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Nature & Wildlife
2016 August/September
Pg 12 - The Sunshine Express
By Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Every year more than a few hunters must be
rescued from the wilds and high country of
Colorado. Hunters get trapped by snowstorms,
injured in various types of accidents or simply
get lost in the woods. Hunters must remem-
ber that altitude can affect their health and
their ability to move easily. 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 - wet, cold, dry and hot. Take ap-
propriate clothing and the right camping gear.
If possible, especially for those coming from
lower altitudes, spend a few days at higher
elevation just before the hunting season to
allow your body to acclimate. Heavy snowfall
can occur starting in September. 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. Snow can obliterate trails or make
them impassable. Survival experts recom-
mend that you never go into a wilderness area
alone. Unavoidable accidents do happen that
make self-rescue impossible. Learn how to use
a compass, take a map of the area and ori-
ent yourself before leaving camp. Explain to
your hunting partners where you¡¯ll be going
and when you plan to return. Always carry a
survival kit and know how to use it. 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. Survival experts explain that survival is
80 percent attitude, 10 percent equipment and
10 percent skill and knowledge. 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. 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, a timber lean-to or snow cave.
Always prepare for the worst and build a shel-
ter that will last. Cut boughs from evergreen
trees and use them as padding and for cover-
ing. 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 stay-
ing dry. Do not dress in cotton ¨C it becomes
wet easily and is difficult to dry. Use wool, wool
blends or synthetic clothing that wicks mois-
ture 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
a lighter, metal matches or wooden matches in
waterproof containers and a fire-starter ¨C such
as steel wool, cotton or sawdust saturated with
paint thinner or alcohol. Camping stores sell a
variety of fire starters. 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. 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.
High Altitude Survival
highly unusual anymore,¡± adds
¡°I believe it is only a matter of
time before they begin to move
here in larger numbers and we
must prepare for that eventual-
For more information about
wolves and wolf management in
Colorado visit: www.cpw.state.
The public is urged to report any
sighting of wolves in Colorado
by filling out the online Wolf
Sighting Form at: cpw.state.
Photographic evidence is use-
ful but unless it¡¯s scat or tracks,
CPW recommends that video
and still photos be taken from a
distance with a telephoto lens.
Do not approach wildlife at any
CPW is an enterprise agency, re-
lying primarily on license sales,
state parks fees and registration
fees to support its operations,
including: 42 state parks and
more than 350 wildlife areas
covering approximately 900,000
acres, management of fishing
and hunting, wildlife watching,
camping, motorized and non-
motorized trails, boating and
outdoor education. CPW¡¯s work
contributes approximately $6
billion in total economic impact
annually throughout Colorado.
hunter or a landowner protecting livestock from
predators, you must be sure of your target be-
fore you take any animal.¡±
Various incidents over the past several years
confirm that wolves occasionally visit northern
Colorado, including a wolf killed in a vehicle
collision on Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs
in 2004. Three years later, two CPW wildlife of-
ficers captured video of an animal with strong
wolf-like characteristics along the Colorado-Wy-
oming border, a few miles north of Walden. In
2009, a radio-collared gray wolf was found dead
north of Rifle. In April of 2015, a trailcam, again
near Walden, captured photos of an animal that
appears to be a wolf. The unconfirmed sighting
is considered credible.
Also in April of 2015, a small-game hunter
mistakenly killed what he thought was a coyote
near Wolford Mountain Reservoir, a few miles
north of Kremmling. After an investigation by
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, agency biolo-
gists positively identified the animal as a gray
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser-
vice - the agency with jurisdiction over wolves
in Colorado - killing a wolf or any endangered
species can result in criminal charges, a year in
prison and fines up to $100,000 per offense, de-
pending on circumstances and the discretion of
federal authorities.
Although he faced significant penalties, The U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service chose to not charge
the hunter after their investigation determined
he was hunting legally, did not intentionally kill
the wolf and immediately reported the incident
to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.
Other reports and
sightings in Colorado
include visual
observations of large
wolf-like animals, scat
and tracks. Though not
confirmed, some have
reported hearing what
they believed to be the
howling of a wolf.
In 2004, CPW convened a diverse group of
individuals representing a variety of interests to
develop the Colorado Wolf Management Plan,
adopted by the Colorado Wildlife Commission
the following year. The plan details Colorado¡¯s
management strategy when wolves become
established in the state.
¡°Although it remains rare, a credible sighting
now and then cannot be considered to be
Increase in wolf sightings; likely eventual
establishment of their population in Colorado
prompts advice from CPW
DENVER: Due to a recent increase in unconfirmed
sightings and reports of wolves in Colorado, in ad-
dition to confirmed sightings over the past several
years, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say it is
increasingly likely that the growing wolf populations
and range in nearby states will eventually expand
across state lines. To help prevent the illegal take
of the species, officials are reminding the public
that wolves remain protected by the federal Endan-
gered Species Act in Colorado.
Each year, CPW wildlife managers traverse the
state by land and air to classify big game, but
none have observed wolf packs, dens or any other
evidence wolves exist at the population level in
Colorado. Wildlife managers believe that is likely to
change in the near future and are preparing for the
eventual establishment of wolf populations in the
¡°Wolves are known to travel long distances and
we expect that they will continue to come into
the state on their own. We have a duty to let the
public know about this possibility to help prevent
someone from accidentally killing a wolf,¡± said CPW
Director Bob Broscheid. ¡°Identifying the target and
the species you are hunting is critical and a major
tenet of safe and ethical hunting. Whether you are
a trapper, or an elk hunter, deer hunter, coyote
Beware: Wolves Remain Protected