Published: November 2007
Robert M. Poole

What would you characterize as the best moment you encountered on this assignment?

Riding up through the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area of Montana on a snowy January morning with outfitter Warren Johnson, a master at tracking elk on their winter range. The moon was shining, the snow fresh and deep, and the wind rustled the pines—a silent, perfect world looking pretty much the same as when Teddy Roosevelt knew it in 1903.

What was the worst aspect of covering this story?

Watching the habitat for migrating wildlife disappearing in the eastern states, where the spread of subdivisions and shopping malls eats away a bit more of the wild, tangled places each year. With the number of hunters declining in the U.S., the ducks, woodcock, and other game species are losing a powerful voice for conserving such areas.

What would you consider the quirkiest or strangest moment you encountered during this assignment?

Walking into the lobby of Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico on a spring morning, where a turkey calling seminar was in progress upstairs. The sounds of urgent clucking, purring, and gobbling echoed from the rafters, in imitation of wild turkeys calling their mates. It should have been X-rated. I almost expected a flock of love-starved gobblers to storm the place.