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Nature & Wildlife
Pg 10 - The Sunshine Express
2012 December/January
"In 2013, there will be additional hunting
Rangely and al-
opportunities in GMU 30, just north of
lowing the take
Grand Junction," said Brad Petch, a se-
of carp at Switzer
nior terrestrial biologist for the Northwest
Lake in Delta
Region. "There will still be a youth-only
County. Com-
hunt, but we've added additional hunting
missioners also
licenses available to adult hunters."
extended a full
Colorado is home to two subspecies of wild
fishing closure
turkey: the native Merriam's and the Rio
on Bear Creek in
Grande, which was introduced to the state
El Paso County.
in 1980.
The closure is
The Merriam's wild turkey lives primarily
designed to pro-
in open meadows and in ponderosa, oak
tect the unique,
brush and pinion juniper stands in moun-
native popula-
tainous zones west of Interstate 25. The Rio
tion of greenback
Grande species inhabit cottonwood and
cutthroat trout
riparian areas adjacent to agricultural lands
found in the
in the eastern portion of the state.
creek. Fishing
Turkey Talk
Wild turkeys mate in the early spring. Court-
regulations will be updated with production of the
ship usually begins while turkeys are still flocked
2013 Colorado Fishing brochure, which should be
There are a lot of people talking turkey this time
together in wintering areas. Males attract females
available statewide in February.
of year. Roasted or deep-fried? White meat or
through a variety of calls, struts and displays
Commissioners also began the process of review-
dark? Do you want stuffing with that? But ask a
including fanning their tail feathers.
ing changes to the big game regulations for 2013
Colorado bird hunter about turkeys, and you are
After mating, the hens begin searching for a nest
seasons. Commissioners are considering modifica-
more likely to hear them debate the Rio Grande
site to lay eggs. Wild turkeys build nests in shal-
tions to the popular late youth elk hunt program.
versus Merriam's turkey. East Slope versus West
low dirt depressions surrounded by moderately
The successful program has put thousands of
Slope. Spring season or fall.
woody vegetation to conceal it.
young hunters into the field since its inception.
Once nearly wiped out in Colorado, there are
Hens lay a clutch of 10 to 12 eggs during a two-
Originally developed to help address overpopula-
more wild turkeys in the state now than ever
week period, usually laying one egg per day. She
tions of elk on agricultural, private lands in west-
before. According to biologists at Colorado Parks
will incubate her eggs for about 28 days, occasion-
ern Colorado, the program is transitioning to con-
and Wildlife, that makes it easier to find places to
ally turning and rearranging them until they are
tinue offering hunting opportunity at a time when
see America's largest game bird.
ready to hatch.
elk populations have been reduced to desired
"The increase of wild turkeys in Colorado is due
A newly-hatched flock must be ready to leave the
long-term levels. If approved by the Commission,
to their adaptability, high reproductive capability
nest within 12 to 24 hours to feed. Young turkeys,
late youth elk hunters in 2013 will be able to hunt
and careful management of hunting," said Brian
known as poults, eat insects, berries and seeds,
late seasons in the general area and method of take
Dreher, a senior terrestrial biologist for CPW.
while adults will eat anything from acorns and
where their unfilled limited cow or either-sex elk
Dreher said that Colorado wildlife managers
berries to insects and small reptiles. Turkeys usu-
licenses are valid, instead of three large quadrants
began developing strategies to increase the wild
ally feed in early morning and in the afternoon.
defined for the 2012 seasons. As part of the chang-
turkey population in the early 1980s. Over the en-
Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state
es, CPW staff is working to develop proposals to
suing years, the agency successfully transplanted
parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of
expand youth opportunity in the state by looking
wild turkeys into most of the available habitat in
Colorado's wildlife, and a variety of outdoor rec-
at hunting of species beyond just elk.
the state.
reation. For more info go to cpw.state.co.us.
"This is an issue hunters will want to be aware of
Turkeys were plentiful in the North America at
2013 Fishing Regulations Set
as they prepare for next year's license draw," said
the time the Pilgrims landed, but as the colonists
Rick Cables, Director of Colorado Parks and Wild-
CPW Commission Approves 2013 fishing regs;
spread west, turkey populations plummeted to
life. "Hunters planning to hunt with youth hunters
begins work on 2013 big game hunting regs
around 30,000 birds by 1900.
next year should check the Big Game Brochure
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife(CPW) Commis-
According to Dreher, wild turkeys faced a double
when it comes out in February for a synopsis of
sion gave final approval to fishing regulations for
whammy in the early years of our country. "There
any changes the Commission might approve."
the 2013 fishing season at the Commission's No-
were no regulations to prevent over-hunting, and
The Parks and Wildlife Commission received an
vember 8-9 meeting in Yuma. In addition, Com-
forests in the eastern U.S. were cut down for farm-
update on efforts undertaken by CPW staff to
missioners started review of big game hunting
land and firewood. Without trees and suitable
move water around in parts of the state this past
regulations and received informational updates
habitat, the birds became scarce."
summer. Several agency projects leased unused
on wildlife research projects, financial issues, an
Today, wild turkeys are once again abundant
water to agricultural producers for crop and forage
agency marketing plan and the Colorado Archery
across the nation due to modern turkey-manage-
irrigation and to recharge local aquifers.
in the Schools Program. Commissioners received
ment programs by state wildlife agencies and
"We use our water resources to assure that fish and
a briefing on the CPW Strategic Plan, which is be-
conservation groups such as the National Wild
wildlife populations are protected in the state,"
ing rewritten to fulfill requirements of legislation
Turkey Federation.
said Steve Yamashita, Northeast Region Manager
that merged the Colorado Division of Wildlife and
Wild turkeys are cunning, wary birds. They have
for CPW. "In this drought year we were able to
Colorado State Parks last year.
excellent eyesight and can run at speeds up to 25
help our neighbors by providing access to much
The fishing regulations for the 2013 fishing
mph to escape predators. Some people think tur-
needed resources in a way that helped maintain
season, which begins April 1 of next year, were
keys are too big to fly. That may be true of domes-
wildlife but also filled gaps for the agricultural
widely unchanged. Anglers will see new regula-
tic birds, but wild turkeys are capable of flying
community."
tions extending walleye and saugeye regulations
for short distances at speeds up to 50 mph. These
The CPW Commission is an 11-member group ap-
upstream of Lake Pueblo State Park, standardiz-
characteristics make wild turkeys a challenging
pointed by the governor to  (continued pg 11 >>)
ing regulations below Kenny Reservoir near
quarry for hunters.