Bill Heustis- SMWIA
Margaret Heustis is what a, Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, ethical hunter and dedicated sportsperson should be. She is also tougher than a Dodge truck.
It was Wednesday afternoon and my wife of 48 years, Margo, and hunting companion for even longer and I were on our way to Baggs, Wyoming to hunt antelope. Margo had not drawn Wyoming antelope tags, but never misses an opportunity to get into the field. The travel trailer was loaded, the weather was great and both Margo and I were looking forward to a very enjoyable few days in one of our favorite areas. To make it even better our youngest son Todd, two grandsons and a couple of their friends were going to join us on the following Saturday.
We found the spot where we wanted to set up the travel trailer got situated. We were in the same general area that we had hunted for the past several years but this morning we decided to look at some new territory, a little further south than we had previously hunted. We jumped a small group of antelope and I decided to make a short stalk, Margo said that she would wait at the truck, I told her I just wanted to pop up over the ridge and see if I could spot the group of antelope and if so, we might be able to get a little closer. The antelope were just ahead of me on a hillside so I decided to see if I could get into a position for a shot.
To make a long story short, I did get within range, picked out the antelope I wanted and with one shot from a Browning .30-06, the antelope dropped in its tracks. I walked over to dress, skin and quarter it out, I was almost done quartering the antelope when my cell phone rang. It was Margo and she wanted to know where I was. I told her about the antelope and if she wanted to bring the truck up the two-track on the ridge top, she could see me on the hillside off to her left.
Margo came up the ridge, pulled the truck off to the side, shut it off, left it in low gear and got out to walk down the hill to where I was working on the antelope. Shortly after that I heard her yell “look out!” I looked up, and to my horror, the truck was rolling down the hill and headed straight for her. I barely had time to shout “get out of the way” before the truck hit her.
In her attempt to get out of the way, she had almost cleared the front of the truck-almost, the driver’s side front fender hit her, knocked her down and the front wheel ran over both of her legs.The ¾-ton Dodge rolled a little further down the hill and came to a stop, still in gear. By the time I reached her, she was sitting up. When I asked if she was OK, her response was that she was hurting but that she thought she would be OK.
I retrieved the truck, brought it up to where she was and helped her into the passenger seat. I told her that we would get her to the hospital to get checked out, much to my surprise, she said “not until you finish quartering the antelope and get it into the cooler”.
In just a couple of minutes I had the antelope in the cooler and we were on our way back to the main road. Margo said that she would like to stop at our travel trailer to change clothes. The pants she was wearing were fairly well ripped up. After changing clothes, she mentioned we should just go home as she knew that she would be hurting the next day. She also said if she were feeling any worse, we could stop in at the Rawlins or Laramie hospital to get checked out.
I helped her back into the truck and noticed that she was getting a little cold and clammy. I told her instead of heading straight home, I was going to call the Baggs police department and see if there was an urgent care clinic in town. The police chief said there was a clinic in town, gave me directions and called ahead to let them know we were on the way.
We arrived at the clinic, they checked Margo over and said that it appeared that there were no urgent, life-threatening injuries. They did not have proper equipment to do the testing and X-rays to determine if that that was really the case and wanted to transfer her to the hospital in Craig Colorado for further evaluation. The clinic in Baggs arranged to have Margo transferred by ambulance to the hospital in Craig.
Three and one half days, one blood transfusion, several IVs and a lot of tender loving care later, she was released from the Craig hospital to come back home to Fort Collins to continue with her evaluations and treatments. Currently, Margo is recovering from broken fibula, torn ligaments, damaged cartilage, massive bruising and cuts on her left leg. The right leg and foot faired a little bit better.
Now the reason for this story was not that Margo was injured, but that love of the sport and the respect for the animals we hunt showed through. After the truck had rolled over Margo’s legs and I told her that we needed to get her to the hospital as soon as possible, she said we were not leaving until I finished quartering the antelope and had it in the cooler. While we were on the way out of the hunting area to seek medical attention, she said after I got her back home and we were assured that she was going to be OK, she wanted me to return to the area and continue my hunting season with the kids.
Margo is also a hunter-she has taken deer, antelope and elk with her trusty Browning A-bolt .30-06-and not only does she thoroughly enjoy hunting but also knows how much enjoyment it brings me and the rest of our family. Her love of family and the sport certainly shows through. Even though she was seriously injured she still wanted me, our son and grandsons to enjoy the rest of our hunting season. As far as I am concerned these are attributes that only a loving wife, true sportsperson and real hunter can exhibit.
I got to complete the hunts with my son and grandsons and thanks to the prayers of a lot of wonderful people and the professionalism, caring and concern of many in the medical field, Margo is continuing to recover and looking forward to next year’s hunting seasons. We are filling out applications for our 2008 Wyoming antelope hunt as we speak.
Story submitted by Bill Heustis, Retired Member of SMWIA Local 9.
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