Several years ago, I was fly-fishing with some friends in backcountry Yellowstone Park. We’d secured one of the few official campsites and we had the remote area all to ourselves. After we’d pitched our tents and secured the site – meaning hoisting food twenty feet into the air a quarter mile from our camp to keep man-eating grizzly bears away – we spent the day catching and releasing magnificent Yellowstone Cutthroat trout until our casting arms were tired. Then we staggered back to camp, ate, and two of us decided to go back to the river. We knew we were foolish for fishing in the dark in strange and wild country without cell phones or radios.
The dusk sky turned Technicolor and the temperature dropped as the sun slipped behind the mountains. The stream cut deeply into the terrain and tall cut-banks obscured the view both ways. It was almost like fishing in a wide curving hallway and we couldn’t see anything up or down river. My friend was on the other side of the water.
The silence was immense as it got darker. As I cast into a riffle, I caught a smell I could only describe as musky and primitive. I looked up at my friend and he was frowning: he smelled it too. It was coming from upriver, over the high bank. We froze.
Suddenly there was an watery explosive splash no more than 20 yards upstream around the blind corner. A moment later, the current filled with feathers, a slick of blood, and dismembered pieces of a Canada goose. My friend and I exchanged worried glances and we clambered out of there, speed walking toward our distant campfire, shooting glances over our shoulders the entire way.
We never saw the bear. But I’m often reminded when I think back on the incident it is sometimes it’s the beast we don’t see that stays with us.
Corvus - the Atlantic Books imprint - is showing their undivided commitment to publishing Box in the UK with the unprecedented roll-out of a book a month featuring Wyoming Game warden Joe Pickett.
Trophy Hunt is the fourth in the Joe Pickett series, published by Corvus. The next Joe Pickett adventure Out Of Range, is published on the 1st June.
To win a copy of Trophy Hunt simply tell us the name of the first book in the Joe Pickett series. Send your answer to the Shots editor . Don’t forget to add your name and address in case you are the lucky winner. Good Luck.