October. La Madera NM
My day started out today when Kara, the ranch’s resident farmer, interrupted my vacuuming with a phone call to ask if I’d noticed intense barking coming from the direction of the cliffs. I had not so — still in my bathrobe — I took my binoculars outside to investigate. Following the sound I finally spotted three frenzied dogs at the top of the cliff. They were pinning a cow elk at the very edge with no way to escape. She teetered at the brink of a 100-foot fall and certain death. I shouted at the dog and honked my car horn, all to no effect. They continued snarling and barking, circling the elk who — now illuminated by the morning sun — remained frozen at the precipice. I went back inside, called Kara and asked him to go across the road into the field with his high-powered rifle with scope and fire off several shots just under the lip of the cliff. From my upstairs window I watched as he walked across the field, his rifle slung over his shoulder, and disappeared into the willows by the river. Minutes passed, then kaBOOM! kaBOOM! kaBOOM! rang through the valley. Rock chips exploded into the air like puffs of smoke. The barking stopped at the first shot, and the dogs scattered. After the third shot the elk looked about, tentatively stepped away from the edge, and disappeared from sight. I put the binoculars down, went downstairs, and continued vacuuming the living room.