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Kristen Berube

Rewind over the last 15 years... every time the "W" word is mentioned...

"W" word?  Wolf- Gasp! Scream! Shrieks of anger! Heavy sighs!   Any time this hot word is mentioned or overheard, an hour long outdoorsman rant about Montana elk populations ensues, followed by my eye rolling and sighing.  Followed by continued ranting and more persuasive techniques such as foot stomping, fist chest beating, and declarations of the seriousness of our elk herd depredation and wolf problems. If I continue to not join in the ranting he will resort to trusty old YouTube videos of wolves tearing up baby elk.  Doesn't he know I am just using the age old trick in a life or death situation?  You know, where you play dead so the wild animal doesn't eat you?  So I quietly sit and nod at the angry camo man until my eyes cross and my ears bleed. If you nod yes enough times he will eventually calm himself. 

Trust me; this is worse than Voldemort-"He Who Shall Not Be Named".  This goes in the book of never, ever; ever bring up politics, religion, and wolvvvvvvvessssss (this is said in a whisper) in polite conversation.  For that matter, do not bring it up in anyyyyy conversation polite or not because I can guarantee the outdoorsmen, ranchers, and just about anyone around here will get just plain ugly at the mention of the "W" word.

Back to the present...

I'm always trying to get the outdoorsman to check out of a work a little early to take me to some chick flick, go to Costco with me, get a pedicure, or some other thing that he deems "un-manly." He never can seem to get his schedule figured out where he is able to come with me. Strange, right?  I figure I do a lotttttt of things that are not really in my comfort zone so
He should have to get a pedicure at least once a year to get those caveman feet under control. Anyways! 

Lately there has been a decent sized herd of elk hanging around our house.  Which is awesome but we also have had to have the outdoorsman towed out of the ditch twice due to reckless binocular driving. (See below) They really should have a ticket for this sort of thing, right?  Usually we just have bears and mountain lions hanging around but....This week on Tuesday, I get a frantic phone call from the outdoorsman.  Apparently his buddy just heard on the news and IMMEDIATELY called to let him know that there is a pack of wolves running around, gasp, IN the outdoorsman's neighborhood.  Holy bag of antlers! What do we dooooooooo now??? The outdoorsman is literally shrieking into the phone about how he just can't believe that there are wolvessssssss hanging out on HIS turf. This is simply unacceptable. I repeat, in case you didn't quite get it, UNacceptable!   He informs me that he MUST take care of this.  Was there ever any question? My ears hurt from the rapid fire one-sided politician's speech I just endured. Even I know the outdoorsman cannot resist this juicy temptation.  I hang up the phone... an evening alone…can anyone say sushi and pedicure evening?  Thank you wolves!

I get home and the outdoorsman is waiting, ready to pounce, as soon as I walk in the door. No, he didn't notice my cute new toe polish and think I looked good; he was ready to tell me about the enemy in the back yard.  Of course! He tells me he went scouting after work and that he found the wolves.   He tells me he has never been so exhilarated and freaked out at the same time.  And that the hair on the back of his neck stood up when the pack of 8 were spotted one drainage down from our house. He is pacing, plotting and severely agitated.  The outdoorsman is in heaven.  I don’t think that he slept a wink that night.  He was as giddy as a school girl with new shoes

Miraculously he is off of work two whole hours early the next day.  How did that ever happen?  He says that strangely enough his last 2 appointments of the day cancelled.  I do not believe that for a second!  On my way home I encounter him and his buddy en route to their “spot”.  Camo men unite!! They are blasting music, frothing at the mouth, and kind of looking like a pack of wolves themselves.  The outdoorsman revs his truck up and launches the outdoorsman mobile up on a snow bank.  This must make him feel tough or something?   The camo men unload and they are ready to roll.  Their camo bandanas are tied to their heads, their rifles are slung over their shoulders, and they are off as they imagine they are camo super heroes off to avenge fallen elk.   I roll my eyes and continue home.The outdoorsman arrives home a few hours later, empty handed, but happy as a pig in poop. Weirdo!

A few days later, on our way out of town for the weekend, I notice the back seat has his pack, a gilly suit, a predator call,and his rifle from dream-guides. I laugh and ask what that's all about.  The outdoorsman smirks in some secret pleasure, "You just never know babe, you just never know."     Dear God, does this mean at any given moment the outdoorsmen will suspect a wolf in the general vicinity, turn on the howling box, suit up in some fringy camo suit get-up, slap two black paint lines across his cheeks and started army crawling across the parking lot of the restaurant we are in? Yes, that's exactly what that means!  I will not claim him but will order dessert, order another glass of wine, and wait.  He will come back eventually, he always does when he gets hungry. So if you hear of a wild man howling like a wolf running through the streets on the prowl, don't be concerned, it is just an excited outdoorsman.  Now that the wolves are in town, anything could happen.

Binocular driving: The action of attempting to drive while looking through binoculars at critters, steering with your knee, animal calling and ignoring passenger screams.


Kristen Berube Kristen Berube lives a crazy, laugh-filled life with her outdoorsman husband Remi and their three camo-clad children in Missoula, Montana. A graduate of Montana State University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, she loves being a mom and enjoys hiking, fishing, and camping. “Confessions of a Camo Queen: Living with an Outdoorsman” is her first book. 

It is available for purchase at: