World War II veteran has luck of the draw

World War II Navy veteran Dale States scopes the hillsides looking for elk. The 89-year-old veteran uses a walking stick made from the teak wood deck of the battleship North Carolina. States said the walking stick was made by one of his shipmates Paul Wieser, after the battleship was restored in 1999. “Paul is no longer with us but I called his wife and told her I used the stick to steady my gun and I shot my antelope this year,” States said.

World War II Navy veteran Dale States scopes the hillsides looking for elk. The 89-year-old veteran uses a walking stick made from the teak wood deck of the battleship North Carolina. States said the walking stick was made by one of his shipmates Paul Wieser, after the battleship was restored in 1999. “Paul is no longer with us but I called his wife and told her I used the stick to steady my gun and I shot my antelope this year,” States said.
MEEKER I World War II veteran Dale States, 89, has been hunting all his life but this was the first time he drew tags for antelope, deer and elk all in the same year. States had already filled his antelope and deer tags but needed a place to hunt to try and fill the private land cow elk tag he had drawn for area 211.
“I’d been hunting all my life but this year was the first time I drew tags for all three,” the Navy veteran said.
States said he filled his antelope tag north of Steamboat Springs near the Wyoming border and one of his 14 grandkids helped him harvest a 5×5 buck near Craig, using his military 06.
States, who lives in the Denver area, said he drove to Meeker a couple of weeks ago to look for a place to hunt elk.
This past September States took a Veteran’s Honor flight to Washington, D.C., and met Meeker’s Bill Smith, who went on the Honor Flight as a guardian for the veterans.
“The Honor flight was wonderful,” States said. “They picked me up at my house and everything was free; the flight, the food and the hotel. I remembered Bill was from Meeker so I called the group from the Honor Flight and they gave me Bill’s phone number.”
States said he called and left a message for Smith and told him what he was looking for when Smith called back.
“Bill then got ahold of Joe (Gutierrez, a guide for Strawberry Creek Outfitters and an Army veteran himself) and Joe made arrangements with Jason (Steiner, owner of Stage Stop) to have it processed,” States said. “They are real plugged in here and it was all free.”
“It was an honor take him out, a small thank you for what he did to keep our great nation safe,” Gutierrez said. “Russell and Mary Edith (Stacey, owners of Strawberry Creek Outfitters) said he was welcome to come hunt with us as long as he was able and the way he’s going, he might outlast us all.”
(Far left) Strawberry Creek Outfitters’ guide Joe Gutierrez, an Army veteran, had Navy veteran Dale States positioned for a shot but the elk never came into view. States had trouble with his military 06 rifle and did get a shot off but States said “it wandered off.”
States grew up in Pennsylvania and said he was graduated from high school at the age of 16.
“I grew up in Canoe Ridge, Penn., ground hog country and walked six miles to high school,” States said. “I think they gave me a diploma out of pity.”
States joined the Navy shortly thereafter and served from 1941 to 1946.
“The USS North Carolina battleship was commissioned April 9, 1941, and I went aboard April 21, 1941,” States said of the battleship, considered then the world’s greatest sea weapon at the time. “We sailed around on shakedown crews in the Atlantic and I was on board when they fired all nine of the 16-inch guns and 10, five-inch guns in one blast and that’s why I don’t hear so well now.”
States said he returned home to a “Dear John” letter. He remarried on Oct. 26, 1946, and was married for 62 years before his second wife passed away in 2009.
States had seven children: six daughters and one son. He outlived two daughters, raised two of his 14 grandchildren and now has seven great-grandchildren. States said two of his daughters had tuberculosis, prompting a move to Colorado in 1963, where he went to work at Rocky Flats. States said he has survived “six cancers” including bone cancer in his neck and two ribs, prostate cancer and two facial cancers. He was given two to three years to live by doctors back in 1981.
“The Lord healed me and here I am,” States said with a smile. “I get scans every six months and the doctor told me ‘I could forget I ever had it,’ but you never know.”
States said he met his current wife Caroline “on the computer” in June 2011.
“She is a wonderful lady,” States said. “We were married Oct. 1, 2011 and we have been honeymooning ever since.”
Dale States came to Meeker with one of his sons-in-law, Bob Shaver, to hunt elk. States was thankful to Stage Stop owner Jason Steiner for offering to process his meat for free. “The people here in Meeker have been wonderful to me.”
States said he raised his family and loves to spend time hunting and fishing and was not disappointed he did not fill his elk tag this year, although he did get a shot.
“Joe sure did his part,” States, who has harvested many elk before said. “I had a perfect shot, it just wandered off.”
States came hunting with his son-in-law Bob Shaver, a U.S. Air Force veteran who lives in Grand Junction.
“Everything was wonderful,” States said. “The people here in Meeker have been wonderful to me.”
Hopefully, States will be successful next year.