In a short 19 days Matt and I will head west once more as September beckons us with the smell of pine and sage, the quaking aspen leaves and the bugle of the bull elk. These hunts are forever etched in our minds and thoughts of the hunt to come gives way to the memories of a hunt in this very place 10 years ago. It was special in many ways, one of which was the men sharing the experience; my son Matt, buddy Jeff and Delbert, my father. Another was the great rescue!
I have seen many things in the mountains, but we could not quite make out the dark something a half mile down the trail. We could tell it was moving, but it looked close to the ground and big. We were about a mile down the trail, ready to split up for the evenings hunt when we saw the thing. Knowing we had to check it out we slowly moved down the trail towards it. Kind of reminded me of a group of my fellow boy scouts 45 years ago on our way back to camp after being told a bear had been spotted there. Not sure what you call the formation but the closer everyone gets together seems to create a sense of protection.
About half way to the creature our binoculars were able to discern its origin. It was a calf moose with a leg caught in a barbwire fence. It was a fatal mistake for the calf, had it not been for a few Okie’s on a elk hunt. Being of sound mind and older bodies Dad and I sent the younger Matt and Jeff back to the truck for rescue tools. After a brisk couple mile hike they returned with a lug wrench and a big mag light. I wanted to inquire about their choice of rescue equipment, but didn’t want to elicit a predictable response after their hike. As we neared the ensnared calf another thought came quickly to mind. Do you know what one of the most dangerous animals on earth is? It’s a cow moose. No kidding, they have been known to send a grizzly running off with its tail between its legs. Dad and I took up guard duty and Matt and Jeff worked on the fence trying to pry the wires off the calf’s leg. I can tell you I have had the hair on the back of my neck stand up a few times and this time it was at full attention.
After watching Matt and Jeff struggle for about 15 minutes years of fence building experience with my Dad kicked in and I walked over and popped the wire ties off of the fence post. This instantly gave slack to the wires and they were able to easily pull the calf’s leg out. We watched as it walked away with the satisfaction of a good deed done and a heck of a lot of relief that momma wasn’t watching. An interesting thought came to mind as I watched the calf, “man you are the ugliest baby I have ever seen”! We see a lot of moose where we elk hunt and they grow up to be a little better looking, perhaps even majestic. When I see a big bull moose this year, I might just wonder, where you the ugly little guy we saved a decade ago?
Bert, What a neat trip and warm memories with family and friends. Enjoy and enjoy God’s beautiful creation. Tom