Out of my comfort zone: Hunting 101

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Nate Waggenspack

Of the multitude of differences between Craig and Kettering, Ohio, where I was born and raised (trust me, there are quite a few), one of the largest adjustments has been the hunting scene.

There is hunting in Ohio, and people from Ohio go other places to hunt.

But there isn’t really any in Kettering or the surrounding area. Ohio isn’t exactly the destination hunting state that Colorado is, and Montgomery County, Ohio, certainly doesn’t belong in the same sentence as Moffat County when it comes to hunting opportunity (despite me placing them in the same sentence here).

All this is to say I was ill prepared upon moving here to cover hunting in any capacity. I didn’t know that there was a difference between a buck and bull, which is embarrassing to admit now.

But I learned some that first winter, speaking with community members about their hunts and writing stories about guiding and outfitting.

This November, I’m planning on going on a hunt of my own, which involved taking a hunter safety course through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Turns out, everything I was proud of learning is about 6 percent of what I actually need to know.

The class has been boring at times, and I guess that’s to be expected for something going for three hours each night after getting off work. But for the most part, it’s been legitimately interesting for a naive city boy like me.

I’ve learned all sorts of crazy stuff I had never even thought about before. Sure, it’s important to wait for a good shot when hunting big game, but how are we going to aim differently if it’s a broadside shot versus a quartering away shot?

Yeah, there are opportunities to hunt elk in Colorado, but what if I want to bring home a hoary marmot or a muskox? Where can I find those?

These are the type of things many of you may already know, but I had never heard the words “quartering away” before this week. It’s been a fascinating experience. And more than anything else, it gets me excited for what may come this November.

It’s been fun learning about the different parts of a rifle and hearing about some of the conservation theories employed by CPW. Especially since all the 11-year-olds in my class know more about all these topics than I do.

But how incredible does that mean it’s going to be when I actually get out there? If learning which eye is my master eye was fun, then it’s going to be really cool to actually put that to use behind the sight of a rifle.

It seems extremely unlikely that I’ll manage to harvest any game this November based on my utter lack of experience going in, but I’m pretty pumped up about it anyway.

Nate Waggenspack would be satisfied with just seeing an elk and getting to pull the trigger. He can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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