Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists are predicting an excellent season for quail hunting in southeast Colorado and the potential for very good pheasant hunting in northeast Colorado for the 2017-18 season.
Ethical hunters not only make a clean kill, they don't waste what they kill. So that means taking care of the meat.
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 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 web sites are available to provide explanations. If you will be hunting with someone who is inexperienced, teach them the proper techniques.
When applying for a limited license, a preference point is awarded when an individual is unsuccessful in drawing their first-choice hunt code. Preference points provide a mathematical advantage when applied to future drawings.
Some things to remember:
Poaching continues to be a major issue in Colorado. Some national studies indicate that 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 hunters, robbing businesses and taxpayers of revenues generated by hunting, and depriving us all of a valuable resource--our wildlife. And it's not just game animals that poachers steal - they also kill threatened, endangered and non-game species.
Deer and elk are the most commonly hunted species in Colorado. But hunters also go to the high country to pursue other magnificent 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. But those who obtain a license can look forward to a high-quality hunting experience.
Reintroduced to Colorado more than 30 years ago, moose are thriving in many parts of the state. Unfortunately, almost every year hunters inadvertently shoot moose. During the last few years more than a dozen moose have been killed during each season by hunters who thought they were shooting elk.
Elk hunters need to be sure 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 and hunting privileges can be lost.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement and Public Safety Assistant Director Heather Dugan says CPW is seeing more cases of Colorado hunters illegally using drones.
"The bottom line is, if it's related to a hunt in any way, you can't do it," Dugan said. "For scouting, locating, anything. If they fly before they take an animal, they're illegal. If they use the drone to locate an animal they may have shot and wounded, they're illegal."
In Colorado 150 years ago wildlife faced a dire future.
To provide food for miners and settlers streaming west during the gold rush and land rush of the mid- and late-1800s, market hunters slaughtered deer, elk, bear, buffalo, bighorns, pronghorn and any type of bird that could provide meat. Fish fared no better as nets and even dynamite were set in rivers and streams. Polluted water flowing from mining operations also devastated hundreds of miles of rivers and streams.
Colorado hunters can expect another good waterfowl season in 2017-18, although CPW avian program leader Jim Gammonley said there are signs that duck numbers may start to see declines in the future due to drier conditions to the north. Waterfowl hunting opportunities in Colorado extend from mid-September teal seasons to light goose conservation seasons ending in April.