Author:Taffin, John

One of the best things about my job is all the interesting people I meet. I first met Robert G. "Bob" Baer in the early 1980s and I've spoken of him several times before. Bob shared the following story with me and I now share it with you:

"After working and chasing cows on a small ranch out of Lander, Wyoming, in the summer of 1952, I was lucky enough to hear that summer temporary jobs were available for trail crew maintenance hands, fire control crewmen, pack string helpers, and individuals to man fire lookouts in Glacier National Park, Montana. I'd fallen in love with the Rockies working there in Wyoming, so I put in an application for the park job, never truly expecting to be hired. I was coming out of Texas and those jobs were highly sought after and mostly filled by young applicants residing closer to the park [and more likely to show up]. I really was surprised to get the hire notice. However, they'd determined to try to spread the jobs out more broadly around the country and I was actually one of several youngsters hired from Texas.


"I had one problem I had to solve before entering into my employment at Glacier. I was traveling with my trusty little .22 High Standard GB Model semi-auto and my .44-40 Colt Single Action Army. Employees and visitors were not allowed to enter the park with firearms and I hadn't come to Montana without them.

"After some discussion with the ranger at the entrance to the park, I was escorted to the office of the Chief Ranger. I told him that if I couldn't legally store them in the park I would turn around and find a way to store them somewhere outside the park for the term of my employment. I fully intended on my off days to continue occasional target shooting and was sure I could find an appropriate range or wild space on the national forest adjacent to the park.

"My insistence amused him and he then asked to see my hardware. Bringing them into his office on federal ground seemed potentially risky to me, but he had an infectious smile. Bringing my two handguns into his office in a little zippered case I opened it and he immediately reached for the .44 Colt. Unloading it he turned it over in his hands in a loving and appreciative manner. It was a quality old sixgun and he recognized that, but he wanted to know why I would come to the park with loaded pistols. I respectfully told him that in Texas we considered unloaded pistols to be very poor trot-line weights.

"With that he picked up my...

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