Wet Meadow Restoration: Greater Sage Grouse in NW Colorado

Early September the PF Seed Program, helped sponsor a project to restore riparian and wet meadow habitat near the town of Craig in northwestern Colorado. Pheasants Forever Working Lands for Wildlife Biologists from Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah all participated in the event organized by the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, NRCS/PF-Working Lands for Wildlife, Bio-Logic, Wildland Restoration Volunteers (WRV), and Visintainer Sheep Co, where the project took place.

Wet meadows, or mesic areas, contain crucial brood-rearing habitat for the Greater Sage Grouse and host numerous benefits to other wildlife and livestock. In these sagebrush rangelands of northwestern Colorado elk and mule deer along with neo-tropical migratory birds use these wet meadows at some point throughout the year. Over time the meadows have been damaged by erosion and lower water tables altered by drought, intense rain events, and a changing climate.

Using simple but innovative techniques derived from restoration guru Bill Zeedyk the group was able to start restoring the meadow with rock, or “Zeedyk” structures. The goal with these structures is to raise the water table, slow erosion, and support a diversity of plants and insects. These wet meadows are crucial to the Greater Sage Grouse as within the first few weeks of being hatched chicks need high protein insects to survive into adolescence and these mesic areas provide this excellent habitat. The wet meadows also allow plants to stay green, and grow later in the season, providing excellent forage for elk, deer, and livestock. Since soil disturbance is an integral facet of the rock structure implementation the PF Seed Program was able to provide a native pollinator forb seed mix in and around these structures to promote greater insect pollinator activity, providing excellent early brood rearing habitat for Greater Sage Grouse. The South Denver Metro Pheasants Forever Chapter of Colorado donated the seed and PF Chapters in CO help contribute to our private land’s biologist program ensuring that projects like these continue to grow.

Dozens of volunteers were mentored and led by Bob Timberman of USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Shawn Conner of Bio-Logic, Brian Holmes of CO Parks & Wildlife, William Vieth of Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, and Rebecca Burton a Working Lands for Wildlife Biologist with Pheasants Forever/NRCS. Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, a Colorado based non-profit who organizes volunteers to work on conservation projects in Colorado and southern Wyoming, was an integral component of the project as they organized and provided the manpower to make quite an impact. The Covid-19 pandemic brought additional challenges implementing the project, but by limiting the group size to 25 volunteers per day, maintaining social distancing of 6+ feet whenever possible, and wearing masks while working in close proximities allowed to make it a reality.

Throughout the 4-day event almost 50 structures were built, new partnerships developed, and numerous encounters with the Greater Sage Grouse to the point where a few were able to harvest this iconic bird on surrounding public lands. Special thanks goes out to all the partners involved while Pheasants Forever looks forward to other opportunities of wet meadow restoration in the West.

Sites were selected down a major drainage on the property where piles of rocks from a local quarry were staged for the event.
Shawn Conner of Bio-Logic, (far right), explains the proper method for building the rock structures.
Left to Right: Annelyse Matzinger and Rebecca Burton of Pheasants Forever mask up as they put finishing touches on a rock rundown structure.
Left to Right: Brian Holmes of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Bob Timberman of USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program led this effort by selecting project sites, landowner relations, and inclusion of partners.
Left to Right: Jason LeVan, Michael Peyton, Larry Glassburn (WRV volunteer), Rebecca Burton, Annaelyse Matzinger, and Charlie Holtz of Pheasants Forever were grateful to assist on this unique opportunity.
Multiple forb species growing throughout the wet meadow whereby adding a diverse native pollinator seed mix in and amongst the rock structures will help ensure forb integration after project disturbance has ceased.
Western yarrow pokes through rocks where after applying the native forb seed mix this fall will promote greater diversity of pollinator species that bloom throughout the growing season, providing insect rich habitat for Wester Sage Grouse.
Left to Right: Pheasants Forever Biologists Jason LeVan of Lander, WY – Michael Peyton of Tremonton, UT, – Rebecca Burton of Craig, CO, – Charlie Holtz and Annelyse Matzinger of Vernal, Utah take a breather after building a “Zuni bowl”.
Left to Right-Pheasants Forever Biologists Michael Peyton, Jason LeVan, and Charlie Holtz mid-day before all three were able to harvest Greater Sage Grouse, which was a first for Jason and Charlie.

Morgan County Pheasants Forever – Sporting Clays Shoot

Join us on Saturday, April 18, 2020 on 8604 County Road 6, Wiggins, CO

Call, email or register online at www.morgancountypf.org by April 13th
Early Bird Registration Drawing for Case of Shotgun Shells, April 1st deadline
Tim Amen, 970-380-8281, Tim.Amen79@gmail.com
Scott Bryan, 970-380-4854, Scottbr2@msn.com

Check-in time opens 8:30 am, Team instructions 9:30 am, First Station 10:00 am,
Luncheon and Games for Shooters and Non-Shooters 12:00 noon.

Table, Station, and Course Sponsorships available—See Sponsorship Opportunities
Shooter price $500/4 person team, $625 5 person team, $125/Individual shooter
All includes lunch and PF Household Memberships
Non-Shooters Lunch Only and Membership $50, additional meals $25

The lunch event will include many of our traditional games including the ever-popular shotshell drawing, dog tag drawing, card draw, and silent auction items. We encourage non-shooters to attend!

Click here to register

Corners for Conservation (C4C)

Are you new to the state? Need information about where to hunt upland game in Colorado? Want to know about Pheasant’s Forever’s contribution to conservation and hunting access?

Great! The best program (in my mind) for the combination of information to answer those questions is found in the descriptions of the Corners 4 Conservation (C4C). C4C is a partnership between Pheasant’s Forever, farmers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Natural Resources Conservation service, High Plains Land Conservancy, and Muley Fanatics to create habitat for birds, bees, bucks, & butterflies that helps farmers make their land more profitable and gives the public open access for hunting! What a win for everyone, especially the wildlife.

SO, if you need hunting access, want to see PF at work through their wildlife biologists, or want to see conservation at it’s best, get yourself a booklet showing where the walk-in acres are. Those can be found free at your local sporting goods stores. Or better yet, follow these links for more information at the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website. See you in the field.

https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Brochure/LateCropland.pdf#search=corners%20for%20conservation https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Commission/2017/March/Item_20-PowerPoint-Corners_Conservation-MArch2017-PWCMtg.pdf#search=corners%20for%20conservation

2019 Colorado Pheasants Forever Banquet Schedule

2019 Fall Banquet Schedule for CO PF

Opening Weekend of Pheasant Season

  • November 8– Northeast CO PF (Sterling) Amber 970-466-9455
  • November 9 – Phillips County PF (Holyoke) Gary 970-520-1154
  • November 9 – Yuma County PF (Yuma) Matt 970-630-0250
  • November 9 – Southeast CO PF (Lamar) Kevin 719-688-9866
  • November 9 – Baca County PF (Springfield) Tara 719-353-1582

For more information contact Bob Hix 303-743-8957 Bhix@pheasantsforever.org

Pikes Peak Pheasants / Quail Forever 2019 Youth Outreach and Chukar Hunt

Pikes Peak Pheasants / Quail Forever wants to invite all Youth ages 10 – 16 years of age (Young Ladies and Gentlemen) to come enjoy a great day in the outdoors. Come participate in our 2019 Youth Outreach and Chukar Hunt; get registered now as there are limited spaces available.

Planned Activities:

  • Orientation on Gun Safety
  • Field Safety and Awareness
  • Safety of Hunting with Dogs
  • Trap Shooting
  • Hunting Chukar in the field
  • Cleaning and Preparing the birds harvested
  • Fishing
  • Archery
  • 22 cal. Shooting Range

Lunch is provided. We are asking a $5.00 donation per adult lunch.

Shotguns are available. Bring sunscreen and a jacket / rain coat; you never know what the weather will be like.

Click here for more details

Northern Colorado Pheasants Forever – Youth Event – Sept. 21, 2019

Youth ages 9 to 18 are invited to join us for a fun filled day of shooting, hunting, archery, and more!  The day includes trap shooting with shotguns, target shooting with 22s, archery, and a LIVE PHEASANT HUNT!  No experience necessary; we’re here to teach you about the great outdoors.  Please bring a responsible adult with you. Lunch is included. 

When: Saturday, September 21, 2019, 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Where: Great Guns, 16126 Weld County Rd 96, Nunn, CO 80648  

Click here to REGISTER today!

Northern Colorado Pheasants Forever – Ladies Event – Oct 5, 2019

Women 18 and older are invited join us for a fun filled day of shooting, hunting, archery, and more!  The day includes trap shooting with shotguns, target shooting with 22s, archery, and a LIVE PHEASANT HUNT!  No experience necessary; we’re here to teach you about the great outdoors.  Lunch is included. 

When: Saturday, October 5, 2019 , 8am-3pm

Where: Great Guns, 16126 Weld County Rd 96
Nunn, CO 80648

Click here to REGISTER today!

Young Hunters Take Aim at Ballyneal Shooting Event

Max Levy, The Holyoke Enterprise

Phillips County Pheasants Forever

Grace Roberts of Holyoke participates in an activity during the Phillips County Pheasants Forever youth hunt March 16. — Dale Berg

Sponsored by Phillips County Pheasants Forever and Ballyneal Golf Club, a group of seven youths trekked out to the Ballyneal hunting grounds last Saturday, March 16, for a day of supervised hunting fun.

Besides having all previously attended hunter safety courses, Phillips County Pheasants Forever youth chairman Tom Olson said the 12- through 16-year-olds brought various levels of experience to the hunt.

All attendees were still able to participate in two rounds of shooting, where chukars, a type of gamebird, were planted and then flushed out by a dog for them to target.

Olson said youth hunts put on by Pheasants Forever give kids an introductory understanding of the sport, including the role of hunters in conservation and habitat preservation.

“Our first mission is habitat, and the second is youth development,” he said. “It’s all about introducing kids to this type of hunting with a real emphasis on safety.”

Olson also acknowledged the value of Ballyneal offering the grounds for the club’s use.

“They couldn’t have been more gracious or helpful in hosting for us,” he said.

In addition to the seven young hunters, nine parents and volunteers attended, as well as Pheasants Forever farm bill biologist Chrissy Rhodes.

The day started out with breakfast and a presentation by Rhodes on habitat, followed by a trip to the shooting range where participants shot clay targets in preparation for the hunt.

Click here to read more!

2019 ISE Show

Here are some photos from the most recent 2019 ISE Show!

Colorado Pheasants Forever | 2019 ISE Show

Colorado Pheasants Forever | 2019 ISE Show

Colorado Pheasants Forever | 2019 ISE Show

Colorado Pheasants Forever | 2019 ISE Show

Northern Colorado Pheasants Forever Ladies Outdoor Day – 4/20/2019

Join us on April 20 for Northern Colorado Pheasants Forever Ladies Outdoor Day. Women 18 and older are invited join us for a fun filled day of shooting, hunting, archery, and more! The day includes trap shooting with shotguns, target shooting with 22s, archery, and a LIVE PHEASANT HUNT! No experience necessary; we’re here to teach you about the great outdoors. Lunch is included.