by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO- Hunters move into and through this area in droves at this time of year. They are good for business, and understanding their quest certainly makes you thankful for your nice warm bed at daybreak and the quarter-beef in the freezer.
On Oct. 9, I saw something I had never seen, and will probably never see again. There was a muddy pickup truck parked on the shoulder of Highway 160 with an ATV in the back and two or three hunters sitting in the front seat. I couldn’t tell how many guys because the windshield was ALL SMASHED UP. Yep, it looked like someone’s wife wasn’t too happy about him going hunting and she took a baseball bat to it; however, he, not being easily dissuaded, decided to go anyway. I am NOT making this up; you can check with the Colorado State patrolman who had the guy pulled over. And I’m sure he too was wondering how and why the driver had been driving it. Was the passenger hanging out the window, ears flapping and tongue lolling like a wind choked beagle, hollering directions to the driver? – “A little to the left, a little to the right. Aw man, there’s a cop.”
On the other hand, it is not surprising to see a pickup with a large rack rising out of the bed of the truck. There are also trailers loaded with coolers, sleeping bags and ATVs. These hunters are going to thin out the deaf animals from the herd. Interestingly, the ATVs are painted with camouflage colors . . . but they still make noise, don’t they? The suspense must be terrible for the elk. They hear this roaring (ok maybe puttering) noise, and then they hang around to see what it is. NOT. “Hey, Wilbur, do you hear that roaring noise?”. . . “Actually Del, it’s more of a puttering, but let’s get outta here.”
If you hunt long enough, you will learn that deer and elk have calendars and that they KNOW the dates of their particular season. This results in many hunters saying, “Well, now that it’s deer season, all I see are elk.” As a matter of fact, this is a universal lament, and hunters can just fill in the blanks: “Now that it’s ___ season, all I see are ___.”
It is also obvious that deer and elk can read, at least when it comes to signs that say POSTED – NO HUNTING. They know this means, “Come on in. Plenty of food. No guns. No noisy ATVs and no trucks with smashed windshields.”