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What's wrong with this picture?


New member
Jun 3, 2002
Colorado Springs, CO
I hunted in North Park, Colorado this year. That's one of the places where the Division of Wildlife has extended the season on un-filled cow elk tags because they think that the poor forage created by the drought will reult in lots of winter kill and range damage. The extended cow tags are good only on private land, which means they also want to reduce crop damage and the claims against the D.O.W. that will result.

All this makes sense to me until you factor in one more piece of information.

There is a wildlife refuge in the middle of North Park and camped out in plain sight from highway 125, right in the middle of the refuge, are several hundred elk, that can't be touched. The grazing is still OK on the refuge but in a month or so it will be gone and all those elk will attack the hay stacks put up by the local ranchers. Those hay stacks are already small because of the drought.

I guess that the situation will insure a sustained yield of elk because the elk currently on the refuge will certainly survive hunting season. But they will face poor forage and maybe starve as soon as the grass runs out. Some will certainly survive the winter anyway. But protecting the elk on the refuge seems to contradict the strategy of extending the season to reduce populations.

I wonder if they intend to feed the elk on the refuge. That would lure them away from private property and help them survive the winter too. We shall see.

Feeding, though neccessary in some cases, has proven to be a slippery slope! I'm not sure my feelings on this. Here in UT, there's a rancher who refuses to quit feeding the elk, causing the DWR more headaches than remedies. They are constantly having to move the elk away from a nearby highway. Feeding can be good, but... I'm suprised the DOW hasn't issued any tags for the Refuge. That seems like a better solution to me.
The DOW has gotten even more strict with their feeding, and I don't think we will see ANY feeding in the state, regardless of how bad the winter is. The reason is that concentrating the animals increases the chance of disease spreading, and with CWD now, they really want to avoid bunching them up at a food source.

I don't know what the solution is to your problem, but I doubt that all the elk in the area are on the refuge. The problem will be getting permission from landowners (as usual).


The elk were there last year too. I heard that one guy walked onto the refuge carrying only a camera and they issued a citation to him for "harassing" the elk. :(

Colorado Oak:

You're right the challenge with the extended season cow tags has been to get permission. I went knocking on doors last weekend and was successful in getting permssion to hunt on +/- 4,000 acres in the right spot. My buddy and I will leave right after Thanksgiving dinner and we will arrive after dark on Thursday. So we will have Friday and Saturday to hunt. :D

I hope that my next challenge will be to determine how to store all the elk meat. Since I've already gotten a bull elk and muley buck, my freezer will be full as soon as I get the meat back from the butcher. I may have to buy another freezer just to store the cow that I hope to get.


There seems to be some agreement that consentrating animals encourages the spread of disease, specially CWD. The view from the highway makes it look like the animals are already consentrated. So that would be an argument against feeding and in favor of Tom's idea of chasing them off the refuge.

I bet Colorado Oak is right. My guess is they will do nothing and the animals will just starve. Tha seems really stupid to me. :(

I like the idea of issuing tags for the refuge too but I bet the warm-fuzzy tree-huggers would make a big stinky noise if that happened. :mad:

KC, I'm not one with Many Idea's on what's right or wrong.. ALL I know is that I send ALL my best wishes that you play SMACK DOWN on the COW ELK !!!! YEEEEHA, Good luck to ya and I'll be thinking of you while I sit overstuffed and Hardly moving becasue Of eating to much on T-day ;)

MAke sure you take lots of pictures !!! Want to see um posted here too !!!!! Good luck...
There are now over 1,000 elk visible from the highway, hanging out in the refuge. We hunted hard on Friday and Saturday, traveling several miles each day through knee deep snow, exhausting. I found a couple sets of fresh tracks and followed them. But in each case they crossed the fence onto land where I could not hunt. We could only hunt on private land and we exhausted what we had permission for. No cows that we could find.

Had a great time anyway. This hunt was just something extra that I had never counted on and it was much better than hanging around the house and putting up Christmas decorations.

Found a grove of limber pines growing out of a rocky ridge. What beautiful place.

I have enough room in my freezer to store the meat from the bull and buck that I got earlier. So I don't have to buy another freezer. There's always a silver lining.

Isn't that great to just see that many elk all at once..LOL...
I was also able to give away all my extra, I was looking at having to buy an extra freeze also, but found willing people that would like the extra meat, so kept me from having to spend the money on one also..I think this next year I will get another though, then I can split up the red meat from the vegetable matter and white meat... :D
KC,glad you had a good time anyway.
We have places here in Idaho that same type of thing happen's.
The animals hang out where they know there safe.
Makes for a frustrating time for sure.
The (to feed or not to feed) is a hot topic around here as well.

Im not sure how I feel about it ,but it makes is hard to look at a bunch of animals starving to death.
I remember one year driving around Garden Valley Idaho,and seeing all the dead elk & deer.
Guy's were picking up large set's of antlers from the dead bull's,other's had picture's of dead or dying elk.
There was alot talk on the pro's and con's of feeding them.
Ah, better luck next time, KC. I'm going to try my hand at it in about three weeks. The season started yesterday.

This is the time the game dept. needs to step in and have a predation hunt, and cull out alot of these animals to make it easier for the rest to make it thru the winter. But no, they would stick by there rules, like they were written in stone. :mad:
Sorry you didn't score KC. Look on the bright side you saved money on a new freezer.

Good luck Oak. Don't forget the pictures.

To feed or not to feed is debate that has been going on around here for quite some time now. Like any program, there are good points and bad points and no right answer to this.
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