My friend Darren Bahnson swung out to Wyoming from his home in South Dakota to give elk shed hunting a whirl. The weather was lousy for the first day with a nasty snowstorm blanketing the landscape so to pass the time he helped me hang a moose head on the wall. Bahnson owns Wildlife Artistry (605-261-4213) and specializes in big game taxidermy. Several years back I shot a moose in Alaska that a couple of uneducated packers damaged in their haste to get away from the pack of brown bears guarding the carcass. In short, they cut the antlers off without thinking and hacked through the burrs. Several months later they shipped me a set of paddles minus the skull or cape.
Bahnson tracked down a skull and remounted the antlers to it. It looks great in my great room. But there's more to the story. Finding a moose skull is not easy trick, especially one with large bases and without antlers. Bahnson called every taxidermist in Alaska he could find and they all had one excuse or another, but in the end he could not land a skull.
Frustrated he sent an e-mail to the head of Alaska Department of Fish and Game asking for help. The department head was very courteous and returned the e-mail with a contact of "Chuck." Bahnson soon had Chuck on the line and he was more than happy to help, but he first had a gold mining trip to attend to. When he returned Bahnson again called and Chuck said he had found three skulls and just needed measurements of the antler base to match up the right one.
I sent Bahnson the measurements and he once again contacted Chuck who was again getting ready to leave on another trip. This time he was going on a fishing trip to help film an episode for a Discovery Channel show. It was then that Chuck asked Bahnson if he knew of his daughter, "Sarah Palin?" Chuck is Sarah's father and was helping film an episode of the series "Sarah Palin's Alaska."
So I now have a moose I shot mounted on a skull from Sarah Palin's father Chuck Heath hanging in my great room. It is indeed a small world.
|"I'm not kidding. That skull is straight from Sarah Palin's father in Alaska."