So, a couple years ago we were in the great North Woods of Minnesota looking for a strange critter called the Red-Bearded Spotted Moose. They're getting pretty rare. This isn't surprising because they're not a species greatly adapted to the presence of Man. Here's how the story goes:
"In the woods of Northern Minnesota roams a most unusual beast. A giant in both size and intellect is the Red-Bearded Spotted Moose, the scholar of the forest. Nothing gets past the Spotted Moose’s keen eye for inspection; its thirst for knowledge of its surroundings seems unquenchable. This has been, unfortunately, the downfall of the great beast. When the Red Beard spots something of interest, no matter how small, the giant is entirely captivated and may stand still for hours as it contemplates the thing. This has made it easy prey for hunters over the years who will often walk directly up to the animal and shoot it, point-blank."
You can see why these gentle giants are getting scarce. Some butt-headed hunter's with a chip on their shoulder simply walk up to them and "pop a cap" in them. Tough guys. Sheesh. Well, we set out for the woods with plenty of fishing gear and other essentials. Powell, of course brought his sketchbook , plenty of gear and his wise-ass sense of humor. Runt carried most of the gear, we gave him jerky now and then, that kept him plenty happy. It wasn't long before we were rewarded. Just up the trail from the parking area near a well-loved fishing spot we stumbled upon our first Red-Beard, standing among a group of fishermen working in pretty tight quarters, oblivious to the whole thing. It stood there staring at a beetle or something that had landed on it's schnozola.
The fishermen seemed like it was nothing. They were too busy complaining about how crowded the fishing spot was "And now, we got this danged Moose fella here that we gotta work around, you know?" said one guy I asked "They're always gettin in the way. It's bad enough we got all these other yahoos up here, eh?" he continued in his thick Minnesotan accent. We got a good photo but Powell wanted something a little more private in which to work. There was too much complaining going on here, so we set off.
We made camp about two miles in and Powell and I set out to the surrounding woods.It wasn't a bad day, we were in shirtsleeves and vests; a nice day for a hike. Powell had stashed a couple of beers in his vest and we'd left Runt behind at the campsite with a jar of peanut butter (he's crazy for the stuff) so we were basically strolling through the woods trading stories of other adventures we'd been on, telling jokes when we rounded the corner and found this armature Lepidopterist, intent on identifying whatever species of butterfly had lit onto his sniffer. He had no idea we were there!
Well, we settled down, cracked a beer and told some more stories as Powell sketched away. Not a bad way to make a living, if you ask me. Afterwards it was back to camp where Runt had cleaned out everything that wasn't in cans. He still hasn't figured out how to open those.
Happy Travels!....And hey, if you ever come across one of these amazing monsters out there while you're hunting, go pick on someone with your own dumb intellect, butt-head!