|As a Minnesotan, I have had the privilege to hunt in Wyoming four years in a row, with two of my hunting buddies from Minnesota and Wisconsin. I have also garnered four years of memories with those gals. Because I believe that, “she who laughs at herself will never cease to be amused,” I will share those amusing memories with you…
Janice, Kathleen & Paula
While sitting behind an out-cropping of huge rocks about 8 yards apart, Paula and I were glassing our surroundings for any mule deer that might come our way.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted some pigs walking along the mountainside.
“Paula!” I whispered in my loudest voice toward her position. “There’s PIIIIIGS on the mountain!!”
Paula got out her binocs and glassed where I was looking.
“I think they’re GOOOOATS!”
I looked again to the mountain. “Noooo, they’re PIIIIIIIGS!!!” Thinking that maybe extending the word would make it so.
After a few moments, I was able to focus a little better and realized my mistake.
I started to snicker uncontrollably. In fact, those pigs were actually sheep!
Well, how was I to know that Wyoming didn’t have some wild, feral mountain-climbing pigs in their midst!?
The rancher got a big kick out of my stupidity, but mentioned that it was too expensive to have the sheep sheared, so they let them drop their wool naturally. This actually made their bodies look hairless, which also made them look like pigs. Well, some of them anyways.
When they were seen from far away. Through my eyes.
Now when I see a sheep, it’s known as a “Wyoming pig.”
The Bull Pen
This same rancher told us where a good place to set up on deer might be, as the mule deer often crossed through when they came down from the mountains every evening on their way to the alfalfa fields on the neighboring property.
“The bull pen,” she said.
First question asked her by Kathleen was, “Are there any bulls in the bull pen?”
The three of us had gone ahead and set up our blinds and stand in the bullpen early that day. We’d be all ready for the evening hunt.
Come 3:00, the bull pen was over run with cattle.
Kathleen began shooing the cattle away from our respective sites.
“Come on now, Get! Go away! Shoo!” Using her hands to motion them all away.
They did leave our general vicinity, but not far enough away.
Let me mention that I hate cows. They scare me. I don’t want to be alone with them. They’re so big. And I’m not.
Paula left her treestand early, as the rancher’s horse Gus was trying to be friendly under her stand, and she knew no deer would appear.
When she was on the outside of the bull pen, she actually could see deer that wanted to cross through the bull pen, but didn’t dare, as the cattle were returning.
One of the cows barged its way past and stopped with its body right up against Kathleen’s ground blind. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t open her window and slap the thing on the behind and tell it to go! I was getting mad.
After a few minutes, it finally stepped away from her blind and stopped between us. This cow was really getting me aggravated, as I knew we would have no luck with the evening hunt now!
“Shoo! “SHOO!!” I yelled out my blind’s window.
With that, the cow looked at me, and maybe I shouldn’t have looked it in the eyes so intently, but just then, it started to whip its tail around. Around and around it went, all the while looking at me. It was at this point when I noticed that it was a bull.
And it was coming straight for me.
Did I mention I hate cows?
I started to slump down, to get under and away from the window. I was so scared! All I could think of was that I used to work at Double Bull Archery, and people would send in their blinds to be fixed, after they had been trampled on by cattle! My thought was: I was going to be trampled to death by a bull out in Wyoming!! Oh God! please help me!!
All the while, Kathleen was trying to say, “It’s a bull! You don’t tell a bull to ‘shoo’!”
Just then, the bull slowly walked on past me. I breathed a big sigh of relief.
I could still see cattle all around the perimeter of the bull pen and not a deer in sight. I had had enough.
“I’m taking my blind down!”
Kathleen shared my sentiment.
As we began to carry out all our gear while walking along the irrigation ditch, she warned me, “Now, if that bull should come after us, just jump into the water.”
My first thought was, how could doing this help us? Cows can wade in water too. As we continued walking, we noticed many cows had already come back into the bullpen. I made sure to look at the underside of each cow we passed by.
“That one’s a female. That one’s a female. That one’s a female, too.”
I was beginning to feel pretty good, when Kathleen opened her mouth.
“There’s the bull. Just keep walking, but don’t run. Walk faster.”
I kept looking back over my shoulder to make sure it wasn’t coming after us.
Thank goodness, as it’s hard to walk fast when you’re loaded down with gear.
I was never so happy in my life to cross over the barbed wire fence into the ‘safe zone.” Did I mention I hate cows?
The first time out west, I encountered many new things that were not common to my home state of Minnesota. Because I have an inquisitive mind, I’d always ask what a particular thing was called.
“I wonder what type of tree this is?”
Paula would answer, “I don’t know, but I have a bird book”, happy that she did bring a western bird book along on our trip, just in case.
Another day I would discover a type of plant that was new to me. Again I would ask, “I wonder what this plant is called?”
“I don’t know, but I have a bird book.”
Of course now any time I would ask a question and Paula was around, the response would be, “I don’t know, but I have a bird book.” It became a running joke with us. Funniest yet when she asked me what something was and I got to be the one to respond, “I don’t know, but I have a bird book.”
The last night in our motel we had to do a lot of packing.
We hadn’t gotten our trash removed from our room for a week, and it was building up and spilling over. I discovered the dumpster directly behind our room, so I decided to take it upon myself and take out all our trash and empty it into the dumpster out back.
After a couple trips to the dumpster, I came back into a cleaner room, and felt good that I had done my civic duty.
Only moments later, Paula had some trash she wanted to throw away.
“Janice, where’s the trash can?”
I pondered it for a moment and began to laugh.
“I guess I threw it out with the trash!”
Now go out and hunt and make your own memories!