Monthly Archives: March 2012

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Is it Time to Stop the Madness?

Is it Time to Stop the Madness

“BB” contacted me through an old method this time. A letter stamped with his huge hoof print arrived early in September and he specified an exact location for us to meet. I was fairly surprised to note that we were once again meeting at the “Bugle Inn” restaurant in Forest Lakes. Our very first meeting back in 2005 was at this same location, but since his move to the Big Lake area, we had not been that close to the edge of the Rim. The night in question turned out to include an incredible downpour of rain and hail. I patiently drove the Tundra up the hill and pulled into the parking lot at Bugle’s around 4:00 am.

The owner had once again left the keys to the front door and I apparently was the first to arrive. I turned on one, single dim light and patiently awaited the arrival of my old friend. I have to admit, I was a bit tired from the long ride and the ugly rains, so I helped myself to a bottle of merlot and began thinking of all the times that “BB” and I had met and conversed. Before I could get too nostalgic, I heard a deep throated bugle along with a series of hoarse grunts that seemed to come from the parking lot. As if on cue, “BB” crashed through the front door. He was soaking wet, covered in mud and his eyes were bright red as if he was half in the bag. The drifting odor that followed him in gave me pause to smile. “BB” was in full rut and made no bones about it. “Well boy” he croaked, “how the hell are you?” I took a second to assess my wild friend. “Pungent” is a term that kind of gets across what I was thinking, but “reeking” was in actuality a more appropriate term. “BB” I said, “You have really outdone yourself this time. You smell marvelous, I’m sure every eligible cow from any unit would love to be part of your harem.” He broke into that deep throated chuckle of his and said, “Damn right boy, I’ve got 23 cows just on the dark side of road 200 yards up the hill. We have to keep this short since only half of them have been bred and the other half are getting close. A bull has to have his priorities you know, so get on with it.” It was my turn to laugh now. The image of several impatient cows tapping their hooves while he and I shared some time was just a bit over the top. “Aren’t you worried about some other bulls sneaking in while you and I chat?” “BB” gave me that sly grin of his and said, “When you’ve had the best, why settle for the rest?” With that he began that damn chuckle of his and it kept reverberating in the room. Continue reading

Evacuated “BB”

Evacuated BB

The Call from “BB” was supposed to be one of our normal conversations, setting a time and place for us to meet. As soon as I recognized his tInephone number on my cell phone, I answered and pulled off the road to chat. “BB” however was far from his normal self. “You damn humans have done it again haven’t you? Where the hell am I supposed to winter this year? Where are all the little fawns supposed to go now?” I was stunned at his outburst. “BB” I said, what on earth are you talking about?” “BB” calmed down for a brief moment and started explaining. “The whole damn forest is burning down. All I can see is smoke. The whole herd is making tracks for the far northwestern reaches between Show Low and Heber. I never wanted to go back there, but thanks to you humans and that damn bear, we are heading back that way.” I had heard that there was a fire that had started and they had named it the Wallow fire. At that time however, we had no idea that it had gone to epic proportions and that a lot of lives would be changed by the inferno. “BB” started explaining what was going on and I was stunned. News had not yet filtered down to the Valley that the Wallow fire had taken off, so I was getting first hoof information about the fire. To say “BB” was angry is an understatement. He railed against humans and how we mismanage things and then lit into the “bear” again. I tried calming him down and said “BB” what bear are you talking about? “BB grunted over the phone “That stupid Smokey the Bear! All he ever says is that “only you can prevent forest fires” stuff. When will humans ever realize that fires are a good thing? If we had fires every year then none of the fuel buildups would occur, none of the thickets that hide tons of pine needles on the forest floor would just sit there waiting for a lightning strike or worse a careless human to cause a fire”. Continue reading

“BB”‘s Candlelight Vigil

BB's Candlelight Vigil

I am totally thrilled with the new technology that’s out there. Recently, “BB” has also moved up the technological list. For our past few meetings, he had been using his Hoofberry to contact me. Well, he finally upgraded and is now using a tInephone . The tInephone has a fairly elaborate set of applications that “BB” has become enamored with. I was somewhat surprised to get a text message from him requesting our quarterly meeting. He had an attachment that utilized the GPS coordinates and all I had to do was follow the pin that kept getting closer and closer as I drove out to meet him. I have to admit, I was fascinated by how well “BB” was adjusting to our new world. As I got closer however, I was treated to something that I never thought I would see in a million years. The whole hillside was covered with flickering candles. Mind you, I was miles from anything, and seeing a shimmering hillside really blew me away. I pulled off the road and parked under a stand of Ponderosa trees.

As soon as I got out of the truck, I could hear “BB” calling my name. “Get up here boy” he said, “I want you to take a video of this.” I walked up to “BB” and calmly asked “Okay “BB”, just what the heck is going on here? “ I could plainly see that there were hundreds of elk and all had candles that were lit and mounted in small rock piles all across the hill. The elk were swaying to some kind of rhythmic beat and I could tell they were pretty emotional about what was going on. “BB” just gave me that loopy grin of his and started with the explanation. “I saw a video clip on my tInephone about a recent meeting that was held at the Sheraton downtown. There were a bunch of people that were holding this candle light vigil for those damn horses. Seems that they don’t want a single horse to be injured or removed from the landscape of the west along with their runty half brothers that are called burros. I decided that if humans could do something that dumb, then maybe we could get a clip sent down to the Valley to show how mean and cruel it is to us elk that you very effectively remove us each year but are showing all this preferential treatment for an animal that was never on this continent until 500 years ago. We deserve the same treatment that those other animals get. We have our rights too!” Continue reading

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