Kristen Lodge – Outdoor enthusiasts should learn about hunting
September 17, 2009
I’ve lived in ski towns for the last 10 years. I’ve known many hunters but have never hunted; and I have never held a gun.
When I lived in Maine there was no hunting on Sunday so I knew I could hike on the trails behind my house and not worry about hunters. Since I moved to Granby, in the fall I hike with my dogs on the trails of SolVista and never even think about hunters since it is private land.
But now that I’ve started backpacking again, venturing out to the national forest and biking on the trails in Fraser and Winter Park, I need to be more aware. I need to know the rules.
Kirk Oldham, District Wildlife Manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife told me that the Byers Peak and Indian Peaks areas are busy at the beginning of the season until the game moves. Hikers and mountain bikers frequently ask him if hunters are allowed in the Fraser Experimental Forest.
“Hunters are permitted to hunt on all public land. The Experimental Forest is public land,” he said.
Hunting also is allowed in wilderness areas except in Rocky Mountain National Park. Hunters, hikers, and mountain bikers must follow the same trail use rules.
Hunters may be on horse or mountain bike since many of the trails do not allow motorized vehicles. I’ve never seen a hunter on a mountain bike, but Kirk said they are out there.
After understanding the rules I want to know the female perspective.
I met Kris Lowers of Hot Sulphur and asked her: What is it about hunting? What makes you want to go out and hunt?
“It’s meat in my freezer. My husband is a big hunter and I love spending time in the woods with him. I like to imagine that I’m in a place that no other person has been,” she said.
As an avid mountain biker, too, she is aware of hunters in the woods and will not bike where she might ruin someone’s hunt.
People I have known who’ve hunted come home smelling of the outdoors; that wonderful combination of earth, crushed leaves, fresh air, and sweat. They would tell me stories of their day: the one that got away, the one that was so close, and how they walked a hundred miles in a foot of snow.
So what do you do when you don’t fish or hunt, and live where Outdoor Life Magazine says is the 14th best hunting and fishing town in America?
You listen to people who are passionate about wildlife and being outdoors with their families. You learn that hunters want the same great outdoor experience the rest of us do. They camp and sleep on the ground and they love telling stories after a day in the woods, just like I do.
And maybe, just maybe, you take the Hunter’s Education Class to learn how to hunt.
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