Saturday, October 15, 2011

It Happened One Day in Montana: A hunting story.

I had heard this story each fall, but finally had a "from the horse's mouth" retelling this past week.

"One year, not too many years before my dad died, he packed into our usual hunting camp, back in the Rocky mountains. It was a popular area with nice meadows providing shelter and game to private hunters, hunting parties and outfitters.The area looked like a small village at night with all the lanterns and fires politely spaced across the mountain side.

Dad always liked to drink in camp. Most men do and we joined him for beverages and story-telling. Next morning would be opening day for elk season, so everyone turned in for the night.

The next morning, before the sun had cracked the horizon, the whole meadow was suddenly jolted from their beds by the sounds of gunfire going off like mad. Except it wasn't gunfire. It was dad, standing at the edge of camp, lighting off fireworks and having a great, intoxicated chuckle.

Naturally, the elk were gone for the day, thanks to his untimely prank. Nearby hunters and outfitters promptly made it clear, as they showed up in camp, there was to be no more folly. This was serious business (as he well knew).

The day came and went and sure enough, next morning, Bang! Pow! Bang! and everyone knew, it was NOT gunfire claiming the first trophies of the season. Despite his pure thrill, the hunters scrambled up to our camp. They were HOT and news somehow made it to the flats in a hurry. Rumors flew of gunfights and exchanged blows...things were escalating in a hurry.

Later that afternoon, riding up the trail came three law enforcement: the county sheriff, forest service law enforcement, and the game warden. They set up below my dad's camp and called out, 'Herbie, come out with your hands up!'"


That sort of mischief has never visited the mountains since, but every year, it visits our little round table in lore. We remember a former community member and the memories he left for us to enjoy over our morning coffee as we slip on another layer of clothing and greet the new season.

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