No matter how you measure summer, it starts to wane somewhere, sometime, in July.
Maybe the weather doesn’t quite say autumn is on the way, but the upland hunter’s mind begins to turn just a bit toward autumn – getting the dog out more, shooting a few rounds, patching up those boots and brush pants, placing that ammo order … and dreaming about splendid roosters erupting into a blue autumn sky.
It’s never too early to dream. Or to start planning autumn’s excursions and adventures. That’s why I surveyed key wildlife managers in the ten of the top pheasant states to see what was going on with the birds right now. While the biologists are careful to hold predictions close to their vests until official roadside surveys and the like are in, it’s also far enough along to take an early look.
Read on. Dream on. Start getting ready. Here's the report from Colorado.
“Weather has been fair to good in the northeast part of the state,” reports Ed Gorman, Small Game Manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). “The area was mostly dry over the winter, but did receive decent rainfall through May and early June. Late June and July have dried out to some degree. Pheasant survival and hatch should be close to average for the area.”
“In southeast Colorado, the weather has been very dry since roughly September of 2017, with severe drought in many locations,” Gorman says. “It is very likely that dry conditions impacted the hatch and certainly chick survival in the southeast.”
“Pheasant habitat is in fair to good shape in the northeast portion of Colorado,” says Gorman, “and as one would expect, habitat quality is reduced in southeast Colorado due to dry conditions.”
“Colorado Pheasants Forever chapters and CPW have completed year 3 of the Corners for Conservation initiative,” says Gorman. “Approximately 310 corners have been seeded to high diversity warm season grass and wildflower mixes. The 2016 and 2017 plantings are largely established, providing excellent nesting and brood rearing cover, while 2018 corners are in various states of establishment across the project range.”
“All corners are required to be enrolled in CPW's Walk-In Access Program,” adds Gorman. “Some acres of Upland SAFE CRP were planted last fall and this spring, and are providing excellent brood habitat currently.”
“It is very diffficult to predict the hunting season right now," says Gorman. 'What harvest is largely complete, although a few fields are still in progress. Reports have been mixed in terms of brood observations, with landowners reporting a fair number of broods but possibly smaller than normal broods."