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There’s this bison ranch in west Nebraska,
not all that far away from the Pine Ridge,
most of the time they make money off meat,
though when the weather gets colder than a fridge
they like to offer folks a private hunt,
to take a bison, just like the old days,
it really is quite an experience,
but the price is much more than I can pay.
Now every year they hold a lottery,
raffle off three hunts to those who apply,
for six years I had tried, always came up short,
until this year, one of those hunts is mine!
That’s how I found myself inside of a truck,
driving across frozen sand hills, serene,
ace crunching loudly beneath the tires
and I gaze out upon a frosted scene.
In the truck sits one Bob Walking Bear,
a Pawnee, finally getting to chance
to hunt buffalo like his ancestors,
so excited there’s a shake in his hands.
They leave one ticket for the tribes every year,
and Bob was lucky enough to win the draw;
the other is a Michigan deer hunter,
a gruff fellow known as Arnie McGraw.
There’s also a guide who calls himself Gus,
who helps us find bills they want to remove,
they’ve marked out old bulls and cows for the hunt,
the health of the herd as a whole to improve.
Arnie was the first to go out and stalk
on the ranch’s ten thousand-acre spread,
Bob and I remained inside of the truck,
we heard the shot, and towards the sound we sped.
Arnie stood over an older-looking cow,
while the rest of the herd rumbled away,
Arnie had made a fine hundred-yard shot,
for the gruff hunter it was a fine day.
He had a slight grin upon his bearded face,
and while Gus called for the butchering truck,
Arnie started field-dressing the large beast,
much meat was the big reward for his luck.
Gus left Arnie to await the vehicle,
then motioned Bob and I back to our own,
as he drove, he said,”We’re heading for the spot
where several of our old bulls like to roam.”
A mile further down the snow-crusted road,
we cam to a cottonwood grove by a creek,
Gus motioned us both to follow him out,
and down towards the timber we did creep.
We crouched low at about fifty-yard’s space,
settled in for a chilly half hour,
then we saw a bull with a broken horn
lumber out, a grizzled vision of power.
This old bull has sired numerous calves,
but Gus said now his health was in decline,
he motioned to Bob to shoulder his gun,
behind the shoulder the cross-hairs aligned…
CONCLUDES IN PART II.
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