Before Terry Cram was elected as a Sheridan County Commissioner he served as a game warden for 30 years. In the performance of his duties he found himself involved in many situations that provided fodder for some memorable stories. Here is one.
Several years ago during hunting season, Terry received a call one night from a known and usually reliable informant who had some information to share. He told Terry that he had it on good authority that a certain guy named “Pete” and his girlfriend “Martha” (not real names) had killed two elk that afternoon and taken them to a locker plant where they were hung to cool. The locker plant happened to belong to Pete’s brother, “Sam.” (not real name).
The informant told Terry that the elk were not tagged in the mandatory fashion which the State of Wyoming requires of hunters before they leave the site of the kill. This is a very serious infraction of the law. This was serious.
The next morning, Cram summoned his compatriot, fellow game warden Bob Peterson, to accompany him to the locker plant to check out the reported violation of the law. Sam, the owner and Pete’s brother greeted them and Terry had the unpleasant task of telling Pete that his brother was suspected of placing two untagged elk in the cooler.
Pete was startled by this information and exclaimed, as he strode purposefully for the telephone in the corner of his small office, “Well, I’ll get to the bottom of this!”
Pete picked up the telephone and dialed a number. The conversation went something like this:
“Martha? Is Pete there? Well, where is he? When will he be back? You guys brought a couple of untagged elk in here last night and there are a couple of game wardens here ready to take me to jail, that’s why. Tell him to call me as soon as he gets back. Goodbye.”
Curiously, about a minute before Sam ended his purported conversation, the phone started to make a beeping noise. Beep, beep, beep. Everyone in the small room could hear it. Terry glanced at Peterson who was cracking up with laughter. Terry realized then that Sam was faking the call. He yelled, “Sam, Sam, there isn’t anyone on that phone!”
Sam still clutched the phone in his hand as a voice on the telephone screeched, “Hang up your phone. Hang up your phone now!” Sam’s ears turned 50 shades of crimson as he slammed down the phone and exclaimed, “Damn, Terry, he’s my brother. What could I do?”
Terry couldn’t help but laugh at Sam’s attempted duplicity to cover up for his brother. Then he noticed two elk tags lying on the shelf by the phone. He picked them up and sure enough they had been signed by Pete and Martha and dated the night before. All were relieved that the elk had been legally tagged before their arrival at the locker plant. Now Pete was not in trouble and Sam didn’t have to try and cover up for him anymore.
Everyone had a good laugh and shook hands. Sam exclaimed, “Well, one thing about it. Now I have a quick answer when someone asks me about my most embarrassing moment” Terry pronounced that he needed to put some of these stories into a book. Sam added, “Do. And bring the first copy by here for me to buy.”
So it went in the game warden business. Terry never said anything about his informant and hasn’t produced the book. Yet.
Tom Ringley was re-elected as a county commissioner in 2012. He is the author of four books. Ringley grew up in Sheridan and returned home in 1990 after 27 years as an Air Force officer. He has been involved with the local hospital foundation, the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo and has been the facilities director at the county fairgrounds.