paintings, wood art, furniture, photography, sculptures and limited edition prints. Look for works at Artisans of Mancos and Goodnight Trail Gallery of Western Art in Mancos, West Fork Art and Frame in Dolores, and Clay Mesa and Desert Pearl galleries in Cortez. Not meaning to leave out female hunters who leave their husbands at home, many of these gifts would be suitable for men as well. A popular item female hunters buy for their husbands are Joe Robertson wildlife prints, according to Rogers, who has noticed a trend of more female hunters in the area the past couple of years. Robertson specializes in scratchboard art, and his works can be found at Mesa Indian’s gallery. Bringing home a gift from Colorado is nice. The ultimate gift, though, that should make your spouse and kids jump for joy, would be to bring the whole family back to the area for a vacation and enjoy everything Southwest Colorado has to offer.


2010 Hunting guide

  |  21

Muzzleloader enjoys his blast from past By Reid WRight

Journal Staff Writer Since 1974, Johnny Archibeque has hunted elk with a muzzleloading Thompson/Center black powder rifle. As hunting technology changed over the years, Archibeque adopted new devices, and left others behind. “I don’t do it as rough as I used to anymore,” he said. “But I still do it, and I love black powder hunting.” Now 63 years old, Archibeque still hunts with a Thompson/Center muzzleloader, but uses a modern model that fires brass projectiles instead of lead balls. “I still hunt with a Thompson/Center, but it’s called a pro-hunter,” he said. “This model shoots a powerbelt bullet, which has a plastic bottom on it, so you don’t need a patch.” In addition, Archibeque’s new rifle features glow-in-the-dark sights, a larger kick pad and a break open hinge that allows for the rear insertion of a primer. Archibeque said the weapon is lighter than his old gun, has a longer range, less kick, is more accurate and does not have to be cleaned as often as his old .54 caliber Thompson/Center, which he estimates was made in the early 1970s. Regardless, Archibeque still prefers to get within 100 yards of his target and make sure he has a clear shot. He said he does not like to see an animal suffer and prefers a one-shot kill. He now uses an electronic range finder to measure how far he is from his target. “It’s more challenging than the rifle,” he said. “With the rifle, you have four shots. With the muzzleloader, you have one shot and then you have to reload.” Archibeque said he also prefers the muzzleloading season, which begins Sept. 11. “It’s just a fun time of the year,” he said. “The season’s nice, and you can actually call in the game if you’re lucky enough. When rifle season starts, there’s a lot of hunters up there. Once they start shooting, the elk are on the run.” Elk calling can be a delicate art. When calling bulls, Archibeque uses a plastic bugle, whereas he used to use a diaphragm call. He said the key is to make his calls sound like a smaller bull, so the larger bull is lured in to drive him away. He equates it with picking a fight.

Journal/reid Wright

VeterAn blAck powder hunter Johnny Archibeque takes aim with his old Thompson/ Center muzzle-loading rifle. Archibeque now uses a modern muzzle loader, but still shoots the old weapon at the range.

Journal/reid Wright

Johnny Archibeque holds up antler-handled knives he made for his grandsons. Archibeque uses a smaller call to lure cow elk. It makes a squeaking noise when he squeezes it. With a simple twist of the valve, the call can be adjusted to sound like a lost cow, or a calf. “I’ve called in hunters before,” he said. “Of course, I have been fooled, too, and I have been called in. When I call in a hunter, I figure I’m doing pretty well if I fooled him.” Archibeque also uses a chemical

For more information visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife website at www.wildlife.state.co.us

scent, which he sprays on his clothes before a hunt. The chemical neutralizes his natural human scent. “There’s different types of scent,” he said. “My son uses a urine scent, which I hate. We used to take the scent glands off of deer and tie them on our own boots.” Colorado state regulations require that muzzleloaders wear orange, keep their weapons unloaded in a moving vehicle and not use open sights instead of a scope, Archibeque said. “I always carry a backpack with me with some survival stuff,” he said. “A survival blanket, a light, matches, two to three granola bars and some water. I don’t carry GPS, but we all carry radios. Everybody that I’m hunting with, we carry these small little radios that reach out about five miles.” The aroma of drying elk jerky fills Archibeque’s garage. “I’m a meat hunter,” he said. “I use all the meat, whether it’s a cow or a bull elk. I’m not a trophy hunter” He also makes knives with antler handles and leather sheaths. Archibeque said he still shoots his old muzzleloading rifle, which has quite a kick. “This one knocks the crap out of you,” he said. “You go out to the range and you shoot three or four times and you sit down and ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ You’re black and blue.” Archibeque said he also has to clean the gun after a few shots or it will lose accuracy. He said there are still hunters who use the old lead ball muzzleloaders. “I think they just like the primitivetype hunt,” he said. “The sport of being out there and killing something the way Davy Crockett and those guys did. I’m just getting too old to carry that old muzzleloader.”

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22  | 

Improper ATV use can create problems The number of all-terrain vehicles used during hunting season has been increasing steadily. While the vehicles can be useful tools to aid a hunt, many hunters are using them improperly and causing a variety of problems, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Cary Carron, a district wildlife manager in Bayfield, explained that hunters must get off their ATVs if they expect to see any big game animals. “There are some hunters who drive around on ATVs all day and then they complain that they’re not seeing any animals,” Carron said in a statement from the division of wildlife. The constant drone of ATVs also causes problems for other hunters, according to the division of wildlife. ATVs are noisy and cause animals to move deep into inaccessible territory. The noise of one ATV can cause problems for numerous hunters. “There is getting to be a real backlash against ATVs from people who actually get out there and hunt they way they’re supposed to,” Carron said. Big-game hunters who wish to be successful must walk slowly and quietly into the terrain where deer and elk live. It is unlikely during hunting season that a hunter will see a big game animal from the road. And if an animal is spotted, a hunter wouldn’t have time to get off the vehicle, take a rifle or bow out of its case, load the weapon and move off the road to take a shot. Besides disturbing animals and other hunters, ATVs used improperly also cause resource damage, according to the division of wildlife. Many people are driving ATVs off of established roads and trails. That action destroys vegetation, compacts soil, and can lead to stream and water-quality degrada-

2010 Hunting guide

tion. Hunters using ATVs must be aware of these rules and guidelines: ■ Rifles and bows carried on ATVs must be unloaded and secured in a case. ■ ATVs cannot be used as a rifle-rest when hunting. ■ All vehicles used on public lands and roads must be registered and licensed in your home state or in Colorado. If your home state does not require registration, you must buy a temporary registration to use the vehicle in Colorado. ■ In most locations, ATVs cannot be driven off roads. Consult the travel management plan in the U.S. Forest Service or U.S. Bureau of Land Management district in which you are hunting. If you are not hunting on federal lands contact the appropriate land management agency for the regulations. ■ ATVs cannot be driven into designated wilderness areas. ■ Be careful not to trespass onto private roads. ■ Be considerate of other hunters. Drive slowly to reduce noise; only drive to the areas where you will begin walking to hunt; don’t hunt from the road. ■ Explain these rules and guidelines to young hunters and those unfamiliar with using ATVs.

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2010 Hunting guide

  |  23

Tingle taste buds with alternative recipes By Hope NealsoN

2 ounces dried, sliced mushrooms 3 tablespoons flour 6 tablespoons olive oil 1 shallot, minced 1 medium onion, sliced 1 1/4 cup game stock 2 tablespoons gin 1/4 cup cashews 1 teaspoon juniper berries 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon bouquet garni 3 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch thick slices 1/4 cup warm milk 4 tablespoons butter 2 medium carrots, julienned 2 celery stocks, julienned

Journal Staff Writer For every secret hunting spot, a favorite elk or deer recipe lurks nearby waiting for the day to reveal itself. Almost every hunter has their triedand-true version of venison or elk jerky, but there are other delicious options for serving up venison or elk. “Eat Like a Wild Man: The Ultimate Game And Fish Cookbook” is edited by Rebecca Gray, who drew from 110 years of “Sports Afield” magazine to compile a recipe collection for wildlife dining. Their cottage pie is featured below. Many people know about the “Colorado Cache Cookbook,” edited by The Junior League of Denver, but the cookbook also has a wild game section with recipes like sweet and sour elk meatballs. Another recipe in its restaurant section is the rack of venison from the Red Lion Inn. Both are reprinted below. Finally, the Internet is quick and easy place to find favorites of home cooks from around the nation. Sloppy Joes from allrecipes.com are served up by SHIVERDEN, who writes: “This recipe comes from my friend who is a guide in Alaska — it’s excellent for sandwiches, on rolls with sharp cheddar cheese. Also good served over hot cooked rice.” Bon appetit! Slow Cooker Venison Sloppy Joes 1/4 pound bacon 2 pounds venison stew meat 1 large yellow onion, chopped 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup wine vinegar 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon chili powder 2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon-style mustard 1 cup ketchup Salt and pepper to taste. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove from skillet, crumble and set aside. Brown stew meat in bacon grease for flavor. Put onion, sugar, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, garlic, mustard, ketchup, salt and pepper in slow cooker and mix well. Add bacon and venison and stir together. Cook for a minimum of 8 hours on Low setting. Use a fork to separate the meat into a thick and yummy Sloppy Joe-style barbecue. (Calories, 538; total fat, 18.4 g; cholesterol, 191 mg.)

Journal/Hope nealson

These sweeT and sour elk meatballs were tangy and slightly sweet. The tasty appetizer is for milder palates, while adding a pinch more garlic powder and cayenne would give the meatballs more of a kick. Rack of Venison 1 rack of venison 2 quarts of buttermilk 5 strips of bacon 3 tablespoons butter 2 carrots 2 stalks of celery 1 large onion 5 springs of parsley 1 pint sour cream 2 tablespoons Madeira 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper 5 juniper berries, crushed Place rack of venison in buttermilk for two days. After two days, remove skin. Then salt and pepper the rack. Wrap bacon around rack and place in Dutch oven with butter. Brown on all sides. Add cut vegetables with the rest of the ingredients except sour cream and Madeira. Add enough water so meat and vegetables do not burn. Cook at 350 degrees for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hour. When done, strain sauce and add sour cream and Madeira to the remaining gravy. Thicken with flour and water or cornstarch to degree of personal preference. Serve with red cabbage. Sweet and Sour Elk Meatballs 1 pound ground elk 1/2 pound ground pork 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For more information visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife website at www.wildlife.state.co.us

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1/4 teaspoon dried mustard 1 12-ounce jar chili sauce 1 10-ounce jar grape jelly Place the meats in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, garlic, pepper and mustard and knead with a fork or your hands. Shape into cocktail size balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on a cooking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until brown, about 15 minutes. Pour the chili sauce and jelly into a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until the jelly melts. Add the meatballs, a few at a time, carefully stirring to cover the meat with the sauce. Continue cooking over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Cottage Pie 1 pound venison

In a small bowl cover the mushrooms with warm water and soak them for 30 minutes. Drain. Cut the venison into 1/4 cubes. Dust them with flour. In a Dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat. Fry the meat cubes until they’re browned on all sides. Add the shallot, onion, stock, gin, cashews, juniper berries, salt, pepper and bouquet garni. Bring to boil, lower the heat and simmer for one hour. While the stew cooks, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the potatoes, cook until tender (about 18 minutes), and drain. Julienne the carrots and celery (make the strips 1/4-inch thick, 2 inches long). In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and saute the carrots and celery for about three minutes. Pour the venison mixture into a 2-quart casserole container. Add a carrot/celery layer. Cover completely with mashed potatoes. Dot the top with the remaining butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. (By Annette and Louis Bignami.)


2010 Hunting guide

24  |

Elk hunters should avoid moose kills brush, aspen, spruce, fir and even sagebrush — in other words, areas where elk live. Moose act very differently than elk when approached by humans. Typically, moose will not flee like elk at the sight of a hunter, which makes them easier to kill. So if it sees you and doesn’t run, it’s probably a moose. Despite these readily apparent differences, every hunting season brings a number of illegal moose kills, according to the division of wildlife. Circumstances vary from mistaken identity by hunters to blatant poaching. The common denominator in most accidental kills is that the hunter is not using optical aids besides the rifle scope. Always carry binoculars or a spotting scope to help you properly identify the species. The first moose to reach Colorado — 12 from Utah — were planted in the North Park region near Walden in 1978, according to the division of wildlife. The next year, another dozen were released in the Illinois River drainage, also in North Park. Some of these moose moved into the Laramie River Valley and, in 1987, an additional 12 animals were brought in from Wyoming. By 1991, the North Park population was doing so well that some of those moose were moved to the upper Rio Grande drainage near Creede. During the past two years, moose from Utah have been transplanted to the Grand Mesa. So, hunters need to remember that moose can be found in almost all the high-country areas of Colorado.

Courtesy photo/Colorado division of Wildlife

Hunters in Colorado accidentally shoot moose almost every year. The Colorado Division of Wildlife reminds hunters to be certain of their targets.

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Reintroduced to Colorado three decades ago, moose are thriving in many parts of the state. Unfortunately, almost every year a hunter accidentally shoots a moose. The most common error is mistaking a cow moose for a cow elk. Elk hunters need to know the difference between these two ungulates. If a hunter without the proper license shoots a moose, the fine can be more than $1,000, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. There’s no excuse for mistaking these animals, according to the division. They are vastly different in size, color, antler shape and habits. The Shiras moose is the smallest of four sub-species, and much smaller than an Alaska moose, but a mature bull still weighs 1,200 pounds — about twice as much as the average bull elk. Moose are dark brown and appear almost black. Elk are light brown — a bull can be almost golden — with a pale yellow rump. A moose has a very large, long nose and a “bell” under the throat, compared with the relatively narrow snout of an elk. A mature bull moose also has broad, flat antlers, unlike the pointed antlers of an elk. But the antlers on some young bull moose have not flattened out yet, so hunters need to look over the entire animal before pulling the trigger. The largest member of the deer family, moose have adapted to a variety of habitats. They favor willows along streams and ponds, but some also inhabit lodgepole pine, oak

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2010 Hunting guide

  |  25

Regulations apply to packing horses The Colorado Division of Wildlife asks hunters who plan to use horses to be aware of the following: • You must have a certificate of health inspection for each horse. Talk to your veterinarian about getting a health check for your horse. Be sure to bring the certificate with you. • Horses must have a Coggins Blood test within one year of entering Colorado. The test must be negative. Be sure to bring documentation. • Hay, straw and mulch must be certified as “weed free.” Only the following products are allowed on national forests in Colorado: cubed and palletized hay, steamed grain, treated/steamed mulch from tree fibers. For information, call the Colorado Department of Agriculture at 303-239-4149; or for a list of regulations

and vendors, go to www.ag.state.co.us/ dpi. • Do not tie horses to trees in camp. This causes tree damage and causes vegetation around the tree to be trampled. • Highline or picket your stock. If you use a highline, use tree-saver straps to avoid damaging trees. • Move horses often to keep them from trampling vegetation or overgrazing an area. • Keep stock 200 feet or more from lakes, streams, wetlands and trails. Restrictions on horse travel in wilderness areas are often greater than in other areas. Be sure to read notices at trailheads. Many wilderness areas carry maximum group size limits, which regulate the number of livestock and people that are allowed to travel together.

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2010 Hunting guide

26  |

Deer can provide challenge for hunters Every year thousands of hunters head to the plains, the foothills and the high country in Colorado to hunt deer. Most hunters stalk mule deer in the mountains and the foothills, but the allure of stalking the wily white tail deer in eastern Colorado is growing in popularity. Whichever type of deer you choose, you are sure to face a challenging hunt, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. In the late-1990s the deer population declined substantially. The division of wildlife moved quickly to bolster the population by eliminating over-the-counter sales of deer licenses. Now, licenses can only be obtained through the limited draw that takes place on the first Tuesday of April every year. Limiting licenses has greatly improved the health of Colorado’s deer herds and helped to allow more bucks to grow to trophy size, according to the division of wildlife. The drawing also has made licenses more difficult to obtain in some areas of the state. But hunters who obtain a license are assured of a highquality hunting experience. After the drawing, leftover licenses are always available in many areas of the state. Leftover licenses go on sale during the first week of August. Check with any division of wildlife office to check the status of leftover licenses.

A large mule deer buck can reach 400 pounds. Most range from 200 to 300 pounds. A big white-tail can reach 250 pounds. Both species of deer are browsers, feeding mostly on woody vegetation, leaves, forbs and shrubs. They also forage on crops, especially corn. Mule deer eat little grass. Consequently, deer favor habitat that has a heavy concentration of shrubs and low-growing plants. On the plains, white-tailed deer spend most of their time in the river and creek bottoms, taking protection in stands of cottonwood trees and the thick brush of riparian areas. At dusk they’ll move out of those areas to feed on the grasslands and in farmers’ fields. “Whitetails are harder to hunt than mule deer,” Marty Stratman, a terrestrial biologist for the division of wildlife, said in a statement from the division. “Mule deer show curiosity and will stop and look around. But with whitetails, if they see you, they’re gone.” Hunting whitetails requires slow, patient stalks along the edges of riparian areas, Stratman said. The deer can hide easily along the river and creek bottoms. Getting a shot at a deer hiding in thick vegetation can be difficult. Private property provides most of the good white-tail hunting areas in eastern Colorado. So hunters must get permission from land owners.

Journal/ Sam Green

Bucks pose for a picture in between grazing in a field. Hunters can take advantage of a mule deer’s curiosity. In the mountains and foothills, mule deer don’t spend much time in dark, heavy timber, explained Patt Dorsey, an area wildlife manager in Durango. They prefer aspen forests where there are plenty of low shrubs and small trees, oak brush and areas along the edges of different forest types. Mule deer are most active at night and can often be found in meadow areas during low-light hours. During the day, muleys

will bed down in protective cover. In warm weather look for deer along ridgelines, Dorsey explained. They often use those areas because wind is consistent along ridges and can help to keep them cool.  During the low-light hours of evening and morning, find meadows at the edge of thick cover. If you see where they are feeding during low-light areas, it’s likely they’ll move into

nearby timbered areas to rest for part of the day. Deer also tend to move during the middle of the day toward the areas where they feed in the evening.  Dorsey recommends making a slow stalk. “I tell people to walk for 10 yards and then look for 10 minutes,” Dorsey said. Mule deer have an excellent sense of smell, so if the wind is blowing in the direction you are hunting, chances are the animals will pick up your scent and move. Dorsey also said that deer go to creeks at night to drink, so there is no advantage to hunting near water sources during the day. One advantage mule deer give hunters is their curiosity. When mule deer are spooked, they’ll often run a short distance then turn to determine if they are being pursued. That can be a good time for a shot, Dorsey said. A small amount of snow will get deer moving out of high altitude areas. Usually by midOctober, migrating herds will move to winter range areas, even if there is no snow. Hunters who get a shot at a deer should realize that the vital organ area for deer presents a small target — about the size of a dinner plate — just behind the front quarter. “Make sure you can make a good shot at that area. And hunters should never try to make a head shot. A lot of deer are wounded with poorly placed shots,” Dorsey said.


2010 Hunting guide

  |  27

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During the day, hunters need to move into the dark timber and not be hesitant to hunt in difficult areas. Hunters should move as quietly as possible for short distances, and then scan the woods for 10 minutes or more before moving again. Even in dense forest it’s a good idea to use binoculars so you can discern subtle movement or colors in the trees. “With binoculars it’s a lot easier to see the tip of an antler, or an unusual horizontal feature in all that vertical,” Dorsey said. If you find the areas where animals graze at night, it’s likely that you’ll find them in adjacent safe areas during the day. Elk like to remain in one area for most of the day. So a stealthy stalk is the key. Hunters also must be willing to venture into difficult terrain and thick forested areas. When hunting in areas with roads, move far above or far below the roads to find elk. In areas where there are two roads, locate the most difficult terrain in between. Elk will move to lower elevations as the weather cools — but it must be a substantial change. Snow that allows tracking always provides hunters an advantage. Elk usually won’t make a big move to lower elevations until the snow depths are a foot or more. Elk can be found in the mountains throughout Colorado, but the most renowned area is in the northwest region of the state. The largest herd in the area summers on the pristine high plateau known as the Flattops and migrates 50 miles and more into the vast undeveloped and lower altitude areas of Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties. The areas hold abundant habitat where elk can thrive during the winter when temperatures are relatively mild compared with other areas in Western Colorado. “There is a lot of transition mountain brush, which they like, and plenty of room for them to spread out in the winter range,” said Darby Finley, a terrestrial biologist for the division of wildlife. “They follow the food, and there is a lot of it throughout the year.” Wherever you choose to hunt, be sure to line up your shot carefully before you pull the trigger. Because of their size and endurance it can be difficult to knock an elk down, according to the division of wildlife. It’s important to hit them in the critical area of the lungs and the heart. Aim just behind and below the front quarters. Colorado is the only state where an elk license can be purchased over-the-counter. That fact draws a lot of hunters to Colorado; but there are enough elk to provide good hunting opportunities for anyone who buys a license.

FO

Popular hunting magazines display colorful photographs of huge bull elk standing in open meadows and presenting easy targets. The reality in the mountains of Colorado, however, is far different. Hunting elk is one of the most exciting big-game pursuits in North America, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. But stalking these animals is challenging, and most hunters won’t get easy shots. “What the hunting magazines show is usually not the case,” Patt Dorsey said with a slight laugh. An avid big game hunter, Dorsey is also an area wildlife manager for the division of wildlife. “You’re a lot more likely to find elk on a steep hillside in thick timber than out in the open,” Dorsey said in a statement from the division of wildlife. The success rate for hunting elk in Colorado during 2008 was about 20 percent. An estimated 223,439 hunters bagged 21,649 bulls and 21,394 cows. They also killed 2,228 calves. If weather is warm, elk stay at high elevations and in the timber to help them stay cool. Consequently, hunters need to work harder to get shots. When snow falls, they move to lower elevations and bunch up. Elk are very smart animals, Dorsey said. They quickly sense movement in the woods and at any hint of danger move quickly and hide in rugged, difficult terrain. Further compounding the challenge for hunters is the fact that elk typically gather in groups of 10 or more. “That means they have a lot of eyes looking out for each other,” Dorsey said. “They are very communicative and will talk back and forth with barks. If one gets spooked, they’re all spooked and they’re gone.” Unlike deer, elk are not curious animals — they won’t stop to look at what’s near them. “Once elk start running, they usually won’t stop until they believe they’re safe. They can easily run for a mile or more,” Dorsey said.  To hunt elk, the first thing Dorsey advises is to get off the ATV and walk. It’s rare that a hunter will see an elk from a road during the season — let alone get a shot. When elk start hearing the noise of vehicles, they move far away from roads. Elk are most active during the night and are likely to be grazing in transition areas — meadows next to heavy timber, where different types of vegetation meet, just above or below ridgelines, according to the division of wildlife. The transition areas provide not only good food sources, but also good escape routes. Hunters should watch those areas at first light and at dusk.

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2010 Hunting guide

28  | 

Big game abounds for Colorado hunters Deer and elk are the most commonly hunted species in Colorado. But hunters also go to the high country to pursue other big game animals: bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bears, moose and mountain lions. The numbers of these animals in the state are significantly lower than deer and elk, so licenses are few and difficult to get, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. But those who obtain a license can look forward to a high-quality hunting experience. Bighorn sheep       The bighorn is perhaps the most recognized and sought-after animal in Colorado. The curled horns of the rams display one of the most magnificent characteristics of any wildlife species. But while the hardy animals live in harsh terrain, bighorns are a fragile species and Colorado wildlife managers are keeping a close watch on them, according to the division of wildlife. The preferred habitat of bighorns is steep, rocky slopes with little vegetation. “They are very challenging to hunt,” said Scott Wait, a senior biologist for the division of wildlife. While not meaning to be discouraging, Wait doesn’t mince words about the realities of hunting for sheep. “They are very wary. The stalk is usually long, strenuous and in difficult terrain,” Wait said. “Most hunters must make long shots, often 200 yards or more. So you’ll need high-quality optics and a longrange flat-shooting rifle.” Retrieving an animal, of course, adds to the hunting challenge. The good news for hunters is that bighorns are most active during the day and follow predictable daily patterns. Unfortunately for the bighorn, their

Courtesy photo/Colorado division of Wildlife

Colorado offers a range of opportunities, including bighorn rams, for hunters. predictability contributes to their fragility. Unlike other big game species, they do not adapt easily to new areas. They like to stay on their home turf, even when they are pressured by development or other animals — wild and domestic. When pressured, the animals become stressed and do not reproduce well. Sheep also are susceptible to diseases spread by domestic sheep and goats and wild mountain goats. The division of wildlife has studied all the herds in the state closely. Colorado is also home to desert bighorn sheep. This species is also struggling and only about 300 animals are estimated to be alive in the state. Only three licenses are issued for hunting each year. In 2006 three desert bighorns were harvested.

 

Mountain goats         The adaptable, hardy mountain goats seem to be able to defy gravity. These snow-white critters inhabit terrain that is even more severe than the haunts of bighorn sheep. Goats balance on narrow bands of rock on sheer cliffs, and eat lichen and small plants. They seem to think nothing of jumping from one precipice to another. Goats also remain at high elevation year around, enduring brutal winter conditions above timberline at more than 11,000 feet. Mountain goats were transplanted in Colorado from other states in the 1940s, according to the Division of Wildlife.

There is still debate if they were ever native to the state. Goats are very adaptable and can move long distances to get to new terrain. They also carry a disease that might infect bighorn sheep. Consequently, wildlife managers work to keep them in areas where they’ve long been established and where they don’t interact with bighorns. These areas include the Raggeds Wilderness near Gunnison, in the mountains around Georgetown, in the Collegiate Peaks west of Buena Vista, in the Gore Range in the central mountains, and in the San Juan Mountains near Silverton. Those who want to hunt goats should expect to wait five years or more to accumulate enough preference points to for a license.       Black Bears       After being adversely affected by drought in the early years of the decade, black bears appear to be making a slow comeback in Colorado, according to the division of wildlife. Bears are very dependent on specific types of plants for survival. Adequate rain and snow in most parts of the state during the past few years has helped spur growth of good crops of acorns in scrub oak, service berry, chokecherries and a variety of grasses and forbs. It’s estimated that from 9,000 to 14,000 bears live in Colorado. Bears are mostly solitary and reproduce slowly. Sows do not start producing cubs until they are 5 years old and then can give birth every other year. Cubs often stay with their mothers for up to two years. Bears range generally in size from about 175 pounds for a sow and up to about 300 pounds for a boar. Few bears exceed 350 pounds in

see gaMe on page 30

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Poachers can give hunting a black eye Poaching continues to be a major issue in Colorado, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Studies indicate poachers kill almost as many animals as legitimate hunters do during legal seasons. If poachers kill even half that number each year, the problem is serious because they are stealing game from licensed sportsmen, robbing businesses and taxpayers of revenues generated by hunting and depriving us all of a valuable resource — our wildlife, according to the division of wildlife. And it’s not just game animals that poachers steal, but also threatened, endangered and nongame species. Rob Firth, chief of law enforcement for the division of wildlife, said most poachers are not poor people trying to feed their families. Some kill for the thrill of killing, others for trophies. Some kill for money; trophy heads, antlers and bear gallbladders can be worth thousands of dollars. Poaching is the illegal taking or possession of any game, fish or nongame wildlife, according to the division of wildlife. Hunting out of season or out of the district for which you have a valid license, hunting at night with a spotlight or taking more than the legal limit all constitute poaching. A nonresident who buys a resident license can also be convicted for poaching. Flock shooting big game is tantamount to poaching since it usually leaves multiple dead and wounded animals.

Journal/ Sam Green

A buck leaps a sideroll irrigation pipe on private land in Southwest Colorado. Hunters should understand game laws and be aware of whether they’re hunting on appropriately designated land to make sure they don’t poach.

“Hunters who keep shooting into a herd of animals should realize that not every animal goes down right away when it is hit,” Firth said in a statement from the division of wildlife. “Not only is it unethical hunting, it leads to a lot of game waste, which in itself is illegal.” Hunters who witness such violations should report them to wildlife officers or call Operation Game Thief, a division of wildlife program that pays rewards to people whose tips lead to a conviction. The number to call is 877-265-6648, which also is printed on carcass tags. Tipsters can also contact the division of wildlife via e-mail at game.thief@state.co.us. Rewards are paid for information that leads to an arrest or a citation being issued — $250 in cases involving big game or endangered species and $100 for information on other wildlife violations, although awards of up to $1,000 may be given in significant poaching cases.  “The DOW depends on concerned citizens to report poaching activity. We need the public’s eyes and ears to help catch outlaws,” Firth said. Since 1981, Operation Game Thief has received more than 2,400 reports of poaching, resulting in more than 700 convictions. These convictions netted more than $600,000 in fines, the seizure of more than 1,300 illegally taken animals and the payment of almost $130,000 in rewards.

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game

Lions can provide difficult chase for hunters From Page 28 Colorado. Bears live primarily in the range of 8,000 feet to 9,500 feet in elevation in thick oak brush and aspen groves. Population and reproduction vary depending on the availability of their favorite foods — acorns from oak brush, berries, grasses and forbs. When the weather is wet, that’s good news for bears. In drought fewer bears are born. The difficulty in obtaining a hunting license depends on the season and the specific game management unit, according to the division of wildlife. Most bears are killed in September when they are most active searching for food before they go into hibernation. Consequently, licenses during the September season are difficult too get. After September, licenses

for most units can be purchased overthe-counter. Some deer and elk hunters buy a bear tag because the seasons are at the same time.  Most bears are harvested when the weather is warm, so a successful hunter must attend to the carcass quickly. Remove the hide as fast as possible after the kill and trim away the fat. Then get the meat on ice as soon as possible. In warm weather, meat will spoil quickly. Anyone who harvests a bear also must bring the carcass to a division of wildlife station within five days of the kill so the sex and size can be determined and entered into a database. The division of wildlife is also removing a small tooth— the first premolar — from which can be determined how many times a sow has given birth to cubs. The inspection aids in research and in managing the bear popu-

lation.  

Mountain Lions       The most elusive big game animal in Colorado is the mountain lion. Also known as pumas or cougars, they live in areas where there is dense vegetation and often very broken terrain such as canyons and rocky hillsides. Deer are the primary prey for Colorado’s biggest native cat. The population of lions in the state is estimated to be from 3,000 to 7,000, according to the division of wildlife. Licenses for lions can be purchased over-the-counter, and the season lasts from November through March. Hunters who obtain licenses must call in to the division of wildlife every day to check if quotas have been filled in specific game management units.

Most lion hunting occurs when there is snow on the ground. Dogs pick up the scent from tracks and chase the lions into trees. The chase is often long and difficult through challenging terrain.   Moose       Moose were introduced to Colorado in the mid 1970s. Moose are solitary and reproduce slowly. It is estimated that about 1,600 moose live in Colorado. They are concentrated primarily in North Park, on the Grand Mesa and in the San Juan mountains in the Rio Grande River drainage. Moose licenses are difficult to obtain. A new population is being established on the Grand Mesa with moose transplanted from Utah.

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2010 Hunting Guide