Sunday, February 25, 2001
Wild turkeys make move to Middle Park
The Colorado Division of Wildlife, with the help of from more than 50 volunteers, recently released 60 wild turkeys in Middle Park, south of Kremmling to augment the wild turkey population there.
The birds were trapped west of Montrose and released the same day at the DOW Radium State Wildlife area and the Blue Valley Ranch. All the birds were fitted with radio transmitters that will allow biologists to track their movement and determine the success of the effort.
"Our population on the plateau has grown significantly over the last 10 years," commented DOW District Wildlife Manager Dale Coven in Montrose. "So we thought we'd take some of these birds to help boost the populations in Middle Park."
The DOW and the United States Air Force Academy Department of Natural Resources successfully captured 23 wild turkeys on Air Force Academy grounds Feb. 15.
The birds were released west of Grand Junction.
Hunting season 'safe' with four accidents
Colorado's 2000 hunting seasons had four firearm-related accidents, making it one of the safest hunting years in the state's history.
"While our goal is to report zero accidents, these results are very good considering that more than 500,000 hunting licenses were sold in the state last year," said Patt Dorsey, hunting education coordinator for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
DOW officials say the reduction in hunting accidents is due to a combination of factors, including mandatory hunter education courses, requirements that big-game hunters wear blaze orange and prohibitions against carrying loaded firearms in vehicles, according to the DOW.
From 1961 to 1969, Colorado had an average of nine hunting fatalities and 24 non-fatal accidents per year. In the 1990s, the hunting fatality rate dropped to 1.3 per year and the non-fatal rate dropped to 11 per year. The DOW considers a hunting fatality or accident as an incident that involves the use of a firearm or bow while hunting.
Last year's incidents included one fatal and three non-fatal accidents. The fatal accident involved a 42-year-old elk hunter from Illinois who tripped while hunting in Garfield County, causing his firearm to discharge.