(note: Mrs. B advised me not to post this, but for whatever reason, I wanted to anyhow. Sorry if it turns you off. Tomorrow will be better. :))
Yep, it wasn’t pretty, but not one elk has fucked with me since that snowy, fateful night. I think the moose are even staying out of my way now. I wonder if maybe one saw me take out the elk, and warned the rest of the woodland creatures. It was actually one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do as a professional driver, aside from calling the Saskatoon Husky truckstop every night looking for Destiny, the sweetest lot lizard you ever did meet, to tell her that she might want to get checked for gonorrhea.
I was hauling propane that winter, and had to go to somewhere near Tumbler Ridge, BC to a rig that needed filling. When you fill up a rigs propane, you really just fill all of the propane tanks on the shacks for their heat and hot water and the two big tanks that supply the flare stack and other assorted buildings and equipment. It was nighttime when I was finished, the roads were icy and it was snowing pretty hard. I was coming back up to Dawson Creek when a cow elk trotted across the road in front of me, and I thought I missed her, but for whatever reason she decided to turn and slipped on the ice, with her head falling back and clipping the bumper and fender of the truck.
By the time I hit her, I wasn’t going really fast, maybe forty or fifty km/h, but it was enough to drop her right there and bend the bumper into the front tire. I stopped and got out to check the damage, shaking and breathing pretty heavily from the adrenaline, when I heard a wheezing noise from behind the truck. I walked back and saw the hulk laying there in the dark, so I went and bent the bumper back enough to move the truck and back up so I could see her, and to get the truck off the road as much as possible.
It was a horrible sight. I think she was partially paralyzed or something, because she couldn’t get up, but was kicking her forelegs at me when I came near. I went through the truck to try and find something to put her out of her misery, but all I had was a brass hammer. I was hoping she’d just die on her own by the time I got back, but there was no such luck, so I knew I was was going to have to do something. I grabbed the hammer and walked back to do the job, when the snowplow pulled up. He didn’t have anything either, but he figured that I could run over her and do it quicker than with a hammer. I got in the truck, backed up a bit while he guided me and gave her some fuel. I spun for a bit and slid sideways, so I figured that wasn’t going to work, but I tried anyhow. It just pushed her big old noggin to the side.
I was starting to panic by now, because it seemed cruel to have this animal, who had done nothing to deserve this, other than take a tragic misstep in front of my truck, suffering through, not only getting hit, but having to watch a couple of assholes running around trying to figure out a way to kill her. The cow scene from “Me, Myself and Irene” comes to mind. I just grabbed the hammer and got in behind her to where she couldn’t kick me and started to let her have it. Luckily it was a heavy hammer, and she was probably done in after a couple of shots, but I kept going, just to make sure. I’ve hunted and killed a lot of game in my life, but that was by far the worst feeling I’ve ever had while taking down an animal. I helped the plow guy tie a chain around her, and he dragged her to a turn-around in the road, so she wasn’t a danger to other motorists. I later found out that the plow’s underbody has enough down pressure to lift the truck, so the driver could have easily just put that on her and been done with it.
I felt sick to my stomach and very heartbroken to have to do that, but I felt it to be my duty. I guess that was branded into my psyche from an early age by my dad and step-dad. We’d be hunting and if something got wounded, we would follow it until we had killed it, because it’s inhumane to let any living thing suffer like that. I can remember Dad hitting a skunk near the house one night, and going home to get the .410 to make sure it didn’t go the night flailing around in the ditch. It was just something you did, and if you asked why, you were asked whether you’d like to be shot or injured very badly, but still live for days in horrible pain. I guessed that I wouldn’t like that. The other big rule was that you don’t shoot something that you don’t plan to eat, unless you are protecting yourself or someone else. Makes sense to me, and they are both rules I’ve followed all my life.
I’m sorry if this story upset anyone, that wasn’t my intention, and I left a lot of the humour out for that reason. I can laugh about things like that, because if I didn’t, I’d be a pretty morose bastard all of the time. Another thing that bothered me was that I didn’t have a knife with me that day, because my pack was in the other truck, and a lot of very good meat went to waste. I hate seeing anything die for no good reason, and if I could have got the hind end or even the loins out of it, it wouldn’t have died in vain. I guess the wolves and ravens would have fed on it, so that’s something.
If there’s one thing I learned from Relic on the Beachcombers, it’s always carry an axe,
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