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Hunting in Colorado: 5 Invasive Species to Colorado and Its Rules for Hunting Them

By    |   Friday, 22 May 2015 08:48 PM

Anyone hunting in Colorado could come in contact with invasive species and hunters should report any findings to the Department of Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Invasive species are those plants, animals, insects, or diseases that enter a foreign ecosystem and create harmful conditions. They are often accidently brought into an area and they disrupt the balance of nature.

Because they have no predators, invasive species can reproduce very quickly and rob the native species of vital resources. In Colorado most invaders are plants and animals that invade lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. The Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) include the following five invasive species:

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1. New Zealand Mudsnails


They consume vegetation, upsetting the balance of nature in aquatic settings. The mudsnail can be as small as a grain of sand, up to 1/8 of an inch in length. They have a cone shaped shell with five whirls. They live in any body of water, and one mudsnail can start a huge population!

2. Rusty Crayfish

They were brought into the state by fishermen who used them as bait. They live in lakes and ponds, and also in moving streams. They eat many aquatic species, including plants, worms, snails, insects, and even small fish. ​They pose threats to native crayfish and several fish.

3. Waterfleas

They are crustaceans that are very different from fleas found on pets. They do not live outside of the water, and they are found most commonly in temperate freshwater. Waterfleas are only about three millimeters long and can pass through the digestive tracts of fish. They compete with young fish for food, and pose a long-term threat to many species.

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4. Zebra Mussels

Zebras are characterized by their bivalve shells (2), which are somewhat triangular in shape.

5. Quagga Mussels

Quaggas are also bivalve, but with rounded edges to their shells. These mussels can be transported by trailered boats and other watercraft and they can live several days out of the water. Boat inspections are designed to combat the spread of these species.

Although not officially listed as invasive species, other species are of concern to Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife. These include European starlings, English or house sparrows, feral pigeons, feral hogs, and Eurasian collared-doves. A small game license is required to hunt them, but many of these are legal to hunt year round.

Quick action is needed to stop the spread of any of these species, so sightings or questions should be directed to the CPW Invasive Species Coordinator at (303) 291-7362.

This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.

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Anyone hunting in Colorado could come in contact with invasive species and hunters should report any findings to the Department of Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Invasive species are plants, animals, insects, or diseases that are harmful to foreign ecosystems.
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Friday, 22 May 2015 08:48 PM
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