The thrill of the hunt | PostIndependent.com

The thrill of the hunt

Brittany Markert
Grand junction Free Press
After seven years of training and hunting with a bow, Victoria Paxton finally hit a buck for the first time this hunting season.
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BIG GAME HUNTING SEASON

ARCHERY

Deer/elk (west of I-25 and Unit 140): Aug. 29 through Sept. 27

Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140) — Oct. 1-23, Nov. 4-30, Dec. 15-31

Moose: Sept. 12–27

Pronghorn (bucks only): Aug. 15-31

Pronghorn (either sex): Sept. 1-20

MUZZLELOADER (BY DRAW ONLY)

Deer/elk/moose: Sept. 12-20

Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140): Oct. 10-18

Pronghorn: Sept. 21-29

RIFLE DEER/ELK/MOOSE

Moose: Oct. 1-14

Separate limited elk (First season): Oct. 10-14, combined (deer/elk), (second season) Oct. 17-25, (third season) Oct. 31-Nov.8, combined limited (deer/elk) (fourth season) Nov. 11-15

Plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140): Oct. 24-Nov. 3

Late plains deer (east of I-25, except Unit 140): Dec. 1-14

RIFLE PRONGHORN (BY DRAW ONLY)

Pronghorn: Oct. 3–9

BLACK BEAR

Rifle limited (by draw): Sept. 2-30

Archery (over-the-counter with caps): Sept. 2-30

Muzzleloading (over-the-counter with caps): Sept. 12-20

Rifle (over-the-counter with caps) concurrent with deer/elk rifle seasons

AVOID COMMON HUNTING VIOLATIONS

Following are some of the more common violations that occur every year:

Not wearing fluorescent orange: You must wear at least 500 inches of daylight fluorescent orange, including a head covering of the same color that can be seen from all directions. Mesh garments are legal but not recommended. Camouflage orange does not qualify.

Carrying loaded firearms in or on vehicles: Rifles must not have ammunition in the chamber while in or on any motor vehicles. For those riding OHVs, weapons (rifles and bows) must also be in a closed case and fully unloaded (chamber and magazine). Most accidents involving firearms occur in or near vehicles.

Shooting from a road: Before firing a shot, you must be at least 50 feet off of a designated state or county road, and just off forest service or BLM roads. You also cannot shoot across a road.

License not voided: After you kill an animal, you must void the license immediately.

Improperly attached carcass tag: The carcass tag must be attached to the animal. The best way is to cut a hole in the hide and attach with a tie. It is OK to wait until you get the animal back to camp or to your vehicle to attach the carcass tag.

No evidence of sex: Be sure to leave evidence of sex naturally attached to the carcass. Evidence includes the head, the vulva or the scrotum.

Waste of game meat: Big game meat can begin to spoil at 38 degrees. To keep the carcass cool, remove the hide as soon as possible after the kill to allow for air to circulate around the meat. Reduce the mass of the carcass by quartering the meat or boning out the meat. Place the meat in a cooler as soon as possible. Even in cold weather, a carcass should not hang outside for more than 36 hours. Remember: Because game meat contains very little fat, it cannot be aged like beef. The so-called “gamey taste” is caused by spoilage, not because the animal is wild. To learn how to field dress a big game animal, see the video at: http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/HuntVideos.aspx.

Shooting a spike-antlered elk: Hunters who hold a cow elk tag sometimes shoot spike bulls. Be sure of your target. If you are shooting at a long distance or in low light conditions, it can be difficult to see spike antlers. If you are not absolutely sure, do not shoot.

Illegally tagging an animal: You can only place a tag on an animal that you shot. You cannot trade tags with other license holders, or use tags of other license holders.

Source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The weather is cooling down, football games are kicking off, and school is back in session, it only means one thing — hunting season is back. Victoria Paxton was an avid hunter for three decades using a gun. She decided to take up bow hunting with her husband seven years ago. After five seasons of unsuccessful hunts, she finally got her first buck this year.

“I’m so excited to finally get one with a bow,” Paxton said.

She and her husband start practicing two months before each season to make sure their equipment and aiming is in fair shape. They also work out extensively with their gear to prepare for the hours of trekking in back country.

The Paxtons have been hunting for not only the sport, but to also provide meat for their family for the year.

In addition to deer they also hunt mountain goats, bears, ducks and turkey with guns.

“I’m a stay at home mom so I am able to put food on the table,” Paxton said. “I know that I was the one to put food there.”

Paxton noted that she focuses on hitting her target rather than an animal, which helped calm her nerves when she got her buck.

“You have to be prepared not just physically, but mentally as well,” she said.

TIPS FOR ALL HUNTERS

The Paxtons have not only hunted around Grand Junction, but also in high-elevation locations. They encourage folks interested in hunting in high altitudes to scout the areas prior to the start of the season, be prepared for unexpected weather changes and begin working out at the gym if possible.

“My husband had be on a stair climber an hour a day to prepare,” Paxton said. “It takes everything out of you to climb a mountain, but it’s very rewarding. You have to take the whole terrain seriously.”

She added they hunted mountain goat at 13,000 feet elevation, which adds to the mental game of hunting. She also used the stair climbing machine in her hunting boots since it creates a more in-field experience once on the mountain.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, heavy snowfall can occur in September and high-country hunters need to watch weather closely and should pick an escape route before a campsite.

Hunters should also carry a survival kit and know how to use it in case of becoming lost.

“Survival experts explain that survival is 80 percent attitude, 10 percent equipment and 10 percent skill and knowledge,” CPW said in a news release.

Paxton recommends to bring extra rain gear and not to “take lightning for granted.” If lightning is present it’s best to head back to safety.

Scouting the area is also key for hunters, Paxton said. Knowing where you will hunt will help to ease the nerves when the time comes to hit a target.

CPW added hunting in the wrong game management unit can be costly not only because you will be fined, but will also lose the meat harvested.


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