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Spotting game with dad

January 9, 2014 Updated: January 9, 2014 at 10:40 am
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photo - ** ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND OF AUG. 9-10 ** A pronghorn antelope doe keeps watch as two fawns peer out from tall grass in the heart of southeastern Oregon's  Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, July 23, 2003.  Sightings of pronghorn on the refuge have become commonplace, 10 years after the population dipped significantly.  (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
** ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND OF AUG. 9-10 ** A pronghorn antelope doe keeps watch as two fawns peer out from tall grass in the heart of southeastern Oregon's Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, July 23, 2003. Sightings of pronghorn on the refuge have become commonplace, 10 years after the population dipped significantly. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) 

Long road trips test the patience of all involved. Our family trips to Canada are no different. Typical drive time is about 22 hours, and we always do it in one shot.

With my brother nodding off by Castle Rock and my sister asleep by Wyoming, my dad and I had to figure out a way to keep our minds occupied. We combined our love of scenery with our passion for hunting and created "The Game" game.

The rules are simple: To win, you must spot more big game (elk, deer or pronghorn) than the other person. So you scan the landscape and train your eyes to focus on nothing but to see everything.

The farther north we drive, the more rolling hills, tall yellow grass, empty meadows and vast cornfields we encounter. These spots are prime areas to spot game.

One animal counts as one point and, because they travel in herds, the points come quickly when you spot them.

While game blend into the surroundings well, paying attention to the colors can land you a point. The best time to spot game is when they are moving around. Animals are looking for food and water at dawn and are looking for a spot to sleep at dusk.

Pay attention to any type of water, be it streams or ponds, because animals do get thirsty. Beneath trees is also a great spot to look because game believe they are protected there.

If you can keep your eyes trained on what is out there, you will see more game and wild animals than you've ever seen. Though it's hard to beat seasoned hunters who have spent a lifetime looking for animals, you will be able to hold your own.

Two years ago, I spotted the biggest elk either of us have seen while playing "The Game" game. On the return trip from Canada, as the sun was about to set in northern Colorado, I gave one last look out the window and saw a monster of a bull elk. He stood near the highway with a 6-by-6 rack.

While we might never see another behemoth bull like that, as we gaze out the windows while the miles melt into the rearview mirror, we continue to look for him or any of his herd.

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