The Monte Vista Crane Festival is one of the many wonderful events staged around the country to celebrate and observe the migration of the majestic sandhill cranes. Unfortunately, this year I arrived in Monte Vista a day after the crane festival ended. I wasn’t too concerned— after all, the cranes don’t migrate based on the three days of festivities, events, art shows and talks scheduled out by humans. Although I was sorry to have missed it, I was ready to seek out my own adventure.Read more
From as early as I can remember, my summers were spent in campgrounds. I would hike with my parents, swim in the lake with my brothers and ride bikes with kids I hardly knew. My parents gifted me an incredible series of summers but, as I grew older, life stepped in. I took summer jobs, moved to a city, got a full-time job and the lazy days of hanging out by campfires slipped into the past.
A few months ago, I was visiting one of Colorado’s state parks for a work project, and someone mentioned the Camp Hosts. Camp Hosts? This had my attention. Apparently, there are people whose job it is to live at our state park and state wildlife area campgrounds for the summer season, greeting arriving campers, promoting interpretive/educational activities and performing minor maintenance tasks. In return, they get to live there. Amazing. I needed to know more, so I headed down to Cherry Creek State Park to do a ride-along with a few of these lucky folks. Read more
Hunting has never been a part of my life. I have never desired to take down a bull elk with a gun or even whack a trout on the head. Yet, somehow, I found myself in a hunter education class, enjoying the lessons and learning more than I ever expected. If I’m clearly not a hunter, why on earth did I sign up for hunter-ed?
Utterly disconnected from where food comes from, I stopped to think about it for the first time when a coworker offered me slices of sausage harvested from an elk hunt. I’m a regular person who eats regular supermarket meat, with no room in the budget for local butcher shops or organic, free-range, grass-fed beef. Taking the first bite of elk, it dawned on me that I could finally ask someone exactly where the meat came from. Within 10 seconds I had my answer and more. The elk came from game management unit 32, near Meeker. It died quickly with two shots to the lungs, and the hunter shared the meat amongst family and friends. Sure, you could ask your local grocer the same question, but unless you work somewhere along the supply chain, you can never be 100 percent certain where supermarket meat comes from or how humanely it was harvested.
Being directly connected to this elk meat started a chain reaction of questions I had no answers for. I have always enjoyed blissful ignorance in regard to where my meat comes from. So why did I care about this meat, and not the burger I ate last night? Could this animal have had a better life—and death—than the animals I usually consume? Could these factors make hunting… better? To answer these questions I needed to know more about hunting. Read more