Outdoor Life - - HUNTING - Keith Bal­fourd

While still-hunt­ing for white­tails along the Nio­brara River out­side Valen­tine, Neb., I came across a split tree. In the split was an old hay hook, the kind with a wooden T-han­dle made for han­dling bales of hay or straw. A long time ago, the tool had ev­i­dently been stuck in the fork of the tree, and it died and split. The hook was easy to pull out. It ap­peared to be hand-forged and pounded out of a large car­riage bolt. There was no sign of any old homestead or even a hay field, for that mat­ter. Mother Na­ture had taken back what­ever living the own­ers were try­ing to carve out of that place on the fron­tier.

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