I took this job as Caretaker here on the ranch – it is a quiet peaceful job.

Westwood Ranch
Westwood Ranch

It allows me to think and drink Colorado Koolaid while I mow lawn for 12 – 15 hours a week. The ranch is small for Montana but really big to me encompassing probably 10 square miles. The Little Big Horn flows through and irrigation ditches feed the 15 acre well stocked lake. I spend time with the farmer that keeps the crops rotated and perfect. He is 72 years old and a fount of knowledge and defines “old school”. I have nothing but respect for him.

The owner of the land is rarely on the ranch.

I have been asked several times by the owner to kill beaver that eat the trees and dam the irrigation. My friend Kyle the mountain man and I trapped beaver this last year and tanned their hides and sold them. I think that is legit! But I have been asked to kill the beaver out of season because the are a pest. Yes, they are in a way – but…it goes against the way my father raised me. My father spent days and weeks in the woods with me trapping and hunting when I was young. I was taught respect!

Beaver Dam busting
Beaver Dam busting

He never said anything silly like ” our earth mother waits for rain from sky father and we must always respect…”. He just raised me right is all.

So, I have been really struggling with the beaver and killing them. I tried lying and saying “oh yeah shot the life out of them”. But it was not convincing. The last caretaker killed everything – he killed because he loved to kill. He was sick – his soul absorbed all the negative kills and finally his wife left him and he left the ranch (thankfully). I went hunting with him once – he shot two pheasant and then threw them out the window on the way home – said it was too much to clean em. His soul is dead and will not be reborn.

My friend Kyle, the mountain man, comes over and I present my dilemma to him while fishing with his daughter. (Arbonnie caught 6


bass and it was awesome!) He told me a wonderful story – this guy down in Wyola, Montana was always shooting the big bucks and just cutting off the antlers to sell. He wasted the deer and did not care. Long about July 4th weekend, Kyle’s wife was at Pow Wow and cooking up some venison. This guy kept asking for a steak – elk steak or venison – everyone was cooking before dancing. No one gave him anything to eat.

I will not  be the Pow Wow dancer with no venison or elk to eat.

We coexist –


My friend Tori really spent time asking “why trap” and I owe her for fueling the question! Thank you Tori! I have no  problem hunting or trapping if the animal is used for good and we are thankful. This writing is for Tori!

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