By Baxter Black: QCS columnist
Brent epitomizes the typical Montana outdoorsman — a hunter, a cowboy, a conservationist and an independent critter.
Hunting season, he and his equally capable wife Kathy had hauled their horses to a camp at the end of the road and prepared to begin the morning bow hunt. Brent had prepared thoroughly, including putting a dollop of concentrated elk urine (scent) into a plastic bag along with his cammo hunting clothes to steep overnight.
He placed his new $350 compound bow on the hood of the pickup. Several 30-inch, four-blade razor-point arrows were attached to the bow. Ben Gay, his good 12-year grulla gelding was saddled in anticipation.
Brent applied the frightening black Rambo face paint, then changed into his cammo gear doused in elk urine. Its pungency stung the eyes of small mammals and made knotholes water.
Kathy stayed upwind on horseback. Brent swung aboard Ben, squiggled his slick-seated polyester cammo pants in the saddle, picked up his bow and swung his horse downwind.
The full force of the elk urine bouquet enveloped Ben Gay’s head. He reacted as if a real bull elk had just walked up behind him and blew into his ear. He started bucking. (Kathy said crow hopping.)
Brent was holding his bow out at arm’s length as he slid around on the seat like a Frisbee in a frying pan. They were bucking down a grade, which meant every time Brent pitched forward over the saddle Ben bucked under him and caught him.
The bow and arrow flapped like a broken wing.
At the bottom of the hill, Ben mistook a small sapling for a giant log and cleared it by four feet. On impact, Brent cartwheeled over the front, breaking bones.
Brent was down. Kathy called Duane, the local veterinarian who was the only one who could find the remote location of their camp. Brent said between clenched teeth to bring a stretcher.
It took Doc an excruciating hour to reach them in his Explorer. He had no stretcher but had brought a 5-foot steel small animal exam table. The 15 miles of Forest Service road were particularly uncomfortable for a 6-foot-7-inch man on a 5-foot stretcher wedged in the Explorer.
Once on the blacktop, Dr. Duane kicked his rig up to 95 mph with the windows down and a scarf over his face. The gale-force winds helped alleviate the poisonous effect of elk urine that now permeated the cockpit.
Of course, they were stopped by the Montana Highway Patrol. As soon as the officer leaned up to the driver’s side window, he was hit by the rolling waves of odor that melted the brim of his hat, pitted his sunglasses and turned his brass cartridges green. He staggered away. Duane left.
The emergency room doctor was a pediatrician and was only able to give Brent a child’s dose of Morphine. But our hero survived.
It turned out Brent had a broken hip. The patrolman was treated for facial paralysis, Duane had to burn his Explorer, they reported the pediatrician to the ASPCA, Kathy still says crow hopping, and Ben Gay carries several small scars on his rump and right flank in the shape of an X.