Savin' Their Bacon
                      Copper King Mine (1916)

    July 8, 1916, was an ordinary run-of-the-mill day for Elko miners Peter Kraus, Joe Schmidt, and Jim Rutledge until they sat down for dinner. 
    Telling jokes and laughing, they seated themselves around the table at their camp near the Copper King mine between Elko and Carliln. 
    Their banter was suddenly interrupted by a spine chilling howl. For a split second their forks were frozen in mid-air and, just as suddenly, the three kicked back their chairs and jumped up to get away from a coyote snapping at their legs under the table.
    None had a gun. Joe grabbed the only weapon he could find, a big slab of bacon hanging on the wall. With a might swing he clobbered the animal. Before the varmit could recover its legs, the men raced from the shack.
    Pete made a beeline for the shaft entrance where he kept his rifle. The growling animal stayed on his heels. With near jackrabbit speed, the coyote tried to head off Pete. The miner barely beat the animal to the door and hid behind some boxes and tools. Drawing of a coyote.
    He heard the coyote running back and forth looking for him while yipping and snapping at just about anything in its way. Pete was able to slowly slip into the shaft house where he grabbed his gun and opened fire on the beast. It took five shots to do it in.
    Thanking their lucky stars, the three harried miners built a huge sagebrush bonfire and cremated the body of the trouble maker while uttering maledictions against the whole tribe of Canis latrans.
    Now there's a real shaggy dog story.

Source: Elko Free Press, 1916.

Howard Hickson
October 28, 2001

©Copyright 2001 by Howard Hickson. Permission to use is given but, if any portion or all of this article is quoted, proper credit must be given.

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