Diane Prather: You know it’s hunting season when …

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Diane Prather

This time of year, some of the area ranchers are involved in hunting season, whether it’s through leasing out private land for hunting or through outfitting.

One thing’s for sure: With all of the other fall work to get done, the ranchers keep busy.

There are so many different seasons nowadays that it’s hard to keep them all straight.

However, there are ways that you can tell if a hunting season is in progress. Consider the following.

You know it’s hunting season when:

• Orange is the predominant color.

• Driving by public and private lands, one sees what appears to be dots of orange walking around on the hillsides.

• Some of the vehicles on the highway are pulling trailers loaded with 4-wheelers.

• The driver and passenger in a pickup truck are wearing orange vests and caps.

• One notices that business is brisk at area processing plants.

• The parking lots in public hunting areas are filled up with vehicles.

• One can overhear talk (at grocery stores, the post office, restaurants and other public places) as to the status of big-game animals.

• The snowy weather right before a season begins, bringing hope that the elk will come down from the high country, suddenly changes, and it’s sunny and warm again.

• There are many more vehicles than usual with out-of-state license plates.

• Men in camouflage clothing are shopping at grocery stores, their carts heaped with food.

• The canned chili bean shelves at the grocery store are bare.

• Vehicles pull stock trailers loaded with horses.

• Hunters can be seen in area gift shops, looking for presents to take back home.

• The Division of Wildlife vehicles are parked at hunting areas.

• Private landowners are nailing up “No Trespassing” signs.

• Signs are up in downtown businesses, welcoming hunters.

• Vehicles on the highway are loaded with antlers.

• Restaurants open earlier than usual for breakfast.

• There’s more part-time work in restaurants, motels and processing plants.

• It’s not unusual for a pickup truck to suddenly stop on the highway because hunters are checking out deer/elk in a field along the road.

• Area motels are booked.

• National forest campgrounds are over-filled with trailers and tents.

• People are asking, “Where are the elk?” But, only the elk know.

• Barrels have been set out for wildlife hides.

• Sounds of gunshots can be heard in the distance.

• Area stores have set up displays of souvenir items, such as mugs, shirts and calendars.

• The parking lot at the grocery store is full of pickup trucks that pull flatbed trailers or campers.

• The best day to do your shopping is Saturday, when the hunting has started.

• Passengers are standing beside their trucks, checking out maps.

• It’s not uncommon to overhear restaurant conversations about “the one that got away.”

• One-hour photo processing is popular, printing pictures of big-game trophies.

• Motorists are especially aware of spooked deer trying to cross the highway.

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