One Nation, Under God

Articles written by Parker Heinlein


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  • Surely Not a Local

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Jul 10, 2024

    I stepped out my back door last week to be greeted by a flag bearing the f-word in foot-high letters. It was mounted on a decrepit vehicle parked next to my property, and only steps away from the gymnasium where children had attended a basketball camp earlier that day. I wondered if they had seen it. The flag was political in intent, but obscene on purpose. Some idiot, I’m sure, thought they were being funny. I didn’t. I was mad, and a bit disappointed to see such a public display of obs... Full story

  • For Nearly 20 Years, Malta was Home

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Jun 27, 2024

    I’ve had some pretty prestigious Montana addresses. General Delivery, Cooke City was my first, and it’s still hard to beat. Tucked into the valley of Soda Butte Creek, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Cooke is only a couple of miles up the road from Yellowstone Park. I’ve also called Livingston home, and probably will again. Like Cooke, it has spectacular mountain views, and while Yellowstone is a few more miles up the road, it’s still close. For a few years, Barb and I lived in Bozeman on Will... Full story

  • Now There's Only One

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Jun 19, 2024

    For the last 20 years my life has been ruled by dogs. From the moment I woke in the morning until I went to bed at night there was always something canine that needed doing. Whether it was letting them out or letting them in, filling food bowls or picking up poop, the dogs demanded my attention. From September until January we hunted more days than not, and I loved watching them work. Hunting also tired them out. Consequently they were best behaved in the fall. Wearing them out during the other...

  • Strong. Brave. Daring.

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Jun 12, 2024

    The following was a column that Parker wrote shortly after his father passed away. It ran in the Dec. 24 issue of the Bozeman Chronicle. It had been years since I’d seen my dad naked. But after mom died and Dad left Florida to move in with my daughter and her family in Livingston, he needed assistance bathing. We’d bought him a shower chair, and I’d help him take off his clothes, step into the tub and sit down. He could still soap himself and then I would rinse him off, towel him dry and get h...

  • Things I Thought I Would Never Part With

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Jun 5, 2024

    We had a garage sale last weekend. Twenty years of accumulation since we moved to Malta. Almost everything sold. There’s not much left to donate or take to the dump. Folks snatched up furniture, framed prints, used tires, old tools. A few things didn’t sell: outdated electronics, sketchy exercise equipment, lightly worn boots, and my bicycle. A Trek mountain bike that Barb gave me before we were married, it was my escape from the city when we lived in Bozeman. I could hop on the bike at our apar...

  • Take Them With You, Mr. Ford...

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|May 29, 2024

    It was simply a matter of time. Apparently Montana is too cold for Harrison Ford. Ford was one of the main characters in the “Yellowstone” spinoff “1923,” which was filmed in Butte. However, according to the Austin Business Journal, the show is packing up and heading to a film studio in Austin, Texas. If only all the recent transplants to Montana, lured here by the “Yellowstone” series, would follow suit. Weather used to be one of the major factors in keeping out the riff-raff. Montana was... Full story

  • They Wont Be Able to Live Here Anyway

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|May 22, 2024

    I’m waiting for one of the political candidates running for office in Montana to bring up an issue that actually affects me. While the mess on the southern border continues unabated, we have no crush of immigrants where I live. I read and hear about male athletes crossing the line to play women’s sports, but that’s hardly a concern here. My freedoms are not being infringed upon. I can legally pack a gun, buy weed, and gamble, although I’m not sure those were freedoms that concerned our foundin...

  • Maybe It Was The Traffic

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|May 15, 2024

    I like to drive. It’s how I got here. I left Indiana following high school graduation in 1970 behind the wheel of my 1958 Ford big window pickup. Planning to drive all the way to Alaska for a pipeline job, I ran short of money in Montana, got a job with an outfitter in Cooke City, and thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I sold the pickup that fall to a guy who worked road construction. He wrecked the truck shortly thereafter and it became fill on the Beartooth Highway. After a short stint in...

  • How Times Have Changed

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|May 8, 2024

    Following an aborted hitch-hiking trip to Alaska that ended with a night in jail in Eureka, I found myself in Livingston waiting for a ride to Cooke City where I had work. It was hours before dawn and there was no traffic. I curled up next to my backpack and closed my eyes. The sound of tires crunching gravel woke me with a start. A Livingston police cruiser had stopped just feet away, and a cop, holding the passenger door open, said get in. He drove me a few miles south of town, told me to get...

  • We Really Wanted to Fish

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|May 1, 2024

    We knew it was too soon, but we wanted to fish. The ice had come off early and the temperatures had already reached into the 70s. Something had to be biting. Right? Not necessarily. We pitched crankbaits, pulled bottom bouncers, and dropped jigs all with the same result. Nothing. Taj Mahal was apparently wrong when he sang “All fish bites if you got good bait.” Fort Peck Lake has a reputation as one of the top walleye fisheries in the nation, but you wouldn’t know it watching us. Me, I could...

  • Time to Make the Call

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Apr 24, 2024

    It’s time to put Ace down. In the morning I’ll call the vet and make an appointment. I hoped he’d die in his sleep. That would have been so much easier for both of us, especially me. Instead, he was standing outside the bedroom door this morning waiting to be fed. He still eats his kibble and follows me around the house and yard, but he’s unsteady on his feet. Twice in recent days he fell and couldn’t get up. I heard his frantic cries and rescued him, lifting him back to his feet and holding h...

  • The Drop in Grouse Didn't Happen Overnight

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Apr 17, 2024

    I hoped I was simply late for the party. It wouldn’t be the first time. But where I used to watch dozens of male sage grouse dance each spring on my birthday there were now only six, scattered across the lek. Twenty years ago sage grouse were common in the country I hunt in north-central Montana. I didn’t shoot many, but they were another species of prairie game bird I hunted along with sharptail grouse, Hungarian partridge and pheasants. These days I’m just happy to see one. Vanishing sageb...

  • It Will All Change In a Few Weeks

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Apr 10, 2024

    I’m ready for the color to return. I’m tired of all the washed-out hues -- browns, greys and off-whites melding on the horizon into a dull, featureless sky. Flowers have yet to bloom. Leaves have yet to pop. The residue of winter has yet to be washed from the land by spring rains. In town, the streets are dirty from a winter of sanding. Yards are showing only the slightest hint of green as four months' accumulation of dog poop makes its appearance after being hidden under the cover of snow. Fri...

  • Harry Knew A Few Things

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Apr 3, 2024

    My father-in-law, Harry Johnson, left Texas in 1953 and moved to Gallatin County. Quickly falling in love with the Big Sky state, he made Montana home, raising a son and daughter here. He died in Ennis in 1995. But as much as Harry loved Montana, he didn’t care for the winters, which he thought were too long, too cold, too confining. A mason, he’d take his family south each winter, picking up jobs laying brick and stone in the desert before returning to Montana in the spring. Once back home Bar...

  • A Fear of Falling?

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Mar 27, 2024

    I was asked during a recent doctor’s appointment if I fear falling. I hesitated before answering, worried that I was being set up. After all, I’d earlier been given a cognitive test to check my memory. It had been years since I’d seen a doctor and, during that time I’d aged enough that now the exam seemed to be focused on my mental acuity instead of any physical abilities I once had. I feared a wrong answer might result in me being sent to a home. “Of course, I fear falling,” I snapped. “It’s wi...

  • My Encounter with Ursus Horribilis

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Mar 20, 2024

    The first grizzly bear of the year was spotted last week by a skier on Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone Park. It’s probably not the same bear I ran into there some years ago but it may be his kin. Following an elk trail along the ridge through waist-deep snow, I caught movement ahead of me in the trees and froze in my tracks. A bear was headed in my direction on the same trail. Dark-colored and enormous, there was no doubt as to which flavor he was. I’d heard it said that black bears are often mis...

  • I Just Had to Get Out of the Office

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Mar 13, 2024

    While working at the Bozeman Chronicle some 20-odd years ago I was offered the chance to take part in an adventure race. Not knowing exactly what an adventure race entailed, I nonetheless jumped at the opportunity to get out of the office for a week. A multi-discipline, team affair, the race consisted of mountain biking, hiking, rafting, riding horses, and rappelling along a 200-mile course through the surrounding mountains. I was quite comfortable with everything except rappelling, about which...

  • Our Spring Break Will Be Different Than Normal

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Feb 28, 2024

    It’s that time of year when Barb and I head south. By the end of February, we’ve had enough snow and cold. Warmer climes begin to call. For decades we pulled a boat to Florida, fishing the salt on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Most years we camped on barrier islands under the palms. Eventually, however, that trip became too long, Florida too crowded, and too many days on the road to get there. We began spending time in the California desert about five years ago. While it lacked the fis...

  • My Shotgun Would've Kept Me From Facing My Fear

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Feb 21, 2024

    I have a fear of falling. It’s not age-related. I just don’t like to fall. It often hurts. During hunting season I’m especially careful. The ground is uneven if not steep, the footing precarious. If I take a misstep and lose my balance I always protect the gun, letting my elbows and backside hit the ground instead of the fancy walnut stock. That approach has served me well. While my elbows and backside may be scarred and bruised, my 20-gauge, Italian over-and-under only bears a couple of hard-...

  • Birthdays Flush out Fond Memories

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Feb 14, 2024

    Ace turned 13 today. There were times over the last six months I didn’t think he would make it. Not that there was anything specifically wrong with him, he’s just old -- for a hunting dog anyway. And he is that. Ace has been hunting since he was seven months. On Jan. 1 he completed his 12th season. Never the best dog in the pack, he blended in over the years hunting behind more aggressive, more talented dogs. Now it’s just him and Dot, a three-year-old who far surpasses him in the field. Hunti...

  • Reading News On The Phone? Ha.

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Feb 7, 2024

    Some years ago while working for the Bozeman Chronicle I was told by a computer tech there that folks would soon be reading the news on their phones. I laughed at such a far-fetched notion, coming as it did from a computer nerd. What did he know about news? This was a few years before the demise of the daily newspaper. I couldn’t yet see the end. Now I’m lost without my phone, which provides me with up-to-the-minute news, sports, weather and nonsense. It also offers a constant distraction fro...

  • No One Has Ever Taken Our Guns

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Jan 31, 2024

    A friend recently said her husband was in the process of passing along his collection of firearms to their grandchildren. She said she hopes the guns don’t get taken away, but confiscation remains a fear. I suppose that’s because the threat of the government taking our guns is nearly as old as me. Despite the fact that no one has ever taken our guns in this country, confiscation of firearms remains a right-wing talking point. As a result we have a populace armed with military-style weapons rea...

  • My Watch Keeps Me Going

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Jan 24, 2024

    It’s hard to stay active in the middle of winter. Snow and bitter cold keep me inside the house, sunken deep in my favorite chair, mesmerized by ball games of little consequence. My watch, however, keeps me going. It tells me to stand if I’ve been sitting too long. It compliments me on the progress I make toward pre-programmed exercise goals, and it nags me to keep it up. “You can do it, Parker!” It records my daily mile walk, announcing the time elapsed through so many layers of clothing I have...

  • I've Been Cold Before

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Jan 17, 2024

    This must be why folks move to Arizona. For a few days now the temperature has hovered between barely survivable and colder-than-anyone-remembers. The minus 30 something I woke to this morning was a rerun of yesterday’s bitter cold. It’s been even colder in other parts of the state and I take solace in that. It’s seldom the case. Living on the Hi-line I’ve grown accustomed to the cold. I dress for it, donning long johns in October and not taking them off until spring, which up here means M...

  • A Shocking Idea

    Parker Heinlein, Outdoors Columnist|Jan 10, 2024

    While packing up my hunting gear at the end of the season I realized Dot’s e-collar was switched on, the green light still blinking feebly. I turned it off and started to put it back in its box then realized I might need it again before next fall. Commonly referred to as a “shock” collar, it’s what I use to keep Dot in range, an electronic leash of sorts. Among the options on the controller are two small buttons for tone and vibrate, and a larger one that administers an electric shock. I call... Full story

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