Summit County: Wildlife managers seek info on moose kill

Colorado moose

A moose cow and calves grazing near Berthoud Pass, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Failure to report an accidental kill can lead to fines, loss of license

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — State game managers are looking for information about the death of a bull moose near the Summit County shooting range and Frey Gulch Road. According to wildlife officials, the moose died from a gunshot wound and was not field dressed, leaving the meat to waste.

The moose was found during Colorado’s second rifle-hunting season but officials believe it was killed in early October, possibly during the first rifle season, Oct. 12 through 16.

Although details of the moose’s death are currently unknown, officials are investigating the incident as a possible mistaken or careless kill by an elk hunter.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges the public to provide any additional information that may lead to the person or persons responsible, including personal photos of any live bull moose seen in the area since early October.

“We understand that mistaken kills can happen while hunting, but we ask hunters to let us know right away,” said Summit County District Wildlife Manager Elissa Knox. “Killing an animal without a license, abandoning and wasting the meat and evading authorities can potentially lead to felony charges, substantial fines, prison time and a lifetime suspension of hunting privileges in Colorado as well as 38 other states.” Continue reading

Wildlife officials say Colorado is ‘open for hunting’

A bull elk in Colorado. PHOTO COURTESY COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE/MICHAEL SERAPHIN.

A bull elk in Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Michael Seraphin.

Federal government shutdown won’t have big impact on state’s big game season

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The partial federal government shutdown has put a crimp in some hunting plans, but state officials are emphasizing that the state’s big season won’t see a big impact from the political theater in Washington, D.C.

More than 23 million acres of federal land in the state are open for fall hunting, and early snowfall could help make it one of the better seasons in recent years, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife experts.

“It’s unfortunate that hunters are receiving mixed messages from the federal agencies,” said Steve Yamashita, acting director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “While all of the National Forests in Colorado are open, the shutdown has confused sportsmen across the country and we’re trying to make sure people get the right information. Colorado is open this hunting season.”  Continue reading

Evolution: Throwing skills unique to humans

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There’s more to a fastball than meets the eye. bberwyn photo.

Study says ability to throw hard and fast helped spur human evolution

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — If you’re a baseball fan, then you already knew that Nolan Ryan throwing a fastball is poetry in motion.

It turns out that the hard-throwing right-hander’s skill is the culmination of millions of years of evolution of a trait that was critical to the survival and success of our early human ancestors.

According to a new Harvard study featured on the cover of Nature, humans are unique among all animals in our ability to throw projectiles at high speeds and with incredible accuracy. Continue reading

Colorado: Wildlife experts to offer update on mule deer studies

Mule deer in winter. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Mule deer in winter sagebrush habitat. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say they want feedback from public

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With several extensive research projects on northwest Colorado mule deer populations under way, biologists say they want to update the public on those efforts. A long-term trend of declining populations has spurred several studies, as scientists look at predation, food supplies and energy development as possible factors.

To discuss their findings so far, wildlife managers are inviting the public to a presentation with biologists, researchers and wildlife officials, Wednesday, May 29 at 7 p.m. at the Mountain Valley Bank, 400 Main Street in Meeker. Continue reading

Scientists call for phase-out of lead hunting ammunition

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Condor recovery efforts have been hampered in part by numerous cases of lead poisoning. Photo courtesy USFWS.

California considers ban, as studies show that switching to non-lead ammunition is viable

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Ammunition used by hunters is probably the biggest single source of toxic lead in the environment, according to a statement from leading scientists, who said that lead ammo  poses a serious danger to people and wildlife and ought to be phased out.

Lead is an extremely toxic substance that is dangerous to people and wildlife even at low levels. Lead exposure can cause a range of health effects, from acute poisoning and death to long-term problems such as reduced reproduction, inhibition of growth, and damage to neurological development. Continue reading

Colorado: Meeker outfitter gets jail time for baiting game

Outfitter Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh sentenced to 41 months in prison for numerous wildlife violations

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A Colorado hunting will lose his business, go to jail and pay big fines for baiting deer and elk. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In a classic tale of poacher versus game warden, a Meeker man apparently carried on a hunting business using illegal baiting to lure wildlife for his out-of-state clients, perhaps for as long as 20 years.

After other local residents tipped them off, state and federal agents launched an eight-year investigation that culminated last week, when U.S. District Court Judge Christine Arguello sentencing Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh, 72, owner of D & S Outfitters of Meeker, to 41 months in federal prison. He must also pay $37,390 in restitution to the state and forfeit two all-terrain vehicles and a trailer used in the commission of his crimes.

In September 2012, a federal jury in Denver found Rodebaugh guilty of six felony violations of the Lacey Act, a federal law that prohibits the transportation of illegally taken wildlife across state lines.

Baiting wildlife is illegal in Colorado and most of Rodebaugh’s clients were out-of-state hunters. As part of his sentence, Rodebaugh must also pay a $7500 fine that will go to the Lacey Act Reward Fund.

“This individual showed grievous disregard for wildlife laws, a considerable lack of ethics and he never expressed remorse,” said lead investigator Bailey Franklin, district wildlife manager in Meeker. “It took tremendous resources and man-hours to bring him to justice and we are very satisfied with the sentence.” Continue reading

Colorado: New wildlife roundtable forming

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Colorado mule deer browsing. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

State resource managers seek input from hunters and anglers

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —With deer herds in northwestern Colorado declining and the state’s trout likely facing another long, dry summer, wildlife managers may be looking at some tough choices in the months ahead.

To get some input from active hunters and anglers in the region, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is putting together regional caucuses to meet and discuss wildlife issues with managers, biologists and agency officials, with an upcoming meeting set for Feb. 20 in Grand Junction (6 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel, 755 Horizon Drive).

In addition to the wildlife-related discussion, attendees will select two delegates to represent the region’s wildlife concerns at the newly formed Sportsmen’s Roundtable to be held in Denver next month. The roundtable will provide hunters and anglers from the four regions of the state with direct access to agency officials, including wildlife commissioners. Continue reading

Wildlife: National Park plans hunting-rule changes in Denali

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A gray wolf in Denali National Preserve. Photo courtesy Kent Miller/NPS.

State and federal bear, wolf and coyote hunting regulations at odds

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — There could be a clash between state and federal hunting regulations in Alaska, where the National Park Service is proposing some changes in Denali National Preserve, including a ban on taking brown bears over bait stations, using artificial light to take black bears at dens, taking black bear cubs and sows with cubs. The new regs would also shorten the season for hunting wolves and coyotes.

According to the park service, the changes are in response to new state regulations that allow the killing of brown bears over bait stations in three game management units, which included portions of three National Preserves. The state rules allow the killing of brown bears over bait stations in three game management units, which included portions of three National Preserves. Continue reading

Special elk hunt set for Grand Teton National Park

Park Service says hunters are switching to non-lead ammo

Elk in Grand Teton National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — First you feed ‘em, than you shoot ‘em.

That seems to be the theory of game management in Wyoming, where Grand Teton National Park officials announced the Oct. 8 start of the annual elk reduction program mandated by Congress when the park was created in 1950.

The legislation  directs Grand Teton NP to jointly develop this annual program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and for the Governor of Wyoming and Secretary of the Interior Department to approve the plan.

Biologists and administrators from both agencies have reviewed available biological data and concluded that the 2012 program is necessary to keep the Jackson elk herd at or near objective and maintain a desired summer distribution of elk throughout their natural range.  Continue reading

Study prompts Washington to revamp cougar hunting

Over-harvesting increases confrontations between wild cats and humans

A Washington cougar. Photo courtesy Rich Beausoleil/Washington Dept. of Fish and Game.

 By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In a study that could have implications for predator management on a broader scale, biologists with Washington State University say that the state’s current cougar management scheme wasn’t working as intended.

Whether hunters killed 10 percent or 35 percent of cougars, the population remained the same. The old paradigm of wildlife management would explain this by saying the remaining population increased reproduction to make up for hunting. But this was not the case, the researchers said, explaining that an over-harvest of cougars can increase negative encounters between the predator and humans, livestock and game.

Based on the the 13-year study, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is implementing a new cougar management plan based on equilibrium management. Hunters will remove no more than the surplus of animals that would be generated through natural reproduction. Continue reading

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