The Worst Field-Dressing Story Ever

The worst gutting job I ever heard about came from the late Bob Hagel, who was a fine gun writer and a hell of a hunter.

“In the 1970s, I had a cow moose permit and took the opportunity to try out a new .375 H&H; and some new 235-grain bullets. Well, I found a cow, and shot her in the lungs, and the damn bullet blew up. She walked into a beaver pond and died standing up, I swear, with her chin resting on the dam.

“It was bitter cold, but I had to get her guts out because a big animal like that loses heat slowly, and she could spoil. But it meant wading into the beaver pond up to my waist in water that was turning into ice.

“So I did it, and the only way I could work on her was to squat down and get underneath her, which meant I was up to my armpits. And as I cut away at her hide, the guts and blood came pouring down on my head, and I was just about as unhappy as it’s possible to get. But it got worse.

“All the commotion woke up the beaver. He comes out of his dam, takes one look at what’s going on, and slaps the pond with his tail, sending a wave of ice water, blood, and guts right into my face. I said the hell with it and went home. I came back the next day in chest waders and finished the job without waking up the damn beaver.”