Officers prepare for hunting season

The Moffat County Sheriff's Department is gearing up for the onslaught of hunters that will take over Craig later this month.

The first rifle season starts Saturday and so does the work for the Sheriff's Department, according to Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg.

"We don't get a lot of problems early on, during the archery and muzzleloading seasons, but things do pick up when we get the influx of hunters for the rifle seasons," Hoberg said.

The most common call for the Sheriff's Department is reports of trespassing. Hoberg believes that with a little common sense most of these calls can be avoided.

"The law says that you have to know where you're at," said Hoberg. "It is the hunter's responsibility. If hunters would get maps and study them, it's not that hard to know the property where they are hunting."

Other calls that increase drastically include poaching (illegally killing wild game) and search and rescue calls.

Most of the time the responsibility for poaching calls is handled by the Division of Wildlife (DOW), but during the rifle seasons it becomes impossible for the DOW to manage all the calls that come in, so the Sheriff's Department essentially becomes back-up to the DOW and will handle any calls the DOW can't.

Search and rescue operations are much like the trespassing calls because most of them could be prevented with a little common sense.

"People don't come prepared," said Hoberg. "People should have maps, a compass, proper clothing and a survival kit. We go into classes and teach kids to hug a tree if they are lost, but adults refuse to listen."

Last year a man who shot an elk got lost on his way back to camp and wandered from the sawmill camp ground to Slater Park before the Sheriff's Department found him. He covered about 15 miles.

"If he would have just stayed with the elk he had shot we would have found him much earlier," Hoberg said.

Some of the calls the Sheriff's Department receives during the rifle seasons are a little strange.

There was a man last year who shot the horse from under his guide and a man who had a cow elk tag, shot a doe mule deer and tried to convince one of the deputies it was an elk. Hoberg's personal favorite hunting call is the man who called the Sheriff's Department from a cell phone in Taylor Park saying he was lost.

"He could see Craig from where he was calling from," said Hoberg.

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