By: Bears Butt

I have hit on a wonderful new sight for my muzz.  This baby is gonna take ALL the prizes at rendezvous!  I have on on lay away and will be picking it up very soon.  There will have to be some modifications done to my muzz, but I’m sure my good buddies will be more than helpful in getting those done.  I’m not very good at that sort of stuff.  I have only drill and taped one thing in my life and that fell off.

I’ll keep you posted on the entire thing as time goes on.

So, as a warning to each of you, you have time to fine tune your sights before rendezvous….I’m just giving you a heads up.  This sight is guaranteed to hit exactly where it is aimed…every time!

Bears Butt

MAY 1, 2012

Written on May 1st, 2012 , Just more stories
By: Bears Butt

I have a question.

Would it be considered “cheatin” if I was shooting in an open sight competition and I laid my left index finger (or any finger for that matter) across the top of my rear sight?

So, here I am, shooting against a pretty good shot at the rendezvous.  And it is now coming down to just he and I trying to hit a half inch dot down on the 30 yard range.  Closest to the center of the dot is going to win, and going to win a really nice prize.

We both get loaded up and the range master calls us to the firing line.  He looks both rifles over real close and says they are both fixed, open sight rifles and he gives us the nod to go ahead and cap up.

Then he calls on me to take my shot while my competitor watches.  I aim as careful as I can sometimes do and squeeze of my shot.  BOOM!  When the smoke clears from the blackpowder discharge I see my shot placement is just about 4 o’clock and just on the edge of my dot.  Not too bad for me.

Next the range master calls the other guy up for his shot.  He cocks his rifle and steadies his rifle for the shot.  But, then his left hand comes back toward his face and the forearm of his rifle is resting in between his thumb and his index finger.  He lays his index finger down on top of the rear sight and commences to shoot.  BOOM!  Plumb center on his dot!

Now, I’m not a poor loser, but didn’t he just create himself a peep sight?  Technically speaking his rifle has an open sight, but when he put his finger down across the top of the rear sight, the small opening between the underside of his finger and the bottom of the sight created a peep hole through which he was able to see his front sight and then was able to place the sight picture exactly where it needed to be in order to plumb his target.

Perhaps I AM a poor loser and didn’t think about doing what he did before he dun it to me.

Bears Butt

Thinking about rendezvous.

April 25, 2012

Written on April 25th, 2012 , Just more stories
By: Bears Butt

This is extracted from the definition in Wikipedia:

Easter is determined on the basis of lunisolar cycles. The lunar year consists of 30-day and 29-day lunar months, generally alternating, with an embolismic month added periodically to bring the lunar cycle into line with the solar cycle. In each solar year (January 1 to December 31 inclusive), the lunar month beginning with an ecclesiastical new moon falling in the 29-day period from March 8 to April 5 inclusive is designated as the paschal lunar month for that year. Easter is the third Sunday in the paschal lunar month, or, in other words, the Sunday after the paschal lunar month’s 14th day. The 14th of the paschal lunar month is designated by convention as the Paschal full moon, although the 14th of the lunar month may differ from the date of the astronomical full moon by up to two days.[57] Since the ecclesiastical new moon falls on a date from March 8 to April 5 inclusive, the paschal full moon (the 14th of that lunar month) must fall on a date from March 21 to April 18 inclusive.


After reading that I have a slight headache.  What does it mean?  Here is my take on it all.


Way back when there were all sort of gods and goddess’ for everything, you know like Pegasus and Zor and Hermities (I just made them up, but some might be real), the Mythological days, the days when someone had to explain the meaning of whatever it was that was happening.  So they made up a story about it and gave that god or goddess a name that from then on became the root to a lot of words.

So, back then there was a very fair princess.  A lady who was not quite gifted enough to be a goddess yet.  She had a very bright mind and was a curious sort.

One beautiful day, the first day where the temperature reached near 80 degrees where she lived, she was out in the woods walking, singing to herself and just plain having a wonderful time basking in the sun.  She sat down on a fallen log and lo and behold up popped a smallish rabbit along side the log.

The rabbit sat there wiggling its little nose and looking at her.  She began to talk to the rabbit and said, “Rabbit, if you could understand me, you would hop away and bring me back an egg”.  And as she finished that statement the rabbit disappeared behind the log.

She went back to her singing and basking and thought no more about it until suddenly, there was the rabbit back in the same spot.  But not with an egg, but with a whole chicken!  And the chicken calmly laid an egg right there in front of her!

Her hands went up to her cheeks and she gasped, “Woah Rabbit!  Did you see that?”

And so, there you have it.  Pick a nice spring day, the one where the temperature nears 80 degrees, get a rabbit and some chickens and enjoy the sunshine.

For supper tonight, the night before Easter, we are having rabbit and chicken.  Mostly because tomorrow is Easter and the temperature is only expected to be around 70, not close enough to be 80 yet.

Bears Butt

April, 2012

Written on April 7th, 2012 , Just more stories
By: Bears Butt

I like to share stuff I find out about and you are the luckiest one to be reading this right now.  I just found out about where the saying “Not worth his salt” came from.  Actually, I had never given the statement any thought.  And I have used it a time or two.

It actually came from ancient Roman times.  Salt was considered a very important item in their lives.  I’m sure much as it does to us today.  They didn’t have a very large supply of it on hand and so it was costly as well.  It really made the food taste a whole lot better than food without it.  And, as an added bonus, food could be preserved by dissolving salt in water and soaking meat in the brine.

Remember, they didn’t have refrigerators in those days.  Heck, they didn’t even have electricity back then.  Can you imagine?

So, the soldiers often times would take part of their pay in salt.

We all know that all soldiers are upstanding, honest, brave, loyal etc., etc. and they all work very hard and strive to do all they can 100% of the time to serve their kings and the people of their country….right?

Well, there must have been at least one of those old time soldiers that didn’t give all that one might think they should and so the paymaster of the time made the comment (and I’m sure it was muttered lowly under his breath to his assistant at the time) “This soldier is not worth his salt, let alone monetary pay”!

There you have it!  Am I worth my salt for telling you this?

Bears Butt

April 2012

Written on April 3rd, 2012 , Just more stories
By: Bears Butt


I have a friend who likes to deal with whatever he thinks might make him a penny, a dime, nickel or whatever.  Making a few cents is what it is all about.  His name is Frank.

An honest man.  A man of integrity.  A man of character (to say the least).  A man who knows what he wants and he works hard at trying to make a few dollars at whatever he is doing.  Always looking for a bargain.  Buy it low and sell it high.  That’s Frank.

When he is buying something, he will never pay what you are asking unless it is absurdly under priced.   If your price is in line with its value, he will talk you down in your asking price until he is happy to buy it.

Almost always smiling and friendly until the deal is made…and then..the deal is made.  It’s his problem or yours.  But either way, he will honor an amount of “guarantee”, be it, once it’s in your truck it’s yours, or I’ll write you a bill of sale and guarantee it for 3 days.  Money back.

Once Frank wanted a new truck…a Ford truck.  He wanted a work truck with no frills.  No floor mats would be fine with him.  It must have a heater, four wheel drive and a radio would be nice.  If you are old enough to remember, the 50’s and 60’s trucks came that way.  Wind down/up windows.  Manual seat adjustments.  AM radio.  The better ones even had a windshield washer that sprayed onto your windshield.

Well , that was the type of truck Frank wanted.  He called around and heard all the B.S. about what each Ford dealer had.  He could order one, but it would come with floor mats,  electric this and electric that.  It would have a radio that could play CD’s etc., 6 speakers, heated outside mirrors etc. etc. etc.

Frank did not want that, and he especially did not want the price they were asking.  He was looking for a ¾ ton Ford truck, 4 wheel drive for around $12,000.  Is that so out of line?  Not to Frank it wasn’t.  But as the years went by and inflation kept driving the lowest price ever so much higher, Frank was falling into the “new truck price, pay it or go away” dilemma.  No dealer was coming down from the price they were asking…none of them!  And so, Frank eventually bought his no frills truck.  I have no idea what he paid, but I’m sure the salesman only made enough to buy his lunch that day.

So, here is Frank and his hobby.  Garage sales!  Storage Bay auctions!  Friends calling and asking him to buy this or that.  Every day, every weekend, all the time…Frank is looking for that ever illusive chest of drawers with the locked bottom drawer full of uncirculated 1943 D pennies.

Recently Frank was at a Garage Sale, and I’m sure he was asking the little old widow lady if she had any sporting goods that wasn’t on display, and hoping her answer would lead to a firearm in mint condition, a few boxes of ammo, a gun case to go with it and at a price far below the $50 Frank had in his wallet.  When suddenly, a lady who was also shopping in the same garage sale, blurted out, “does anyone here have a dryer they want to sell”?

Of course Frank has several dryers in his storage shed  “over on Malvern”.  And he makes arrangements with her to meet up and make a deal.

At Malvern he guarantees her it works, even though he has never plugged it in.  He gives her an “unconditional guarantee for three days”!  Now THAT is a great deal, coming from Frank.  I figure he never really looked her in the eyes, but most likely was looking lower than her chin the whole time.  And he helped load it up in her truck.

A day later she calls him up…”Frank, I just want you to know, this dryer you sold me is awesome!  I love it”!  Frank is delighted to hear it worked and was just what she needed to dry her wet clothes.   She went on to ask him if he could use her old broken one for salvage because it was in her way and she needed to get rid of it.  Of course, Frank is willing to be the hero and take it off her hands.  After all, scrap dryers are getting about $10 at the salvage yard.  Add that to Franks already large haul of cash from the sale of his $2 dryer that he sold her. (These prices are just guesses on my part as I have no idea what salvage value is nor do I know how much Frank paid for his dryer).

So, Frank goes over to her place to pick up the old broken dryer.  Franks wife, June, also goes along for the ride.  She probably suspects this buxom lady might be up to some sort of trick and she needs to help defend Frank from his “old man” thoughts.  Frank is able to load this broken down dryer into the back of his truck.  Whether he had help or not I don’t know, but with a good looking, buxom lady standing close by, a man’s ego can get him to do most anything.

Back over at Malvern, June is sitting in the truck minding her business as Frank pushes the dryer out and onto the ground with a bang!  Frank climbs down from the back of the pickup and suddenly realizes there are a couple of coins laying there on the ground by the dryer.  He picks them up and as he does he sees another coin trying to come out from between the bottom of the dryer and one of the side panels.  He tips the dryer on its side and proceeds to pull the bottom panel off the dryer.  When it is off, his eyes got REALLY WIDE as he peered into the dryer and saw hands full of coins laying there.  Literally hands full and he begins to scoop them up in his double hands and carries them to June.  She lays a newspaper on her lap and Frank dumps the hand full of coins onto the newspaper.  He goes back for another scoop and then another.

Grinning from ear to ear, like I know Frank to do when things are going exceptionally well for him, he almost totally dismantles that dryer to find every one of the coins that had found themselves trapped in there over many years of use.  Yes, a 1960’s vintage clothes dryer…you know…a green one.  Thousands of loads of dried clothes have been put through that dryer and over the years, a coin here and a coin there and suddenly the dryer just can’t do another load.  Did the motor stop because it was worn out or did the coins lodge in the space the drum rolled in and caused it to bind up?  We will never know.

What we do know is that when Frank and June counted up the money that was taken from the bottom of that dryer they had a total of $10.85!!!!  Amazing!

So, there you have the story of Frank and just one of his dealings.  Could this have been his best deal ever?  I think not, but it sure is a heck of a story from a man who tells the cops he is in the salvage business and they tell him he does not fit the mold.

Congratulations Frank!  Good job my friend!

Bears Butt

Feb. 2012

Written on February 12th, 2012 , Just more stories
By: Bears Butt

Bears Butt was recently approached about his involvement of late in a recent poaching incident.  He admitted to acting alone in the case and thought nothing of admitting to eating all of the evidence.

More to this story as the day unfolds.


Well, it has been quite an intense day today as investigators sift through what seems to be a mountain of evidence.  In Bears Butt’s home there seems to be a rather unique collection of mule deer buck antlers, like none other found in the state so far.  We asked the authorities what it all means, and their only comment was, that they could not say at this time.

As most of us who know Bears Butt, this does not seem like something he would do.  However, we also know that if he had ever done something like this he would probably be the first to turn himself in and admit his error in judgement.  Could this be the case now?

As of 7 p.m. this evening we still do not know the extent of the poaching case, nor do we know just what it was that Bears Butt admitted to poaching.  We will keep a reporter on the case, but we understand that Bears Butt has asked that he and his family be left alone.  No charges have been filed at this time.

No one has seen the where-abouts of Bears Butt since this morning and it is understood that he is still in the area.  Authorities have a watch on his movements through gps tracking devices attached to his vehicles.  This was a court order handed down last night when the case first opened up.


Word this morning has it, that authorities were able to gain access to Bears Butt home without incident and downloaded pictures from his camera.  These pictures have been released to the public.

And so the mystery is solved about Bears Butts poaching incident.  One poached egg atop a single slice of toast and a side of orange juice.

What a wonderful breakfast for the on the go person!  You too can make your own, as the recipe will be posted in the “Recipes” section of this site very soon.


Bears Butt

Feb. 2012


Written on February 8th, 2012 , Just more stories
By: Bears Butt

The following is a paraphrase of a birthday card my 10 year old granddaughter made for a good friend of hers.  Her parents made her make another one to give her friend because….well, you will understand when you read what she had written.

“Dear……,  Happy Birthday!  I’m so glad that I could come today to your birthday……gift…tomorrow….present because we have a huge problem in our house.  We have termites eating our wood and also our water heater was leaking.  So we have to replace our carpet and get lanolium.  So we have mold and we have to replace our kitchen.  So the next time you come to our house you are going to see a difference or see an ugly floor all torn out and see termites because I saw one with my own eyes!  Have a great birthday!  Your friend…Peace!”

Sydnie is such a sweet girl!

Bears Butt

Jan. 2012

Written on January 27th, 2012 , Just more stories
By: Bears Butt


It was a warm spring day in Willard, Utah and mother had some time off of her usual work place.  She decided it was a good time to clean out the old cellar, under the back of the house.  This was a task that was usually accomplished maybe every other year or maybe every three years.  No matter, the cellar was filled with the usual;  Spiders, dead mice, live mice, bugs, broken fruit jars, rotten potatoes and onions and lots and lots of dust.

Mother wanted the place to look real good when she was done, because that years fruit was going to be put up and placed on those shelves and she wanted it to at least be as presentable as she could.  The cellar is a cold, damp place.  It had been hand dug many years before and the walls were lined with rocks.  The rocks were held in place with mortar of some sort that was crumbly.  So the whole rock work had been painted many times with white paint.  I’m certain lead based paint was used more than not.  Cus that was all they had back then.

The shelves were just pine and rather rickety.  Nailed at the top to the joists that held the floor up overhead and nailed at the bottom with just a frame work of 2X4’s.  The shelves themselves were of one inch thick pine about 12 inches wide.

So, mother would have us kids help her out with this task.  All the “everything” that was in the cellar had to come out and be put on the ground outside.  Once everything was out she went to sweeping and wiping down the shelves and cupboard and everything else down there.  When that had dried good enough, she would gather things from outside, one at a time, wipe it down and put it where she thought it best for safe keeping.

Well, this particular cleaning involved me.  Now, I have never considered myself a “bad guy”.  Maybe a bit curious, and to some perhaps a little more curious than others.  But, here she handed me a tray that held a set of nice pure silver things.  I carried it carefully up the cellar stairs and placed it on the ground outside.  And then I went back down for some more things to carry up.  After the last load was delivered to the ground outside, I got to looking at the silver set.  Boy it was a pretty set.  A creamer, a sugar bowl with a lid on it, a nice spoon and of course the tray.  All of every piece was pure silver.  Not really shiney, because of where it was stored, but silver none the less.

Mom had instructed me at some point to make sure some of the burnable stuff, like cardboard and wood scraps got put into the burning barrel out by the coal house.  Of course I always followed instructions to the “T”.  That fire was burning  good in that old 55 gallon barrel.

Looking at the silver set again, I got to thinking just how fragile it looked.  The creamer wasn’t very thick walled.  I did not think about the fact that all it had to do was hold cream in it, while someone served up a special guest or two some tea or coffee.  Well, I was about eight years old afterall, and I always felt I was pretty strong for my age and size, so I picked it up and gave it a squeeze across the top.  SMUSH!  It caved in so very easily I could not believe it.  So, next I stepped on it and it smashed even more.  Then with a stomp or two it was pretty dang flat and didn’t look like a creamer at all.

My mind just raced to think what next I could do with it and then it hit me!  I’ll bet it will melt right down and be pure silver!  I went to the burning barrel and started looking around for something to put it in so I could put it in the fire.  I found a 3 pound metal coffee can and a broken metal coat hanger in the pile of barrel dumpings near by.  I rigged the coat hanger so it would suspend the coffee can inside the burning barrel , then I put the smashed creamer inside the can and hung it on the inside of the barrel.  I moved the fire around so it was under and around the can and then I left to go see if I could help some more with the cellar cleanup.

Time has a way of getting away from us as we age and right now (2011) the time is really flying past.

I grew up somehow and found myself suddenly being discharged from the U.S. Air Force.  I was 24 years old and came home to Willard to start the next phase of my life.  Of course until I got my feet on the ground and a job, or college or whatever was next, I was staying with Mom and Dad in the old house.  My bedroom was upstairs in the attic area as usual.  One morning mom and I were sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee and she suddenly said, “Oh Wynn I have something I have been saving for you!”  And she jumped up and headed for the porch.

What she handed me was a plastic bag with a wire tie around the top.  Inside was a note and a piece of metal.  I opened it up and the note read “Mothers Silver Tea Pot”.  The metal had melted and formed in the curved shape of the bottom of the 3 pound coffee can, it was about 3 inches long and maybe ½ inch thick at the thickest part.

Mother just stood there and grinned.  She told me the story of going out to the burning barrel the day after we had cleaned out the cellar and there she found the can and the cooled metal inside.  She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that since the creamer was missing from the set, that that piece of cold metal in the bottom of that can had to be that old creamer!  Sure enough it was.  And she saved it all those years.  I have to ask myself right now, why she didn’t kick my butt hard for that one.  Sorry mom!

So, there you have the story about that, but what about the Silver Slug?

After several of us had gotten ourselves muzzleloaders, we were doing quite a bit of shooting to get used to them and fine tune the sights.  We were almost always shooting targets someplace and tweeking those sights.  We were also getting to be quite accomplished in the marksmanship part of shooting muzzleloaders  as well.

One day we were looking for something and came across an old bullet mold.  It had markings on it that said it was a mold for a 45/70 bullet.  A strange looking mold as it has other uses besides just molding a bullet.   I decided that day, that I could melt down that silver piece of metal and pour it into that mold and make a “silver slug”.  And one day I took the time to do just that.  I had to melt and pour and melt and pour several times before I got one that was nearly perfect in shape.

And then I went in search of something to mount it onto.  Something solid and something that had some meaning to it.  When I found just the right thing to mount it on, it was like a magic day.  I had picked up a rock down at mothers  old cabin site South of Monticello, Utah a year or so before.  What kind of rock it is, I don’t know, but it was a bit heavy for its size, had some color to it and had an odd shape.  Perfect for what I was going to do with it.

I carefully planned out the place I was going to put that slug and with all the care in the world I glued it exactly where I wanted.  When it was dry, I tried and tried to get it to come off, but it wouldn’t and it is still stuck to that exact place after all these years.  Next came attaching some leather to the “flats” of the rock.  I glued and glued and trimmed and trimmed.  When that was done, it sat for awhile while I pondered what I should write on the leather.  Something pertaining to muzzleloaders and shooting and something explaining the bullet itself.  One day it hit me just what to write on the leather!

Yessir!  “This Silver Slug Symbolizes Superior, Squirmin, Squintin, Squatin and Scorin!”  After all is is going to be a travelling award to be held by the best shooter among those who shoot, at whatever is shot at and whenever  there is a shoot.

Next to the bullet I wrote: “Blackpowder only—–All Others Eat Pork”.  That is a take off of a story we have about muzzleloaders vs conventional cartridge rifles.  Mountain men eat venison, buffalo, elk and antelope, while the “flatlanders” eat pig meat.  We call conventional cartridge guns, “suppository” guns.

On the back of the rock I wrote a brief about the Silver Bullet and the mold that made it.  (I believe Jack “Wapiti Dung” Zundel has that mold in his possession).

Well, once we started shooting and passing the Silver Slug around we would write our name and the year we won it.  I think the first year was 1977 (I could be wrong) and after many years of shooting and passing it around we decided to retire it and put it in a safe place for posterity.  I have it in my possession if you would like to see it first hand.

The names were written almost anywhere we had a place to write a name and put a date down.  There were some years it didn’t get passed around because the holder of the trophy didn’t realize they had it.  In one case Wapiti Dung, Mountain man Extraordinaire, had it on a shelf in his basement and it was there long enough that even the mice would not run past it for fear of sneezing from all the dust.

It was shot for and passed around until our good friend and Willow Creek Free Trapper “Waldoon” won it at our rendezvous in  1994.  It was brought back to the rendezvous a few years after he passed on and that is when we decided it needed to be retired.

It is funny how some things get started and become tradition for many years and then something happens to end that tradition.  We had fun with this one and I, for one, believe it made better muzzleloader shooters out of most of us.  After all, we are very competitive, and to get to hold onto the coveted “Silver Slug” until the next time we shot meant quite a lot to each of us.

Bears Butt

Dec. 2011

Written on December 18th, 2011 , Just more stories
By: Bears Butt

This is an account of the growing of the Willow Creek Free Trappers from its inception.  If in my account I misrepresent some true facts, please get hold of me and I will rectify the error(s).  I do not intend to make errors in this accounting.  This writing is for historical purposes and the more accurate the better.  Some names of those not associated with the Willow Creek Free Trappers will be either fictitious names I have made up, or I will make the name and the event one which you can read between the lines of.  I don’t intend to P.O. anyone.

The number of active Willow Creek Free Trappers in the beginning were not so large as they are today.  All good things tend to start out small and grow from that point.  The Willow Creek Free Trappers group is no different than that.  A few gather to share in a common thing, sport, activity etc. and it grows from that point.

It was in the early 1970’s, Rick (No Grimace),  Clyde (Tracker) and I (Bears Butt) had recently gotten out of the armed services and back into civilian life.  We each had enjoyed our time in Viet Nam and other parts of the USA and/or abroad and were happy to get on with the rest of our lives.  Not much different than hundreds of thousands of others across this great nation of ours.

Looking for something “different”, Rick, was intent at purchasing himself a muzzle load rifle and I had gone with him on one of his shopping excursions.  He was not sure which way to go with his purchase and during those days, one had to do a lot of digging to find information about most everything in life.  We did not have the world wide web as a source of information and so, in order not to waste his money, he wanted to check out all of the different aspects of muzzleloaders and how they operated.  Did he want to go with a flint lock or a cap lock?  This is a big question to ask oneself before laying out the money for the rifle and gear to operate it.

In the mean time, he got married and of course a major thing like that can cause personal plans to come to a halt and be put on a back burner.  Which it did in his case.  His muzzleloader purchase would just have to wait.  Clyde and I were busy with college and sharing  rent on a home near Weber State University and of course, we were poor college students attending school on the G.I. Bill.  We had our dreams, but school and partying were our main stays at the time.

It wasn’t long before I too married and Clyde was making summer trips to Alaska where he worked and played and was pretty much on his own.  I moved in with my new bride and we started our lives together.   Clyde was going to have a birthday in August only a couple of weeks  after I had gotten married and to show that I was still his good friend, my new bride, Sherry (Winemaker) and I decided we would purchase him a muzzleloader  rifle kit.  He was a pretty happy dude, as he also shared with Rick that age old dream of owning a muzzleloader rifle.  In his own words, Clyde said “He was shocked Sherry and Wynn would spend so much money on him for a birthday present.  In the 70’s the price of a muzzleloader kit could buy several weeks of beer ‘n grimace.” Now Clyde had one and he went right to work putting it together.  No, quick and dirty accomplishment in those days.

Rick heard about Clydes good fortune and so did Ricks wife, Diane.  She gave Rick a muzzleloader kit on his birthday that November.  This was a great thing.  Now Rick has his dream before him and all winter to put it together.

Well, seeing how happy Clyde and Rick were with their new rifles made Sherry decide that perhaps I too would be as happy if I had a muzzleloader rifle kit and she purchased one for me for Christmas of that same year.  Wow!  Happy was an understatement!  I was jumping for joy!  This kit had no name as to brand, just that it was a .45 caliber and through a bit of research I found out it was a Kentucky style with the stock extending to the very muzzle of the rifle.  Actually, all three of our rifles were of the Kentucky style.   The three of us put our rifle kits together as quickly as we could.  I then went into sort of a “gotta get it” mountain man mentality.  I gathered up some leather and made a possible bag.  Hit a local slaughter shop and picked up a cows horn and made a powder horn.  Drilled a hole in the end of a cut off deer antler for a powder measure.  I really went to town getting ready to shoot that rifle!

Clyde had finished fitting all the many pieces of his rifle into the stock and when he was ready to make the final finish to the wood, he had a great idea and sent the stock up to a friend he had met in Alaska to have the stock carved.  His friend, Sam Welch, was a very accomplished carving and engraving artist and had done work for several gun manufacturers and won quite a few carving and engraving contests.  Sam did what he could to mark out a design on Clydes stock.  He did some of the carving to show Clyde how it was intended to be carved and sent it back for Clyde to finish.

Between what the three of us were doing we had many, many conversations about muzzleloaders, equipment needed and where we needed to find all of the stuff we were going to need to shoot these things.  We needed powder, ball, caps, patches etc.  And as fate would have it, we found several local sources  where we could acquire our needed “stuff”.

Well, it wasn’t long and all three of us had hour rifles done and were ready to go out and shoot them.  None of us had ever shot one, nor even loaded a muzzleloader.  We each had read a little about the “how tos” in books and so we felt really confident we could get the job done.  We picked a nice Spring day and hit the gravel pit above town to shoot them.  We all had the necessary equipment to get the job done and we were all excited to do it.   This was going to be a fun time!

Rick and Clyde had such confidence in their rifles and how they had put them together with such precision, that they had bet a case of beer on the first shot and who’s gun would come closest to the center of the target on their first shot.  I do not know who won that bet, but I do know that the beer betting tradition still holds true today.  It also lead to us shooting for a coveted trophy we made and call the “Silver Slug”.  That is another story that will be written some day.

With the three rifles sighted in, we were pretty pleased with what we had accomplished to that date.  Life certainly was good!


At the time Utah did not have a special muzzleloader deer season and so, being the venturous sole I am, I decided I would take my muzzleloader out on the general rifle deer season and try it out.  I had sighted it in and filed down the rear sight just right so I could hit pretty much what I aimed at out to about 50 yards.  I was confident, that given the chance at a muley buck I could hit it.  There were no  restrictions as to shooting .45 caliber round balls at deer at that time and so that is what I chose to shoot.

Opening day found me several thousand yards away from camp, hiking slowly along with one of my nephews, Jay (Soft Ball), taking step for step with me going up the mountain.  Jay was a couple of years away from being old enough to legally carry a rifle on a deer hunt, so he was with his Uncle Wynn to see how it was done. Suddenly in the trees ahead coming our way was a nice 4 point buck and it was going to go right past us at about 30 yards.   The hammer was cocked, the gun brought to bear and the shot taken.  The buck was laying in the sage when the smoke cleared!  YYYEEEHHAAAAA!  Buck down!  In fact,  on that particular years hunt, that was the only buck anyone in our camp took…and with a muzzleloader to boot!

A new mark was set and a new challenge was established.  Can anyone beat Wynn’s (Bears Butt) luck?


Well, time marched on and soon Jack (Wapiti Dung) purchased himself a muzzleload rifle kit and put it together.  And as time continued to march on, years and years of marching, nearly everyone in the family had one!

Well, what goes with a muzzleloader better than the re-enacting of the age old mountain man era of the early 1800’s?  Jack had gotten himself involved with an organization in the Brigham City area and they were going to have a shooting event in the mouth of Perry Canyon.  Jack invited Clyde, Rick and myself to that event since it was open to the public.  Clyde and Rick could not attend and so, Jack and I found ourselves shooting against “old timers” at the days event.  The “Old Timers” all wore leather pants and shirts or they had on other clothing that showed us they had been doing this mountain man thing for quite some time.  We were quite a bit out numbered in their ranks and I felt as if perhaps I had bitten off too much to even be in their midst.  Jack and my shooting skills with these newly acquired “smoke poles” just wasn’t up to what these old timers were showing us.  On one of the last shooting events of the day they made everyone gather up in teams of four people.  I hung back and soon there was a team looking for one more man.  I was it.

The object of this shoot was to cut a 2X4 board in two pieces by shooting numerous times at a painted line across the 2X4 until the top part fell off.  The team who did that first was the winning team.  Every team started at the same time and boom, boom, boom, boom went the guns.  Once fired you had to quickly re-load and fire again.  Remember the team that cut the board first was the winners.  I lucked out and was on a team with some pretty good shots and when it was all over the team I was on won the shoot!  I’ll never forget that and the prize I won was a pewter beaver, which I proudly wore on my possible bag for many years.  I called it a “silver beaver” as a rub to those who didn’t have one.

Now, with one small rendezvous gathering behind us, Jack and I started to hit other one day gatherings around the area.  We found ourselves clear over in the Price area one day and even though we did not win any of the shooting events we still had a great time playing.  And then that Fall, over Labor Day weekend, we were surrounded by the essence of “Fort Bridger” in Wyoming and the rendezvous that was being held there.

Now, you talk about Old Timers…This was the place for Old Timers and lots of them.  Tipis were scattered all around and Indian and Mountain men were also everywhere you looked.  It was quite the sight and there we were among them in our levi pants and wanna be shirts and hats.  But we were there by golly and we were having quite a time.  The next most memorable shoot of my life happened that weekend.  There we were on the firing line with over 100 other shooters.  We were not the only ones in levi’s, but as far as we were concerned we were.

This particular shoot called for the shooter to hit and break a dry spaghetti  stick off the top of the target range at 30 yards, breaking off part and leaving the bottom part still sticking in the target board.  Imagine even being able to see a spaghetti stick at 30 yards let alone hit it.  Everyone had a number down on the range and each was handed a spaghetti stick and we went down and stuck it up above our number.  When the shooting started the range master called out the number of the shooter and everyone watched as he took his one shot.  Boom..miss!  Boom..miss!  Boom..miss!  and so it went as the shooting got closer and closer to our numbers.  When it was my turn to shoot, my heart was pumping really hard.  My number was called and the crowd went quiet.  I took aim and carefully squeezed the trigger, BOOM….and the top part of the spaghetti stick disappeared!  I was shocked and so was the crowd and the range master…I hit it!

In the end, I was the only one out of all those shooters to hit the spaghetti on the first shot.  Others did it on subsequent shots, but not as good as me!  I won a very find hand made smokers bag with a hand crafted clay pipe inside it!  I still have it to this day.  And NOW, Jack and I are Seasoned Mountain men!  We have the guns and possibles, we have a few stories, we have the swagger.  We have been to “Bridger”!  All we need now is the clothing.  And I already have one tanned deer hide from the first buck I got with my muzzy!

Come Spring of the next year, we heard about the “Old Ephraim Mountain Men” and their Cache Valley Rendezvous, being held up on the Beaver Creek, somewhere North of the Beaver Mountain Ski Resort.  There was not a question at all that we were going to be there for the entire weekend.  Now mind you, we are still going to be in levis, but that is alright with us and with all of the participants of that rendezvous.  And the weekend found Sherry and I camped along side, Jack and his wife Marla (Rut Runner) in a mud hole.  It had rained and snowed prior to our going up to the rendezvous site on the Friday before the weekend event really got under way and the mountain road was slippery and muddy beyond belief.  As we approached the rendezvous camp area where the tipis were pitched sliding and spinning, here to our rescue cam Arron “Many Skins” Giles with his truck and chain.  He yelled, “I’ll pull you till we stop and that is where you will be camped!”  And he did!  And that is where we camped!

The next day was Saturday, and Monie (Bones) and Clyde came up to “The Big Muddy”  with Sherry and my infant son, Brandon (Many Steps AKA Weasel) in tow.   He was about 8 months old at the time.  They too enjoyed the mud.  In fact, the mud was a side show to the rest of the rendezvous.  Sure it was muddy and cold and wet, but the excitement of being at a real honest to goodness rendezvous was a real treat.

Eventful?  Well, I don’t recall that we won any shoots but we sure shot a lot.  What I do remember is two old time Old Ephraim mountain folks wrestling in a big mud hole.  One was a woman named “Morning Star” and the man’s name escapes me.  I’m pretty sure they were dating at the time.  Boy howdy did that pair have a muddy good time in that mud hole.  How they stood the cold of that I will never know and worst yet, how did they get cleaned up afterword?  The cold creek?

Now some of you who are reading  this might just be historians and as for me telling you the exact date of that rendezvous, I can not, but I can tell you it was that club’s 2nd annual mountain man rendezvous.  Their first one was held on the campus of Utah State University the year before.  We did not make it to that one, but we have not missed one since.

A short note on the next years rendezvous.  This same bunch from the Old Ephraim Mountain Men held their third rendezvous on the banks of the Rock Creek, just up the road from the Hardware Ranch.  That was one very pretty place for a rendezvous and I will always remember as we drove up the road and looked down into the narrow valley to our left side, there stood the many, many tipis and lean too tents pitched down there.  It really took your breath away it was such a pretty site.  At that years rendezvous of course we participated in the shooting events, but the most eventful thing I remember from that was when Jack traded something for a blackpowder pistol!  WOW!  Just like in the days of the real mountain men of the 1800’s!  He took something of lesser value and traded UP for a pistol!  Now Jack just crossed over into being a full fledged mountain man!

Now at a rendezvous, well heck, whenever we are shooting, it is very important to Win!  We are all very competitive.  And even in levi’s we were trying to win every shoot if we could.  Over the years we obtained better shooting equipment and refined our ways of squirmin, squintin , squattin and scorein and I must say we have had our days.  Also, at the rendezvous you meet some really great people.  Actually, you can meet some very much NOT so great people as well.  But one can usually tell the good from the bad after a short time.  And we became friends with some of the best.  Nearly all of them belonged to their own gathering of folks that liked to do the blackpowder thing and they would gather their respective clubs at common locations on occasion and have their own rendezvous.

We had heard about the “Three Clubs” rendezvous for a few years before we were actually asked to join them.  The “Three Clubs” rendezvous was just what it implies, three different clubs with that one common interest of blackpowder shooting and doing what the mountain men of the past did.  They had gathered several times before we were ever invited, and when we were invited we felt very much a part of being mountain men.  We were given the directions to the gathering site and the date and when the time came, a small group of Willow Creek Free Trappers ventured that way to meet up with them and enjoy whatever it was they did.

Clyde (Tracker), Monie (Bones), Shauna (Lit’L Fawn), Kelly (Wonka the Runner),  Roy (4 Hooves), Dee (Two Breaks), Jerry (Many Grimace), Brian (Fox), Jack (Wapiti Dung) Marla (Rut Runner), Chris (not sure if she has a mtn man name), Tracy (Edjukateer)  and Steve (Dry Dog) all made the venture to join the gang at the three clubs event.  Trailers in tow.  As they approached the three clubs camp, the road was blocked by the camp of one of their attendees.  When asked if he would move some of his things so they could proceed past and find a camp site, he refused!  And so, they turned their trailers around and went back down the road and found a place big enough for them to camp.  The thing about that was, they travelled quite some distance from where the three clubs event was happening and they decided they would just have their own rendezvous right where they were camped!

Welcome to the Willow Creek Free Trappers first ever rendezvous!  YYYEEEEHHHHAAAAAA!

That was Labor Day weekend, 1984!  The group there decided after they had finished with their rendezvous, they needed to chose a Booshway for the next year.  What better way to choose that person than to have it decided by who outshot everyone else.  So since he outshot all of them they chose Jerry “Many Grimace” Torgeson as the Booshway.  They had had one heck of a great time camping and shooting and celebrating the beginning of something we have carried on every year since then.  At this point I have to thank that jackass that was camped in the middle of the road on that weekend and who refused to move a few of his camp items to allow other camps to proceed past his camp.

Again for some of you who might be keeping track of things.  Here is a listing of past Booshways of the Willow Creed Free Trappers rendezvous and the year they were acting in that capacity:

1984:  The beginning!

1985..Jerry “Many Grimace” Torgeson                      1986..Steve “Dry Dog” Skrobechewski

1987..Rick “No Grimace” Zundel                                 1988..Wynn “Bears Butt” Zundel

1989..Clyde “Tracker” Westley                                    1990..Brandon “Many Steps” Zundel

1991..Dan “Muskrat” Gyllenskog                                1992..Curtis “Visitor” Wight

1993..Tracy “Cherry” AKA “Edjukateer”  Zundel      1994..Jack “Wapiti Dung” Zundel

1995..Eric “Over E-Z” Zundel                                        1996..Steve “Fat Duck” Zundel

1997..Kent “Waldoon” Walton                                    1998..Ken “Fly’n Feathers” Ormond

1999..Reed “Pale Rider” McBride                                2000..Wynn “Bears Butt” Zundel

2001..Steve “Dry Dog” Skrobechewski                       2002..John “Yellow Hand” Fellenz

2003..(20th annual)  Monie “Bones”  and Clyde “Tracker”  Westley

2004..Cindi “Explorer” and Karl “Hunter” Summers

2005.. James “Slow Char”  and Wendy “Moose Palms” Gyllenskog

2006..Shane ”Baby Boy” and Rick “No Grimace”  Zundel

2007.. Terry “Long Shot” and  Heather “Jammers” Wells

2008..Sherry ”Winemaker” Zundel                               2009..Mike ”Lead Burn” Gyllenskog

2010..Sharon ”Bulls Eye” and  Tom “Tommy Boy”  Perkins

2011..Rod ”L-Rod” and Mellissa “Dew Drop“ Wayment

And for the upcoming year 2012..Brandon “Weasel” and April “Hot Spark“ Zundel


Now you might be thinking, how is the Booshway chosen and why are there two some years.

In the beginning the Booshway was chosen by how well they shot.  We would shoot many targets over the weekend event and keep score of those targets.  In the end, the person who had the highest score was automatically the Booshway for the next year.  Now, in reality that person could turn down the job of Booshway if they wanted and then the second best shooter would be offered the job.  If that person refused it the third place shooter was offered etc.

In the beginning we felt it quite the honor to be the Booshway of our rendezvous and even today that is a very highly regarded honor.  We have since found out it is a LOT of work being the Booshway and so, we have instituted a “Segundo” or “Second in Command” to assist in all of the work that must be done to pull off a great rendezvous.  Also, of late, instead of making it the best shooter who is the next years Booshway, we have tried to get the camp to select who they would like to see as the next years Booshway and Segundo (if needed).  It works out pretty well.  Sometimes, if a very special event or year is coming up there is discussions had in camp about someone who might volunteer for that special year and of course it comes down to camp consensus for final decision.

Our rendezvous camp sites have been along Swan Creek near Bear Lake (the beginning), Curtis Creek near Hardware Ranch,  Hardware Ranch’s actual meadows along side the Blacksmith Fork River, State Line Canyon near Portage, Utah, Portage Canyon and just this year (2011)camped on the banks of the Willow Creek on the Zundel farm in Willard, Ut.  The Willow Creek is what our group is named after.

Each camp site had  and has it’s own good and bad issues and this years was no different.  We found that we had a large and nice flat camping area with meadow grass to help keep the dust down and make it better for everyone, but we had to travel to get to a range to shoot our guns.  We are working on that aspect and hope that in 2012 we will be allowed to shoot on the same site as our camp.

The Willow Creek Free Trappers have come a long way in their 28 years of having their own rendezvous and in 2012 it will be number 29!  If the Mayan Calendar runs out and the world ends, we probably won’t see rendezvous number 30… bet is….We Will!

Bears Butt

Dec. 2011

Written on December 12th, 2011 , Just more stories
By: Bears Butt

The “Beginning” of why the Willow Creek Free Trappers changed my mountain man name from “Manysteps” to “Weasel”…

by Brandon Zundel on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 3:13pm

Back in about ’03 the Willow Creekers were pretty dang serious about finding, and purchasing a bit of land to hold the annual rendezvous.


Many pieces were looked at, but they always had issues… too much dust, not any trees, “this one’s great, but there’s no stream”, no hill to shoot into, not big enough, not flat enough, too far away, and the list goes on and on.


At some point I’m talking to Bears Butt and he mentions that Wapiti Dung placed an ad on’s classifieds “looking for land”… I said, “you know what would be funny?”… and he could see the twinkle of a good prank in my eye… he says, “do it.”


So that evening I jumped on Yahoo, and created an email for that purpose… ( Then sent him (roughly) the following email:


“Hi, I saw your ad on KSL, and I recently inherited some land that I’d be interested in selling. Give me a call and I can tell you what I know about it.


(phone number went here)






I was at work the next day when my cell phone rang.




“Hi, is this Mark?”


“Yes, this is Mark”


“Hi Mark, this is John Zundel. You emailed me yesterday about some land you might have available. Can you tell me a bit about it?”


“Well, I’ll tell you what I can. You see, I’m not from this area, and I just recently acquired the land from my uncle’s estate.”


(Wapiti’s ears perk up)


“You access the land by going up Logan canyon. Do you know where that is?”


“Yes, I know where that is”, Wapiti says with a slight tremor in his voice.


“Now, I don’t know if I can completely explain how to get there, but I’d say it’s some 3/4 of the way to the top of the canyon. I’ve only been there 2 or 3 times, and I doubt I can find it in the dark.


Anyway, you access the property with a road on the North side of the main highway. You drive in about a mile before you reach the gate to the property.


Once you go through the gate, you’ll go about another half mile where trees line both sides of the road.


At that point the area opens up to an open flat area where the creek kinda meanders through the middle. The creek does a bit of a “U” pattern around an area that would probably fit 50 or so camp trailers.


On the NorthWest side of the flat it turns to a really steep hill and the property line is about 300 yards up that hill… about the only thing I can think that part of the property would be good for is to shoot target practice into.


All in all, we have about 30 acres. Does this sound about what you’re looking for, John?”


“Um… well, I mean… uh… how’s the road in? Is it something you could get trailers into, or is it steep, rocky, and bumpy? What about tree branches hitting trailers, and how do you get across the creek?”


“Oh, well we just had the road graded… you’d probably need to do that every 5 to 10 years depending on the traffic. We just trimmed the trees back, but that’s probably an annual thing. And the bridge across the creek is made of railroad ties, and it’s probably 12 feet wide.”


“Okay, well do you mind if I ask how much you want for it?”


“Well, that’s the part I’ve kinda been struggling with… I don’t know what land goes for around here, and considering there’s no power or running water… I was thinking $50,000… am I off base with that?”


(You can hear him practically breathing into a paper sack to calm himself down)


After quite a long pause, he says (with a stutter), “When could we come take a look at it?”


By the sheer excitement in his voice, I know it’s time to let the cat out of the bag before he has a heart attack.


I’m going to digress a bit in case you aren’t familiar with all the phraseology that will follow.


First, Wapiti is famous for saying “YOU’RE OUT OF THE WILL” whenever you do something he doesn’t “like”.


Second, every Sunday evening at rendezvous, he does a skit that’s a play on a Revivalist preacher named, “Reverend Billy Saltine” form “Barney and Cecil Georgia, The Golden Buckle of the Bible Belt of the South” (Say Amen)


And last, as far as I know, only family every refers to him as Jack.


— back to the story


“Well, I’m not quite sure John, I need to make a trip back east to finalize the details on my donations. See, I’m giving the proceeds of this land sale to a charity for de-willed children and nephews. (I pause… nope, hasn’t caught on yet)


In fact, you might have heard of the preacher who heads up the charity… have you heard of Reverend Billy?”


“Reverend Billy Graham?” (with a serious shake to his voice… excitement abounds!)


“No, Reverend Billy Saltine.”


“Can’t say I have” (Are you kidding me?!)


“Yeah, he’s from Barney and Cecil Georgia… it is the golden buckle of the bible belt of the south after all”


(I pause to let it sink in… but all I have is silence)


“John, can you hold?”


“Oh sure.” (Voice still shaking)


I mute the phone, and fall on the floor laughing uncontrollably…


When I finally get it back together, I un-mute the phone.


“You still there, Jack?”




“Wapiti Dung, You’ve been had!”


“Excuse me?”


“Jack! Snap out of it! This is Brandon! This whole thing has been a joke!”




(He hung up on me)

Written on November 20th, 2011 , Just more stories | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.