Out here in North Idaho, old beat up pickups, hunting dog in the bed of the truck, and gun rack in the back window go hand in hand. More often than not you will also find the pickup owner to be a highly intelligent male with an incredible ability to think quickly. Whether in a standing or sitting position, it doesn’t seem to hurt his ability to react to any situation which may confront him.

Our friend, we will call him Ron to protect his manly persona which may be affected by this true story, is such a man.

It was in the fall of the year–leaves were turning yellow and gold on the aspens and mountain ash, rabbits were turning white, and the deer had turned from their summer palomino color to their autumn gray. Ron, like almost every other hunter, was growing his manly beard for camouflage, and his neck was getting thicker by the day–a phenomenon which happened every hunting season. He was spending an extra twenty minutes every day on his stationary bike so he would be able to chase the bull elk who were in full rut up and down the mountainsides, without his running out of breath.

He lived on a old dusty road just off highway 200 along the Pack River flats. He drove that road every morning and night going to and from his job at the local lumber mill. A field next to the road was full of gopher mounds with gophers coming out to sun themselves as they surveyed their domain. Big cottonwood trees lined the field, separating it from Pack River and the mountains beyond. No one lived within shooting distance from the road, so Ron felt perfectly justified in using it as his private shooting range. This was the perfect spot for Ron to sharpen up his elk hunting shooting skills.

Usually he would get out of his pickup and rest the rifle barrel on the hood of it as he took shots at the gophers. This particular afternoon it was rather warm so Ron thought he would just sit in the air conditioned pickup, roll down the window, and take some shots from his comfortable sitting position. He took his little 22 caliber semi-automatic rifle down from the gun rack, jacked a shell into the chamber, and commenced to take a bead on a gopher sitting on a mound some 50 yards away. Taking aim, he fired off a shot which hit low on the gopher mound. With the rifle being semi-automatic, the spent shell had been instantly ejected and another one was in the chamber ready to fire.

The gopher, rather than diving into his mound, took off running across the field. Ron’s quick intellect sprung into action. Thinking at the speed of light and with his built in instinct to lead an animal if it is running away from you, he quickly calculated where the gopher would to be at the time of his next shot, swung the rifle, and fired off another round.

Well, pandemonium! As the bullet went through the front windshield shattering the glass, the noise frightened Ron so badly he fired off two more rounds before he could even think. Looking around and realizing no one saw his incredible shooting skills, he put the gun back in the rack, cleaned up the glass the best he could, and slowly drove home with the afternoon air coming through what used to be a windshield, cooling his embarrassed red face. Fortunately, no one was home so he parked the pickup in the garage, got a cool one, and began his alibi for the window being gone. He decided he was going to tell no one but his insurance agent–and then only as much as would be required to get the window repaired.

Sticking to his alibi, Ron turned his claim in just wanting to know if he had glass breakage coverage on his policy. Assured that he did, he then stated his windshield had been shot out. It wasn’t until I heard two gophers laughing about how scared the guy looked when his windshield exploded in front of him and he thought the gophers were shooting back that I then heard the rest of the story.

Ron’s reddish beard has now turned to gray, his neck still swells up every fall, his hunting dog still rides in the bed of the truck, and his trusty 22 caliber semi-automatic still hangs in the gun rack of his pickup. The only thing changed is, now he does his quick thinking shooting from a standing position as the gophers prepare him for his elk hunting in North Idaho.