David Pressgrove: Following hunters

I went to Grand Junction for a meeting this week and the 90-mile drive from Rifle to Craig took 2 hours, 45 minutes.

For you nonmath majors, that is a little more than a 30 mph average.

The traffic was backed up because of hunters making the drive to Northwest Colorado for the week's destination.

Last year I might have written a column mentioning how tiring it was to wait behind a vehicle with a horse trailer going 35 miles per hour. Then to make it more trying, every time there was room to pass, there would be another vehicle on the road going slower.

The license plates were from Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan and Texas.

Yes, they were hunters.

Last year I would have written about how amusing it was to see what was strapped on to the trailers. I saw freezers, lounge chairs, lamps and one of the trailers had a logo that said "Elkaholic." I would say there was everything but the kitchen sink, but then again I think I saw a portable sink.

I would have joked about how the mustache population in Craig suddenly has tripled.

But that would have been last year.

Last year I hadn't taken a hunter education course. Last year I hadn't bought a cow elk tag for the second season.

This year it was exciting to the see the migration toward Area 201.

The drivers dressed in their hunter-orange and camouflage meant more to me than what it meant in the past -- crowded streets and restaurants. It meant my time to learn the rights of hunting was nearing.

I don't know what to expect on my adventure. I'm trying to build up a reserve of patience. The people I spend the most time with -- my co-workers -- tend to think that I struggle with patience.

I'm a fidgety person. I'm always tapping my pen, bouncing my knee up and down and I rarely can pay attention to a conversation if it's longer than a couple of minutes. I'm not a patient person.

To sit in the same place for hours might be a challenge.

If I can manage to sit still, my ability to hit a target is the next question. In Boy Scouts I earned the rifle shooting and shotgun shooting merit badges. Requirements for the badges included shooting five groups from 50 feet that could be covered by a quarter with a rifle and hitting at least 48 percent of 50 targets with a shotgun. I earned both of those badges in fifth grade, and at that time I wore glasses. My vision hasn't improved, but I don't wear glasses now. Therefore, my aim probably isn't as good.

Hit or miss, I guess the moral of the story for me is somewhat similar to the old American Indian saying: Don't judge someone until you walk a mile in his or her moccasins.

I've been critical of hunters before, but now I want to be one.

I draw the line at the mustache though. I'll walk many miles in their shoes for a hunt, but I won't let my upper lip get too hairy.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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