We were hunting in south Texas, close
to the Golden Triangle. The morning had warmed considerably
and I had just stripped off my jacket when my compadre said, "Look.
See, a lobita."
I know enough Spanish to understand that he was referring
to the diminutive for a she-wolf. I looked over the rail of
our blind and spied a tawny creature with a bushy tail. It
walked across our line of fire oblivious to our presence. its
tail and head both carried low as if tired and haggard.
What was really unusual was that it carried in its mouth one
of those disposable plastic bags that grocery stores nowadays
dispense with wild abandon. Something seemed bundled up in
My Compadre Roel and I never shoot anything
we don't intend to eat, unless it happens to be dangerous. "Looks like a coyote," I
said, reaching for my Simmons binoculars. I was about to ask
Roel how he knew it was a female when we were startled by a
"Damn," Roel exclaimed under his breath, "poachers."
"Yeah," I said looking around, "and
that had to be a 7mm Remington Magnum."
Shit, that's all we needed. Some asshole poacher hunting our
lease with a 7mm! The little coyote took off across the prairie,
its paws not even touching the ground. Coyotes can run like
that, when given enough motivation, and this one was motivated!
KABOOM! The little canine dropped low on its belly, never
slowing down. Now I spotted the glare of a windshield in the
direction of the rifle shot. The poacher was shooting at our
"You almost hit me, asshole!" I shouted,
firing a shot from my .44 Magnum into the ground just short
of the windshield glare. Immediately I heard an engine rev
hard, and saw a blur of motion as the jeep backed up and
fled in the direction it had come from.
"Where'd she go Roel?" Roel pointed
across the prairie in the direction of our pond.
There she was, still running hard, a cloud of dust trailing
after her. She ran up the embankment of the pond in a frantic
scramble for survival, an awesome display of grace and power
born of fear, panic and something else. As she topped the crest
we saw her drop the plastic bag she had been carrying. Roel
and I looked at each other.
"What do you think she was carrying?" Roel thought a second
then said, "Maybe she found a bag of chicken bones and was
carrying it to her mate or cubs." The thought was depressing.
That noble creature, struggling to survive in a world she had
not made, losing her meal-ticket because some asshole with
a high powered rifle had nothing better to do than to take
a pot shot at her.
We were already climbing down from our
blind. "Yeah," I thought
aloud, "I remember a golden German Shepherd I had as a kid.
He found an old bitch that he was sweet on. He'd always share
his food with her."
We threw our rifles into the cab of my truck, got in and I
fired up the engine. Roel carried his .243 scope equipped Winchester.
We alternated. When Roel carried a long-range rifle, I carried
a brush-busting short-range carbine. Today I had my lever-action
.44 Mag. Winchester.
We drove straight to the pond. I was
real curious about what the lobo was carrying. I parked my
truck by the cow path that led to the pond and we both walked
up to the bundle still on the ground. Roel was still carrying
his .243 and he looked cautiously over the bank of the pond
while I retrieved the plastic bag. Roel looked quickly around
then said, "I guess
she's long gone--"
"Compadre," I interrupted, "how'd you know the wolf was a
she?" Roel grinned and walked back down toward me. "While you
were taking your jacket off I spotted her squatting to pee.
That bag," he added pointing, "is what caught my eye. What's
in it anyway?"
I opened the bag to reveal its contents. "A
pair of--I think my sister calls these kind of shoes pumps.
A cheap, white sleeveless cotton blouse, a skirt. A pair
of panties, bra, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, soap,
a coin purse, and a pair of denim shorts."
Roel looked as puzzled as I was. "No food? This is strange.
Well, see if there is any kind of ID, maybe" Roel added, "in
the purse or in a pocket."
The coin purse was one of those small leather pouches, not
dyed but stained dark with age, that closed with metal snaps.
I clicked the purse open and dropped its contents into the
flat of my left hand. We stared wide-eyed at the glimmer of
gold in the late morning light. Seven coins varying in size
from that of a dime to about the size of a quarter.
"Diez pesos," Roel said examining the coins, "there
are two ten peso Mexican gold coins, three five peso, and
two two-and-a-half peso coins. Almost an ounce of pure gold.
At today's prices maybe three, three-hundred-fifty dollars
worth of gold. If the coins are rare, then all bets are off."
"Maybe," I started to say, "she is someone's
"Pet wolf?" Roel finished enigmatically
for me, although I was going to say pet dog.
Because we didn't really know what to
do next, we both walked over the crest to the edge of the
pond, a man-made hundred, by hundred-fifty foot, eight foot
deep earth tank. The wolf's tracks led right into the water. "Wolves are good swimmers," Roel
said, "she probably swam across--"
Roel didn't finish. A loud gurgling sound, and air bubbles
rushing to the surface of the pond, interrupted. As we both
watched in amazement a naked girl broke surface, gasped and
jackknifed, diving beneath the surface again. Forever etched
in my mind is the memory of that gorgeous and perfect derriere
as the girl disappeared beneath the murky water.
Roel set his rifle on the bank and I dropped my gun belt.
A few years ago a Bobcat tried to get into a shooting blind
with me. Now I always carry my Colt Python .357 Magnum in a
nylon gun belt when I hunt.
Roel and I waded into the water as the girl broke surface,
once again gasping for breath. Ready for her this time we both
caught her by her shoulders before she could sink again.
She was gasping for air and appeared
quite frightened. "We
won't hurt you." I tried to sound reassuring. Roel scowled
at me and addressed her in Spanish. Of course, she didn't speak
"Señorita, esta bien, no le haremos daño--Miss,
its alright, we won't harm you."
The girl stared incredulously at Roel. She wasn't really struggling,
just trying to cover her breasts and pubic region with her
hands. Damn, I'd left my jacket in the blind. I stripped my
flannel shirt off and handed it to her as soon as we were out
of the water. She quickly threw it over her shoulders and held
"Habla ingles?" I asked in bad Spanish, "Do
you speak English?"
"Bad," she answered with an accent,
studying me with big brown eyes that seemed intensely intelligent.
I was breathless, the girl, petite with wavy brown shoulder-long
hair was so beautiful. Everything about her--her face, hair,
shoulders, hands, legs. Even the pattern of scar tissue between
her navel and pubic region on her flat stomach was appealing.
She had a light, even tan, all over, that I suspect was her
"Are these things yours?"
"Si, yes!" She answered eagerly.
"Miss, we should go to our cabin, so that you can dry off
and change into something warm." She appeared uncertain so
I reassured her that we would not harm her.
Not really having a choice, she accompanied us to my truck
for the short drive to our hunting cabin. There we gave her
privacy so that she could shower, dry off, and change into
some of her clothes.
"What do you think, Roel?" I asked as
we waited outside the cabin.
"She's a changer." Roel answered nonchalantly.
"Changer? Oh yeah, I know she's changing clothes, but..." Then
the deeper meaning Roel intended dawned on me. Roel must have
read the puzzled expression on my face.
"Yes," he added, "a changer, what is
sometimes called a werewolf, except that that term is masculine,
and she is obviously quite feminine."
"Yes, quite feminine." I felt my heart
skip a beat. I hadn't really thought about it, but I suppose
I didn't believe such creatures could exist. Roel appeared
indifferent. He is older than I, an old cowboy, and he has
seen many strange things in his life. He wasn't worried,
so why should I be? Besides, we had the guns and she had
been running, for dear life, from gunfire. Somehow I knew
we wouldn't need them. She would not be a threat, at least
not to us.