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Thursday, September 3, 2009

HOM: Moose I

One year later: Every year Montana has a drawing for permits for certain game animals in certain areas. In '84 I drew one of these permits, for a bull moose in the Scott Lake area in the Bob Marshall. Jim & I both put in for the same permit with the understanding that if either of us got a permit the trip was on. We borrowed a third horse, Scarlet, from Jon Van Dort, so the trip in and out wouldn'd be all hiking and this time things were a little more refined. We'd learned a little from our Lodgepole Creek sojourn in '83. For one thing we had scabbards for our rifles that Eldon Christensen made for us. No more juggling a rifle and horse at the same time. Instead of going in up on the South Fork, we hauled everything up Highway Two towards Marias Pass and went in on the Skyland/Morrison road to the Morrison Creek trailhead. On the way in, we saw two hunters trying to load a cow moose they had bagged. We stopped and offered to give them a hand, but they declined, seeming both hurried & nervous. When we left we talked it over and decided, based on their mannerisms, that they'd probably poached the cow, a stupid thing to do along a road like that. Jim's trailer did all right on this trip -- I forgot to mention that on the last trip he'd busted a U-bolt on the rear axle and we'd had to use a come-along to shift it back into place and tie it down till he could fix it. We unloaded & tied the horses and spent the night in Jim's camper, planning on an early start. There was one interruption during the night -- I heard a noise outside, looked, and saw that the horses were loose. Jim was in the bunk over the cab, and when I told him what was up he told me to go get them. Yeah, right. Me, the equine non-expert. I went trucking out barefoot and in my skivvies and I guess the horses were so fascinated (horrified?) they forgot to run off. They stood and stared at me till I was able to grab the lead ropes and get them retied. I had a sore temptation there at the trailhead. We were packing the horses when another hunter came up and told us of watching a big bull right close by the camp. My permit was still good in that area, but filling it right there would mean canceling the trip. I passed. Hindsight, I wish I hadn't. Oh well. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)