Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series by members of TU’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project. For more, visit www.oursportingheritage.org, a site dedicated to protecting our backcountry resources.
By Walt Gasson
They call him “The Apprentice” because he has been my personal assistant for all things hunting and fishing since he was knee high to a Shetland pony. He went on his first elk hunt when he was not quite six months old, wearing his first snowsuit and riding on mom’s back as we packed three elk off a high park in the Wind Rivers. His first word came when he and his mom and dad were living here with us while they tried to find a house in Cheyenne. I don’t recall how old he was, but the word was “elk” and it came to him after a long time of thoughtfully studying the six-point antlers on the wall. The year his dad killed the bull in Two Elk Meadow, he was there to help haul it out with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack. He carried his share. I think he was five. He scored his Cutt-Slam when he was nine, finishing up with a 20” Bonneville cutt that I would have killed for. He’s not scared to work and he’s not scared to walk. And his life is what I wish every ten-year old boy could live – a fishing rod, a .22 and a love for God, Mom and wild country. He’s my grandson.