Brent Nations thinks he is the luckiest hunter in Colorado.
Nations won the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's extra license raffle about a week ago and he is more than happy -- he's elated.
"To me this is better than winning the state lottery," Nations said.
The license allows him to hunt a bull elk in any season, in any area in Colorado with the weapon of his choice.
"If I were to guess at the dollar value, I'd put it at around $15,000 ---- for me it is the opportunity of a lifetime" he said.
Nations owns B and B Welder Supply. An avid hunter, he moved here from Cortez 15 years ago. For the last three years he has bought chances on the RMEF raffle. This year he bought one of the 1,000 tickets sold.
"I never thought I would win. I buy the tickets to help support the (Rocky Mountain) Elk Foundation," he said.
Nations was out of town when the drawing took place. His wife, and hunting partner, Debbie received the call.
"I was thrilled and knew he would be even more so," she said. "We are a total hunting family. We will all go on this hunt," Debbie said.
Both of the Nations' children, Molly, 8 and Casey, 6, travel along on the hunting trips. Each has spent time in blinds on turkey hunts and has experienced dressing out animals.
"They're a little young for the state hunter safety class but not too young to learn about the rules, sportsmanship and respect for the outdoors," Nations said.
Nations has been an archery hunter for the last 20 years and begins practicing in late June. He is extremely successful with bagging large bulls. But, for this drawing license Nations is considering using a rifle.
"This is a once-in-a-life time opportunity and challenge. I think I want to go for the biggest and best I can find," he said.
According to Sue Syvertson, raffle chair for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, this is the third year the Craig/Steamboat chapter has sponsored the drawing. The non-profit foundation gives the Colorado Dept. of Wildlife 20 percent of the ticket sales and keeps the remainder for their many wildlife projects.
"The raffle is one our fund raising events," Syvertson said.
There are two chapters in this area. One in the Craig/Steamboat area and another separate chapter based out of Meeker. Syvertson estimated there are about 1,000 members in the Craig/Steamboat group. She said the group was elated that a local hunter won the raffle.
"It makes it so exciting when you know the hunter that wins. It just makes the whole raffle more exciting."