This fall I was elk hunting in Wyoming with my brother Jason. We hiked in four miles and setup camp in a beautiful river valley close to a stream. We were fortunate to get into elk shortly after getting to our camping spot. We spent the next several days hunting hard. I ended up killing my archery bull three days later 3.7 miles away and 1100 ft above our camp at the very top of that mountain.
After killing my bull we messaged my other brother back home using our Garmin InReach to see if he could find a packer. I told him we could pack the meat all the way out to the vehicle if we needed to but a packer sure would be nice if we could find one. I knew that we would have to pack the meat back to camp at least because the area I killed it was just too thick and steep to get horses into. While I started on hauling meat back to camp, my brother made phone calls.
He called for a couple hours to outfitters and all the horse operations he could find in the area with no luck. He called the forest service office and asked if they knew of anyone. The woman he spoke to was super friendly and she said that her husband could be there tomorrow afternoon if that helped. I told him that even if I started making trips to the truck now and went all through the night I would still be hauling meat by that time so go ahead and ask them to come.
The next day around noon two guys showed up with four horses and met us at our camp. The older of the two had spent 25 years packing meat for an outfitter in Idaho. With a big grin on his face he told me that his wife signed him up for this without asking him about it first. He told me if I didn’t understand that yet, someday I would. He told me that after she delivered him the news that he had spent all night getting his horses trimmed and shoed and tack prepped. His stock hasn’t been worked in quite a while and he said his wife had no idea how much prep work went into this. He was getting a little older and slower so he called a neighbor friend and asked him to come along to assist.
After getting all the meat packed up, horses loaded and secured the two were on the way back to the trailhead with horses trailing.
My brother and I followed behind them and we started discussing how lucky we were to have these guys helping us out for the last four miles to the truck. There was a few big inclines and it would have taken us forever. On the way out we started talking about how much this much was going to cost me. This complete stranger spent all night prepping his stock and getting things ready, he then drove one hour each way, packed another four miles in and took up his whole Saturday to help out a stranger. I told my brother that I don’t know what he is going to charge but it is probably going to be expensive and I am just going to smile and be happy they were willing to help. If he said $1000, then that’s what I’m going to have to live with.
When we got back to the truck we unloaded all of the meat. After thanking the guys for their help I went ahead and asked the older of the two how much I owed them. He looked me in the eyes and said, “I don’t want a dime from you. Thank you for inviting us to be a part of your hunt. Congratulations on a great bull and on showing up out here and getting it done. Stay in touch and if you get ever down my way, stop by and see us.” I insisted that he take something to cover their time or fuel at least. He wouldn’t take a single penny. I was speechless. I told them that I am constantly amazed at all of the good people out here in the world and that one of my favorite parts of hunting different areas is definitely the people that I find myself meeting. It was such a good ending to the whole experience. It reminded me of something that my mom and dad would do as well.