Waking up before the sun rises to lie in a field of tall grass for hours at a time, while mimicking the sound of ducks and patiently waiting for them to take flight with a shotgun in hand is just one of the many hunting scenarios taking place this fall.
“Hunting — the thrill. My heart races and I give myself a motivational talk. Hiking out 12 miles without people, a place where ATV’s (All Terrain Vehicles) can’t go. I shoot to kill but if that doesn’t work, I shoot them in the head,” said Paul Hladick, a CSU alumni.
“But you hope for a clean kill. I gut and quarter the animal and pull the meat on plastic sled and put the hindquarters in my metal frame pack. Hike out with a couple hundred pounds of meat pulled along.”
From shooting ducks with a shotgun to elks with a bow or rifle, the ways to hunt are endless. The reasons, however, are rooted in sustainability.
“I don’t do it as a sport. I shoot to eat it. I try to be sustainable,” Hladick said. “I don’t believe in ATV’s when hunting. I think there is something to be said about being in nature and total solitude.”
Another reason people are so passionate about hunting is because they like knowing where their meat is coming from.
“I am a harvest hunter. I shoot to eat what I kill,” said Dan Kleinholz, a CSU alumni.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is in charge of regulating hunting, which works to maintain sustainable and ethical hunting practices.
“All hunting is population control. They give out a certain number of tags,” Kleinholz said, referring to the licenses the DOW provides, which regulate the number of deaths for a given animal species.
The division must also keep tabs on poaching in Colorado through a point system, similar to the one in place to regulate driving. If one accumulates enough points, they are sidelined from hunting for a certain number of years.
“Being an agriculture school, I would say that 60 percent of people hunt here. A lot of people grew up on farms,” said Dan Hughes, a CSU graduate. “I grew up in a large hunting based community. I was a little kid when I would go out with my dad.”
Kleinholz added, “To be an ethical hunter: one shot, one kill.”