Is it poaching if you are white on the Navajo Rez and the only guy with a deer rifle not in pawn.
Moving into Pinon, 1998 and I unpack the guns and stash em! I unpack and unpack and finally moved into Teacher Housing, Pinon Arizona – Navajo Reservation. Being a white guy on the Navajo Rez is an experience and the learning curve is steep. From Renee Kevine bringing me frybread at home because I mistakenly said “what’s that?” to Peyote Tea – I was the classic neophyte.
November rolls around and I had gotten to know the janitor Moses Clark pretty well. He drives up to my house and honks his horn (another learning curve – Navajo do not use your doorbell – why, when ya have a horn). I am thinking what glonnie (drunk) or native arts and craft sales lady is it this time? Looking out, I see Moses in his 71 Ford lifted to the sky ! I love the truck and my little Chevy Chiddy (truck) sits sulking in the corner. Moses gets out and asks me to come over and shoot this Mule Deer that is usually in and around his place early morning – tomorrow being Saturday. I look at him and say “how do you know I have a deer rifle?” he smiles and says everyone in Pinon watched you unload your stuff! Duh, town of 400 people on a high mesa and bets on how long I was gonna last were running 6 – 7 months. Moses had a sweet deer rifle just happened to be in pawn…
I said to Moses, ” well, yes, I have a deer rifle but what about a license and tag to shoot the deer?”
Moses looked at me like I was the dumbest white boy that ever hit the reservation and said ” huh? what if you miss?” we will worry about the tag later! ”
I don’t miss and shot a beautiful Muley ! 26″ rack – and field dressed out at 185 – well, that is what I was told later when Moses dropped off my share of venison. No, I never asked to see the tag but I know it was well butchered complete with “Bashas Grocery” stamped on the white packing.
The bet on how long I would stay – well they all lost and gave up after ten years. My old deer rifle is not some sexy cool rifle but was passed down from my father to me – Mauser 8mm with an Ivory Indian head embedded in the stock!
- Kaibab Deer Guides (arizonastripguides.wordpress.com)
- Kaibab Mule Deer Outfitters (arizonastripguides.wordpress.com)