"Once," says Sven B., "there was this giant buffalo..."
During spring, a lot of us Montanans like to go out hiking, looking for antlers, signs of animals and suchlike.
Much of the time, you see something white, or off-white, way off in the distance, so you start walking toward it, thinking it might be some kind of cool animal skull. But after fording a river, finding yourself in the middle of a pelican feud and then getting lost for a month, you end up finding out the white, or off-white, thing is just a plastic grocery bag wrapped around a crusty old fruit pie that doesn’t even taste very good. That happens 75, 80 percent of the time.
But sometimes you find something cool—like, for instance, this gigantic buffalo skull I found the other day.
People were walking by without even seeing it. But years of backpacking in the wilds of Montana will fine-tune your senses. I’m not saying I’m a more qualified outdoorsman than they are but—actually, that is what I’m saying.
Really, the whole affair is pretty sad. Once there was this giant buffalo running around all proud of its majestic hump, when out of nowhere this giant buffalo hunter, all proud of his majestic rifle, was like, “We’ll see about that.”
By which I mean he shot the giant buffalo.
Now, I don’t know much about carnivores, but I’d wager this giant buffalo had incisors the size of a pick ax. And claws like a scythes. And scales like whatever thing has scales. I just stood there looking at that beautiful relic of our natural history, thinking how sad it was that all those awesome, razor-sharp buffalo parts had been scattered by the nether winds of time. I thought for a moment about carting the giant skull out of the wilderness, but eventually decided to leave it where it was, to be discovered on some later date by another fortunate outdoorsman, one who had a much bigger backpack.