By Tom Foss
Mike drew a prime moose tag this season, and he was out scouting some new country. At first light, he saw a fine herd of elk, but his main goal was to find one of the big bull moose he knew hung out in these hills. Eight hours later, just before dark, he decided to wander a ways over toward the elk – four miles to be exact. A couple of cow calls, and suddenly a satellite bull was in his lap. He released an arrow at 35 yards, the razor-sharp broadhead did its work, and he heard the young bull hit the ground.
It was late and dark with no cell service. He hurriedly gutted his elk in prime grizzly country, and grew rightfully nervous on the hike out. With the smell of blood on his hands, he jumped at every shadow.
He remembered the landowner’s words when he asked for permission: “Have at it son, but watch out. There is an ornery griz in there. He chased us in our quads and almost ran our hired hand through a barb wire fence.”
He’d spilled the guts and the meat was cooling, and as he headed for cell range, he thought about whom he could call to come help him pack it out. It turned out to be a long list, but as a testament to what kind of man he is, he only needed to make two phone calls. I am honored to have received one of them.
Those two calls netted him three helpers, and early the next morning, four of us assembled in the dark at the trailhead for couple hours of hiking and hauling. We had four cans of pepper spray and some slightly stronger deterrents in hand. I was packing a slug gun, and a buddy had his defender loaded to the hilt. The last thing we wanted to do was give the statisticians more maulings to count.
As we headed through the dense underbrush, we could hear elk bugling not far from the kill site. Mike had made a perfect shot and got out of there without spooking the herd. A great bowhunter, friend and father, he always has a long list of friends ready to pitch in. Mike’s generosity in helping out others and the fact that he is such a good guy puts a bunch of people at the ready when he needs a hand.
Our Mystery Ranch packs out-hauled our friends’ pack frames by a wide margin. They’re so comfortable and easy to load that for a little while, I worried more about Mike’s friends sneaking into my garage and taking my pack than I did about any bears in the area.
Of course, they were friends of Mike too, so there was nothing to worry about. We made it back to the trailhead without any incident with bears, and the fellas said they couldn’t wait to get home and put their packs up on eBay.
Do you ever get called to help your friends pack out meat? Who do you call when it’s your animal?