My friend Heidi told me this story really fast while we were getting ready for a party the other night. It’s such a great story I just had to jot down what I remembered of it …
So you can visualize, here is a pic of Heidi last Halloween with her two dogs, Juan and Peanut [and Keeler, small and blond]. Peanut is in front, a tiny brown scruff of fur, and it’s important you know Peanut’s size for the story.
So Heidi was in the woods, walking her dogs.
“I keep this little knife in a sheath in my car, and some plastic, in case of roadkill,” Heidi began [Montana recently made it legal to salvage road hit animals for meat] so I’m walking and all of a sudden this big, beautiful duck flies straight into a tree in front of me and it’s lying on the ground so I’m all PEANUT! sic em!”
After Peanut failed to kill the duck, Heidi broke its neck, and, feeling very primal, got her knife and began to skin it.
“I realize now I should have plucked the duck,” Heidi said “but there I am, covered in blood on this little rise and it starts to rain. And then the dogs start going off and I look up and there is Mr black bear, right in front of me.”
Heidi started yelling to let the bear know she was there.
[A quick refresher for those not familiar with bears. It’s just like snakes in the part of Australia I come from: black snakes and black bears are generally less aggressive than brown snakes or brown [Grizzly] bears. So Heidi did the right thing for the right bear.]
“Heeeeeyyyy bear!” she called at the top of her lungs, while trying to call her dogs at the same time.
Heidi dropped the duck, and ran back to her car with her dogs.
But after waiting there for awhile, she realized she wanted that duck, her hard won windfall.
“So I went back for the duck,” she said.
Hollering all the while to let the bear know she was there, she grabbed the duck and brought it back to the car to finish cleaning it up.
The sun came out, and a rainbow formed.
Then Heidi drove to our house, because she wanted to clean herself and the duck and not bother her housemate with the mess.
And I happened to be dragging two screaming kids up the stairs for bed and told Heidi that now was not the time for a visit, so she went next door to our friend Shawna’s house and told her the story instead.
Back at the party, Heidi finished telling her story and unveiled her potluck offering: pieces of tender wild duck cooked in bacon fat and roasted with the flesh of one of her homegrown spaghetti squashes.
“Now I’m thinking about it, I realize that bear had just woken up [from hibernation] and was probably starving, I should have left him the duck” Heidi reflected as we got the food ready for the party.
“You could have just tossed the duck to the bear and he could have caught it in his mouth” said Shawna, laughing.
Side note: I take interactions with wild animals seriously, and encourage everyone to keep a respectful and safe distance and not feed wildlife ducks or anything else.