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October Surprise

This year I drew one of the rare, coveted, “any elk” tags in Natrona County. I’ve been applying for this tag for 15 years. When I saw the results on the computer screen I could hardly believe my luck. I bought maps of the area, made sure my batteries in my GPS were fresh, and hit the gym so that I…

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Hoping for Hoppers

People who know me know my feelings about dry fly fishing on Grey Reef. I’m agnostic at best when it comes to floating dries along the banks of Bessemer Bend or out at Lusby’s. I’ll go along with it, I’ll stand there with my comrades and pretend that, at any minute, the surface of the river will…

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To the Lake

In the mid-90s I lived in a craftsman two-story within walking distance of the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie. The house was so close to the university that frequently errant Frisbees landed in the front yard. My roommate was Patrick Amelotte, a graduate student of English who had just…

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Casting in Plein Air

In a nondescript bungalow in North Casper, Tom Loepp stretches canvases, paints, feeds his cat “Squish”, and goes for coffee with some of his lifelong friends. But, mostly he paints. He paints every day. Through luck and by being in the right place at the right time, I met Tom some fifteen years…

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Visitor From the North

Between the raw spring snowstorms, and the brilliant sunny days that make you believe winter has retreated for good, I received a phone call from a friend in Sheridan. Mark is one of the few people I’ve met through writing. He and his group of bird hunters saw an article I wrote for Wyoming…

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Drifting to Work

Most freshman English students will recall John Cheever’s classic short story “The Swimmer”, where our protagonist, Neddy Merrill, attempts to swim home from a pool party by cutting through people’s yards and pool hopping. He makes it, but you don’t need to be an English major to know that something…

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The Great Egg Debate

“Squirmy wormies, bead eggs, globules of chenille and antron tied to a hook–how can you call those things flies anymore?” said my friend as he pulled on his waders. We were discussing spring fishing and whether using some of the new fly fishing techniques were hurting the sport. I had recently read…

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March Madness

I woke up one morning and there was a waist-high snowman in my yard. None of the neighborhood kids claimed him. Weeks later, with the snow mostly gone, you could still discern a slightly human figure leaning in my yard. I thought seriously of sending him to take my place on various committees on…

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Wildlife in Wild Places

“Many people think a Ferrari is beautiful but it isn’t if you compare it to a horse.” –Jim Harrison “Horsing’s going to be tough,” said Chad Hanson as he climbed into my truck and we headed out on an icy morning in the middle of Wyoming’s winter. “The Green Mountain herd got scooped up last summer…

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The Cast: The Sweet Stuff

On a sticky, hot day in August 1999, I moved into a nondescript one-bedroom house in Casper, Wyoming. I had been hired to teach composition at the local community college. I didn’t rent a U-Haul to bring my belongings. Instead, I stacked my duck decoys, waders, boxes of books, and laundry baskets of…

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