Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

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November 18, 2013
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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow's Ear 11-18-13

The annual hunting season means an annual harvest of hunting stories. The following is a totally true tale.

Outfitters Samantha and Sylvester operate a terrific mountain camp. On this particular day, Samantha (or Sam if you’d rather) began cooking the evening meal to feed a passel of hungry hunters and guides. They’d all returned early after filling their elk and deer tags.

During the previous night a foot of new snow had blanketed the meadow in front of the lodge. Sam had just shoved a chocolate cake into the oven when she looked up and saw a herd of around a hundred antelope drifting like slow-moving ballet dancers across the pristine white snow.

The assembled mighty hunters also eyeballed the graceful animals. They all groaned (the hunters, not the antelope), gasped and otherwise uttered regretful sighs. Because none of them had an antelope tag for this district. But Samantha did. Sylvester urged Sam to try to take one.

“Yeah,” echoed the hunters and guides. “Go for it. Dinner can be late.”

Sam needed no further encouragement. Grabbing a coat and her .270, she took off, headed up the creek, keeping out of sight of the herd. Reaching a big draw, she sneaked up the hill to have a peek. Two does spotted her bright green “town” coat. Sam figured the whole bunch would skedaddle. Durn, no antelope steak, she thought.

The does danced away a bit, then halted, still within range. But Samantha couldn’t get a clear shot. Durn! Durn!

Suddenly, a bit to the left, two buck antelope emerged from the draw a little closer to where Sam hunkered. She burrowed down in the snow. Temperature hovered at 16 degrees; the wind blew her hair into her face. She shoved the green hood of her coat back, hoping she’d blend in better with the landscape.

By now she was breathing like a horse with the heaves. Steadying herself on her left knee, she prayed the bullet would make a clean kill.

Back at the lodge the hunters watched the drama though binoculars — pulling for Samantha as hard as they could. Sam inhaled a breath and sqeeeezzzzzzeeed the trigger. For a second there, the earth stopped rotating on its axis, nothing moved, all sound ceased. Then the pronghorn dropped in its tracks. She’d done it. One shot! 325 yards! A clean kill right though the neck.”

Sylvester fired up the Ranger and drove to Sam. Together they retrieved the antelope. Samantha was so excited she could’ve floated back to the lodge. One of the hunters took her photo standing alongside her kill.

Samantha changed out of snow-wet clothes, went back to fixing dinner and served supper “as usual.”

Like the song says, “... that’s what simple folk do ...” ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Nov 14, 2013 09:54AM Published Dec 9, 2013 02:22PM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.