To paraphrase the immortal words of Hannibal on The A-Team, “We love it when a prank comes together.” Yep, every so often (read: all the time), we like to pull the editorial wool over our readers’ eyes—and last issue we freakin’ nailed it, with our rollerblade-hunting spoof, “Blades of Gory” (Fall 2014, p. 30). As usual, our many clues to the story’s satirical nature—interviewees Guy Wheeler and Rowland Bowman, for example—went unnoticed by less discerning readers, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks fielded more than a few phone calls about the Bozeman area’s new bloodsport. (Disappointingly, we have yet to receive an angry, legalese-laden missive from the Triple Tree homeowners’ association, where we staged several of the photos.) A special shout-out goes to the idea’s originator, lifelong Bozemaniac Bob Allen, whose legendary—and, for many a high-school teacher, ulcer-inducing—adolescent antics have been channeled into this less destructive, if equally mischievous, outlet. It’s safe to say that most folks knew it was a joke, but for those of you who didn’t—gotcha! Here are a few of our favorite responses.
Overheard in Ennis
“Have you heard of that goofball guy in Bozeman, rollerblading and bow hunting? I freakin’ hate Bozeman people!”
“This must be true; why would they invent something so stupid just for an article? Besides, it really is a different culture out there—people in Montana stop at nothing to kill things, and this just makes it easier to get around. And who is that stupid girl in the camo spandex?” (That stupid girl is her daughter, former assistant editor and spoof model Maggie Slepian)
"Who's the guy in those photos? I want to know whose ass I need to kick." (anonymous caller)
Curious & Concerned
“I read with interest your article about rollerbladers being able to shoot from roads and sidewalks with crossbows to kill deer. Is this true? Don’t they need a license to kill a deer? Can they shoot at or kill more than one? And what about the risk to unaware folks in the neighborhoods? Guests who don’t know about this new sport? How will Bozeman and its visitors be informed to be on the lookout for armed men and women rollerblading around city outskirts? Do you know what all the rules are? I have to confess this new “sport” makes me nervous. I do know that they can't hunt in the city limits. And I'm not sure what “moderate risk” means—crossbows are very powerful. As far as the Yellowstone Club members engaging in this adrenaline rush, they have their own rules.” —Carolyn Hopper, Bozeman resident
Hook, Line & Sinker
After reading “Blades of Gory,” my initial thought is, “Is this a joke?” I’m having a hard time believing this actually happens around Bozeman, and it is pretty disgusting. This guy boasts of his best day being 15 miles (at 140 bpm, don’t forget!) and shooting three deer… how “super convenient.” Where did he find the time to field-dress those deer and get them home? No big deal, just call the game-retrieval golf cart on your smartphone and move on to the next one. My opinion: If you don’t have the time to give these animals the respect they deserve when it comes to taking their lives, and you just see it as some game or competition, then stop hunting, please! Sad to see this happening. And slightly sedated deer? What the f***!
Apparently anyone who can shoot a gopher at 20 yards while buzzed on a triple caramel macchiato is “more than ready to kill some deer.” I hope people realize how appalling this is. It takes much more than the ability to fling some arrows in order to be ready to take a life. It takes emotional maturity, skill, patience, and respect for the animal, not to mention a perfect shot if you are bow hunting.
I’m 31 and have been hunting for almost 20 years. This year, I shot a bull elk with my bow at 30 yards. At the moment I released my arrow, the bull took a step forward and my arrow missed the vitals. I spent the entire day tracking the bull by following small drops of blood and hoof-prints. At dark, I still hadn’t found it, so I went home, sick to my stomach. The next morning I returned and continued on its trail, and recovered the dead elk after a total of 24 hours of tracking. I thanked the animal for giving its life and apologized for its having to suffer so long. I quartered the animal and packed it out myself.
Can’t do that on a pair of rollerblades. —Kurt Prond, Bozeman transplant, native YOOPER