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“Old Lonesome ain’t lonesome no more”

A bison known as “Old Lonesome stands to break an 82-year-old record after a hunter killed it in western Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.

According to the Associated Press story, the bison’s horns measured 32 inches from tip to tip and 18 and 19 inches individually, giving the animal a hunting score of 140-2/8. The previous record, a bison killed in Yellowstone National Park in 1925, scored 136-4/8.

Some people just don’t get it. That includes the hunter who shot and killed Old Lonesome and the Associated Press writer and editors who wrote and edited this little story and put it out on the wire. They all appear to think that killing the huge old bison and measuring the size of his horns is the most important aspect of this grisly tale.

I don’t think so. The most important thing here is that a great old majestic beast is dead … killed so someone can have a record trophy to hang on his wall and a big barbecue for all his friends.

What about all the other people who travel to Wyoming just to see and experience the raw natural beauty of the primitive landscape and especially these great, ancient beasts? What about the people who came especially to see Old Lonesome?

I may have experienced Old Lonesome myself two years ago while on a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Forest with my wife and her brother and his wife. We were out hiking when I spotted what looked like a huge boulder sitting on the flat grassland near a bison herd we had been observing and enjoying. Then the “boulder” stood up and became a gigantic bison that may have been Old Lonesome.

Why did he stand apart from the other bison? He was the king … an antique patriarch of the herd.

The Associated Press story quotes J. F., a man who makes a business of helping hunters move the big game they’ve hunted, as saying he was familiar with Old Lonesome. He started calling the bison that name years ago, when he noticed that the bull almost always grazed apart from other buffalo. “Old Lonesome ain’t lonesome no more,” F. is quoted as saying.

E. D. R., of Cheyenne, shot the bison near Spread Creek on Sept. 18. He said he killed Old Lonesome with one bullet.

“When I saw this guy, it was like I was looking at a dinosaur or a mammoth, R. said in the AP story. “This guy was just so different and massive and huge. There was no question about whether I would hold off. It just had to be done.”

“It just had to be done.” Something is big and special and deserves to live forever, and some people just think it has to be killed.

“I was getting closer and closer waiting for an opportunity,” R. said. “Finally, he gave me the perfect chance, and I didn’t hesitate for a second. He was dead before I let go of the trigger, which is a good thing.”

R. said he’s got extra freezers ready to store the meat. “I’ve got a long list of friends and family I’m going to share it with,” he said.

“We’re going to have a big old barbecue.”

Posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2007
Under: Bison | 4 Comments »