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According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife Small Game Coordinator Ed Gorman, the 2017-18 eastern Colorado pheasant season could be the second best hunt on record. And given that the survey results suggesting this forecast goes back to 1954, that’s saying a lot!
The survey at issue is the call-count or the number of male (rooster) morning calls (or crows) recorded late in the summer that identifies the population of rooster pheasants in a given area.
“We think the hunting will be as good as last year and quite possibly better, “Gorman said. Eastern state moisture has been better than normal and damaging hail storms have been minimal, contributing to a marked recovery from severe drought years of 2012 and 2013.
The encouraging pheasant population forecast and improved habitat conditions will most likely draw more hunters in the field. Colorado hunters always deal to some degree with competition in seeking hunting sites. However, much to the credit of the state wildlife commission establishing the state wildlife areas and the walk-in access lands, finding hunting areas is less of a challenge than in earlier decades.
The state 2017 Small Game Walk-in Atlas and Late Cropland Atlas offer considerable options for public hunting. Both references can be found in outdoors sports shops, where hunting licenses are sold and and the state parks and wildlife offices. State wildlife Areas number 350 and total 900,000 acres. While not all SWA have pheasants or pheasant habitat, some do and they warrant a review for pheasant hunting opportunities.
Gorman reported the state has 180,000 acres of land enrolled in the walk-in program. Unfortunately the popular CRP (conservation reserve program) acres have diminished by 15,000 acres in Colorado. Offsetting some of this loss habitat
is the good work of the various Pheasants Forever Chapters that have added cover habitat and expanded acres within the sprinkler corners conservation initiative.
The pheasant season coincides with the fall farm harvests and hunters are urged to be sensitive in not creating conflicting situations for the farmers. Remember that permission is required on all private land except the walk-in program acres. Do not impede the farm harvest operation when approaching the farmer for permission. Be mindful of potential fire dangers when in the fields and be considerate of farm traffic when parking vehicles on access roads.
2017-18 holds promise for a better pheasant year, prepare carefully for the season that opened Nov. 11 and extends to Jan. 31, 2018.
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