The Colorado Parks and Wildlife event features kid-friendly activities and giveaways throughout the day, and will include moose viewing tips, presentations about moose biology and history, information about how biologists transplant and track moose and a puppet show.
Kids can earn a prize for going on a hike with a wildlife officer to look for signs and evidence of moose activity. “As their population continues to grow in Colorado, people's interest has increased as well,” said Parks and Wildlife Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero. “Moose sightings can be a great experience and we encourage people to learn more about them and how to watch them safely.”
The successful introduction of moose to the Grand Mesa in 2005 by wildlife managers has resulted in a stable and growing population, and current estimates indicate there are between 200 and 250 moose in this area. The free event will be held on the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flattop mountain, and the site of one of Colorado's most recent moose relocations.
It is located east of Grand Junction, and the US Forest Service Visitor Center is located at the top. Take Highway 65 from I-70 by Plateau Creek or from Highway 50 near the town of Delta, and follow it up to the event.
Moose are common in this area, and you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a moose on your drive up to the event. Grand Mesa Moose Day sponsors include the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, US Forest Service, The Moose 100.7, the Grand Mesa Scenic & Historic Byway and Cabela's. For more information about moose on the Grand Mesa, go to: wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammal/MooseReintroductionProgram.htm
DISCARDED FISHING LINE HARMFUL TO WILDLIFE
DURANGO – Fishing line discarded along waterways can harm animals, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials urge anglers to dispose of line properly. Every year dozens of birds and small mammals in Colorado get tangled up in fishing line along rivers, creeks and reservoirs.
“Fishing line left on the bank is dangerous,” said Scott Gilmore, statewide angler education coordinator for Parks and Wildlife. “An animal can't untangle itself from fishing line so it is often fatal.”
Earlier this summer, a kingfisher, a bird that lives along riparian areas, was found hanging dead in a tree along the Uncompahgre River in Montrose, hopelessly tangled in fishing line. During his career, Gilmore has seen lots of birds that have died in the same way. When a bird becomes tangled, it can't fly, run or protect itself from predators.
“There's no reason to toss line on the ground,” Gilmore said. “Just stuff it in your pocket and throw it away at home.” Some birds use fishing line to build nests. The result is that chicks and young waterfowl end up tangled in the mess. Fishing line also cuts into the tender legs and feet of birds, waterfowl and other wildlife. Those cuts then can become infected and result in an agonizing death for the animals. Pets can also get tangled in fishing line with a potential to cause injury.
Monofilament line is very strong and can remain hazardous for years. Unfortunately, line can be found along reservoirs and stream banks throughout the state.
Anglers who see line should pick it up. Also, tell youngsters and inexperienced anglers about the dangers. “It's easy to perform this small service for the environment and wildlife" Gilmore said. "Carry out your own line and pick up line and other trash you see in the places you fish.”
If you want to recycle your old fishing line, it can be sent to: Berkley Recycling, 1900 18th Street, Spirit Lake, Iowa, 51360. Fishing and sport shops that would like to offer recycling to customers, can contact Berkley at 800-237-5539. Berkley is a fishing products company. For more information about fishing in Colorado, see: wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing.
ONLINE COURSE OFFERED FOR HUNTER EDUCATION
RIDGWAY – An on-line home study Hunter Education Course is being offered by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Those who take the on-line course must participate in a skills class Aug. 13 at the Ridgway Community Center. The course is a convenient way for prospective hunters to obtain their hunter safety cards.
Hunters can study the coursework on their own at home.
The skills class will include firearms safety with shooting, hunter responsibility, wildlife regulations and other hands-on activities. To obtain their safety card, students must pass a written exam and complete the live fire exercises at the skills class.
The Aug. 13 session runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1949, who wants to hunt in the fall, must have a valid hunter education card prior to purchasing a hunting license.
To register please call the Division of Wildlife at 970-209-2369. There must be a minimum of 10 people registered for the class for it to be held. Registration deadline is July 29. Call 970-209-2369 to register. For more news about Division of Wildlife go to: wildlife.state.co.us/news/index.asp?DivisionID=3 DRY WEATHER DRIVES BEARS CLOSER TO PEOPLE
COLORADO SPRINGS – The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife is asking residents and vacationers in southern Colorado to take extra care to avoid attracting hungry bears to homes, cabins, campgrounds and picnic areas.
Within the past few weeks, wildlife officers have responded to a higher than normal level of calls about bears entering homes, garages, sheds, tents, chicken coops and damaging beehives.
Wildlife officials killed a bear that injured a teenage camper in his tent July 15 near Leadville. The bear had apparently ransacked a cooler outside a tent in an adjacent area of the camp prior to the incident.
“This has been a below average year for natural food for bears,” said Cory Chick, an area wildlife manager from Colorado Springs. “During the summer, bears depend on green, palatable vegetation and bugs and other critters they find under rocks and logs as their primary food sources. But those natural food sources are harder to find in dry conditions.”
Chick says natural food sources are out there, but some bears have slowed in searching for them because humans are making it too easy for bears to find unnatural food around homes. With prime feeding time for bears just ahead, wildlife managers are concerned that the number of bear encounters could increase and are advising people to remove food attractants from their homes and campsites to avoid confrontations with bears. When bears have to look harder to find natural forage, they gravitate toward any place they can find food, which brings them into closer proximity to people.
When they find a food source, natural or not, bears will frequent the area until it is gone.
“During dry years like this, the bears have to look harder for food, and in doing so often end up finding what people leave out – garbage, bird feeders, barbecue grills and other human food,” said Chick. “We are always going to have nuisance bears, but when bears are rewarded for foraging around houses and outbuildings, it increases the chances a nuisance bear becomes a dangerous bear,” Chick added.
“Our standard recommendations in normal years are for people to secure their trash, bring in bird feeders and pet food, and remove food attractants,” said District Wildlife Officer Aaron Flohrs. “This summer, we are asking people to be extra vigilant.” Flohrs says that before people begin feeling sorry for the bears and take it upon themselves to feed them, they should know that feeding a bear is the absolute worst thing a person can do for it.
“There is always potential for human injury when bears come close to people,” Flohrs said. “But the risk factors go way up when the bears are 'rewarded' by people feeding them – or when bears get people food in any manner.” Bears in Colorado evolved during periods of dry spells long before humans settled the state.
“They will make it through this dry spell, too,” said Chick. “Right now we just want people to take the proper precautions to avoid anyone getting injured and keep bears out of trouble.” The Division of Parks and Wildlife uses a decision tree to rate problem bears. Wildlife managers evaluate each conflict as to degree of urgency based on three categories. The first and lowest is a nuisance bear, second is a depredating bear, and the third level is a dangerous bear.
Most bear reports are classified at the nuisance level. This category includes bears that may pose a threat to property or may have already damaged property, but there is no immediate threat to humans.
Action for bears at this level include a variety of deterrent methods, trying to educate the people on how to coexist with bears, and as a last resort trap and relocate the problem bear. Depredating and dangerous bears are dealt with using stronger methods. If weather conditions improve by mid- to late-August, the fall food supply of fruit and acorns should improve the situation.
In the meantime, the best solution is to recognize that Colorado is bear country and to learn to live with the bruins as responsibly as we can, said Chick. For more information on how to reduce the risk of bear conflicts in your neighborhood, please see: wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/LivingWithBearsL1.htm
BLM Announces Strategy to Conserve Sage-Grouse and Protect Habitat
WASHINGTON – In response to requests from state and local governments to facilitate ways to conserve greater sage-grouse and protect its habitat, Bureau of Land Management scientists and managers met with state wildlife
management officials July 16 to brief them on the agency’s National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. The meeting took place at the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies summer conference in Big Sky, Mont.
The BLM strategy emphasizes a cooperative approach and provides a framework to advance efforts to implement timely conservation measures for sage-grouse and its habitat.
“The greater sage-grouse and its habitat transcend traditional jurisdictional boundaries,” BLM Director Robert Abbey said. “This strategy reflects our commitment to working with all of our partners to improve sage-grouse habitat and increase sage-grouse numbers range-wide.”
As part of the strategy, the BLM will incorporate science-based conservation measures into Resource Management Plans across regions where the greater sage-grouse is found. It will address principal threats to the sage-grouse identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within different portions of the range and work closely with Western state fish and wildlife agencies.
“We will build consistent conservation measures into land-use planning efforts including those already underway where sage-grouse are located,” Abbey said. “Most importantly, we will then implement on-the-ground actions that will benefit the species.”
As the American West has become increasingly urban over the last century, greater sage-grouse populations have declined due to the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of the sagebrush habitats essential for their survival.
Today, greater sage-grouse live in 11 Western states and occupy only 56 percent their historic habitat.
In April 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the greater sage-grouse warrants the protection of the Endangered Species Act, but it did not list the species due to a need to address other, higher-priority species first. The BLM’s goal is to provide for long-term sage-grouse
conservation, habitat protection and species improvement that would make federal Endangered Species Act protection unnecessary in the coming years.
Although the BLM manages more sage-grouse habitat than any other government agency — approximately 57 million acres — greater sage-grouse benefit from and make use of suitable habitat, regardless of land ownership boundaries.
The BLM’s approach to sage-grouse conservation acknowledges the importance of engaging all stakeholders in implementing appropriate conservation measures and will promote coordination and cooperation among agencies, states, and private land owners range-wide.
The BLM manages more land – over 245 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations, and it accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and byconserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.