By Alkali Spring
This was supposed to be a happy column as it is a celebration of a birthday for Howdy Beaver. That was until we read several ads and letters in recent magazines. They got our dander up.
The first was an ad for property for sale near Loma. There are some 1,200 acres of secluded land and CRP land for sale. A mile of river runs through the property and there are plenty of deer and pheasants. Now the clincher the ad goes on to say that the price is $400,000 and a buyer is wanted who will not allow hunting. The "not" was in capital letters.
Although we do not hunt, we come from a family of hunters. And we are here to tell you that hunters are not any more of a problem than landowners being good stewards of the land. With all the deer and pheasants we are raising and that are flourishing these days, a harvest is a good thing and few would begrudge the fellow who needs to get a deer or two to put food on his table for his family. The ad we read reminded us of the fellow who was trying to sell his bar and said that any prospective buyer could only serve the seller's friends, not his enemies. True story and yes, the fellow still owns the bar. As far as this recent ad goes, we hope that a hunter does buy that land. After all, this is still Montana, isn't it?
Then there was a letter to the editor in another magazine from a fellow who was upset that Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks agents had killed the famous "Falls Creek grizzly" that had killed an average of 2.4 cows per year for more than 15 years. That fellow went on to say, "I find it hard to believe ranchers can't afford to lose two cows a year. After all, the rancher is living in the grizzly's territory, not vice versa." I am not making this stuff up. Still another letter on that same subject says it seems that any bear that offends ranchers is not long for this world. "If this is wildlife management,' let's hope these folks don't ever turn their attention to hikers or sportsmen." That one was signed by someone from Pennsylvania. After giving these subjects ample thought, we think that all three of these jokers should band together and move to New York. They don't understand one single thing about Montana and never will.
Now to the good news. This is the beginning of the 28th year for this column. That means this is the 1,456th column for those of you who are counting. Thanks go to the very loving and dedicated readers who continue to peruse the wanderings of Bee Lucke, C.L. Stuart, the Little People of Greenough Gulch, Marmaduke Marmot and the score of other happenings, both fact and fiction, legend and lore, that make up day-to-day events in this part of Montana.
And for those two old cranks who wrote to us saying, "Please, when are you going to quit?" here's an answer. After giving that much thought, we are going for the gusto of 30.
Meantime, thanks for the memories.