Staying Safe While Hunting Out in the Cold

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In the midst of hunting season, hunters from across the country come to the Grand Mesa looking to score that big game. The last thing on their minds, is getting lost.

"I don't want to get lost," said hunter Randy Meisner. "Hopefully I'm prepared well enough and I'm coming up here with a group of guys who know the area really well."

Unfortunately, things can still go wrong. With snow blanketing the Mesa, even the most veteran hunters admit it's easy to get lost.

"You might go up on Saturday and there's not snow, then you go up like today when there's a lot of snow," said hunter John Helmrath. "All the branches are pushed down and that same trail is blocked, and it looks totally different. Even a guy like myself who has come up here twenty years -- you get turned around a little."

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office spent most of the day looking for a hunter they believed was lost in the snow. It turns out he had ridden his ATV to Paonia, hitched a ride to Delta, and got on a bus to return home. He just never made a call to tell his hunting party.

Although they are glad the man is safe, authorities say it's very concerning to them when a hunter goes missing in bad weather conditions.

"It's a very big concern," said Deputy Sheriff Jeff Doty of the Mesa County Sheriff's Office. "There's always a high possibility of hypothermia setting in with the conditions as they were this morning with the snowing and all the moisture."

Hunters say it's important to make the necessary preparations so that a good time doesn't turn into a bad one.

"Make sure you know where your companions are," said Helmrath. "We carry radios so we can call and check in with each other. We know spots where we meet for lunch and such, so I think that's key. We have a lot of experienced guys up here and I think that's important.

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