Fiction by SLIM RANDLES
To The Desert Independent
June 22, 2017
Well, the bears are out now and will be until late fall, so maybe a bear tip might be in order. As a guide and outfitter emeritus Ė and emeritus is Latin for ďIím too danged old to pack moose meat out on my backĒ Iíll talk a bit about olí ursus.
If youíre in dangerous bear country, some people tell you to wear a little bell that tinkles, and the bear hears this and says, ďOh, that must be a person, and Iíll bet itís a nice person, too, so Iíll just amble off this way.Ē
Well, when Iím in thick cover that bears might inhabit, and Iím not looking for one, I make a lot more noise than that!
One time Jim Kershner and I were going through some willow thickets along a creek at the base of Mt. McKinley Ö which is a large frozen rock that is now called Denali, and the salmon were running. I was in the lead, and Jim was behind me, beating on a gold pan with a rock. I looked down and saw a four-pound salmon flopping in the trail in front of me. It had toothmarks about four inches apart. And, it was on top of a bear track that measured 10 inches across. I measured it later. Much later. A little guide translation here: A 10-inch-wide bear track means a nine-foot long bear. Well, Jim and I went up one side of that creek and two big sows and a yearling went up the other side. Then we sat there snorting at each other.
So is that bell a good idea? Sure, if you donít have anything as loud as the London Philharmonic with you.
But the bottom line is: if youíre out messing around in the same country with grizzlies, or with black bears during small cub season or a salmon run, you always ALWAYS carry a rifle. A .30-06 is a good minimum caliber.
Dave Marash's in-depth HERE & THERE podcasts keep you hooked on today's big news. Listen on www.davemarash.com.
"Home Country" columnist Slim Randles won three regional book awards for the two books he wrote in 2014. "Max Evans and a Few Friends, the 90th Birthday Book" took honors for best non-fiction book, and "Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing" won for best how-to book and best cover design at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards in Albuquerque. Randles lives in Albuquerque and has a dozen books currently in print.