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Location: Denver, CO
Joined: 02/13/2011
Posts: 19
Colorado drought and elk

Colorado has been experiencing pretty extreme drought this year, on top of record heat. The terrible wildfires should be a big clue that this weather is both unusual and severe. Much of the front range is under Stage II fire restriction, meaning that even shooting is banned on public land except in designated areas.

I can't imagine this kind of weather bodes well for big game given that rainfall is rather important for growing the types of grasses and vegetation that elk normally feed on.  Elk, especially the older ones, devote a significant amount of nutrition to growing large large antlers, and it seems that without as much vegetation available growth will probably be comprimised. Will this mean that we wont see the quality of elk that normally roam the high country this year? A saving grace might be better rainfall in July and August, especially in the high country as it normally occurs at this time of year. Does anyone have experience with drought like this before and it's effects on big game?

Critter's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3987
I don't believe that drought

I don't believe that drought has as much effect on the big game animals as a lot of people think.  If there is a water hole on the mountain the deer and elk will know where it is located.  I think that one thing that you might notice is going to be smaller antlers on the animals this year but seeing as the antler growth is in the spring and early summer of the year they might not be as affected this year as I might think, but if we continue with another dry winter and next year is the same it might start to affect it.  That along with the fawn and calfs survival rates just may go down in the next year due to more competion for the water that is left. 

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 893
I'm not worried too much.

I'm not worried too much. It's still pretty lush where i'm hunting. Now we're getting the afternoon storms everyday to keep it that way. Here's some pictures I took a few weeks ago. Check out the last page too. I went back up a few days later, and saw a moose at the water hole.

http://www.eastmans.com/forum/showthread.php/2897-Scouting

 

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Location: Denver, CO
Joined: 02/13/2011
Posts: 19
pics

Still Hunter wrote:

I'm not worried too much. It's still pretty lush where i'm hunting. Now we're getting the afternoon storms everyday to keep it that way. Here's some pictures I took a few weeks ago. Check out the last page too. I went back up a few days later, and saw a moose at the water hole.

http://www.eastmans.com/forum/showthread.php/2897-Scouting

 

Very nice pics. How high up is that?

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 893
lush

tempest101 wrote:

Still Hunter wrote:

I'm not worried too much. It's still pretty lush where i'm hunting. Now we're getting the afternoon storms everyday to keep it that way. Here's some pictures I took a few weeks ago. Check out the last page too. I went back up a few days later, and saw a moose at the water hole.

http://www.eastmans.com/forum/showthread.php/2897-Scouting

 

Very nice pics. How high up is that?

 

A little over 11.000ft. Almost to timberline.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
more concerned with

I'm more concerned with the drought messing with my waterfowl hunts rather than my two biggame hunts this fall.  From what I've seen this summer there appears to have been an explosion in births of calfs and fawn this past spring.  Maybe explosion isn't the right word, but definitely there was a boom in births. Attrition and survival rates will be the factor.

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Joined: 08/25/2012
Posts: 6
drought no big deal now since

drought no big deal now since monsoons filled it all in.

fire is actually good thing.  fire creates the open area that suculent grasses fill in.  nearly all the fires are on front range, tho durango had some and i would look hard at those places for elk to move into, especially early season.

 

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Joined: 08/25/2012
Posts: 6
drought no big deal now since

drought no big deal now since monsoons filled it all in.

fire is actually good thing.  fire creates the open area that suculent grasses fill in.  nearly all the fires are on front range, tho durango had some and i would look hard at those places for elk to move into, especially early season.

 

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