THE TAILBONE RANCH DEER STORY
From 1980, as told by Mick Von Tour
Steve Moreland, December 4, 2017
In the fall of 1980, Bernie and I were batching and living on the Tailbone Ranch, about 30 miles southeast of Gordon, deep in the heart of the Sandhills. We had gone to Chadron to get a pallet of shingles to fix the roof on the old house before winter set in. While making small talk with the manager of the lumber yard, he asked if we had any deer at the Tailbone Ranch. Bernie assured him we had an adequate supply, more than a man could hunt, and plenty for whoever needed any. The truth was that we had not hunted any deer, and it was now out of season anyway.
The next day was a Saturday, and I remember it like it was yesterday. We were busy fixing the roof on the house with the shingles we had bought the day before. All of a sudden, two game wardens came driving into the yard. They get out and spot us on the roof. They tell us to get down, so we climb down the ladder and confront them. They both tell us they had reports that we were shooting deer out of season. They wanted to look around the place. Bernie said, “Be my guest.” We had not shot any deer, or anything else for that matter.
We followed them into the old block building that was our barn. One of the rafters had been kind of chewed up and had some kind of rope draped over it. One of the game wardens said, “Looks like something has sure been hanging from that rafter, possibly a deer.” Bernie chimed in and said, “Yep, it sure looks like something has been hung there.” So they search the entire place and also go into the house and look in the freezer. They don’t find a darned thing. So at the end before they got in their truck to leave, one of the game wardens says that we were in the lumber yard yesterday telling that there were plenty of deer for the whole country at the Tailbone. They left the place.
Bernie turns to me and says, “They have not left. They are probably over a hill watching us to see if we try to hide something.” So we go out to that old Quonset and get this old carpet that was rolled up. We both grabbed an end and carried it to the truck, threw it in the back, got in and drove off towards the trash blowout.
Well, here they come out of nowhere and pull up and stop us, guns drawn. They tell us to get out, stand back, and put our hands in the air. They both tell us, “We caught you with the goodies.” Bernie says, “Yep, you sure caught us,” and we both laughed. They pulled out that old carpet, unrolled it, and had the look of seeing Jesus on their faces. Bernie and I just stood there and laughed until we hurt.
Thanks, Mick. That was an amusing tale from the Tailbone to tickle the funny bone.