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What a catch

— Major league baseball players don’t often have time to go hunting in the midst of a pennant race. But a trio of St. Louis Cardinals along with a member of the club’s broadcast team, got the deal done last week at Three Rivers Ranch.

Hunting guide Al Morris confirmed he guided a party that included Cardinals players Tino Martinez, Mike Metheny and J.D. Drew. All three bagged bull elk on the 36,000-acre private ranch. But it was broadcaster Mike Shannon who scored the real prize, a 7 by 8 bull whose rack will score about 330 points under the Boone and Crockett system.

What makes the story more incredible is that the quartet had just eight hours to complete their hunt.

“The elk hunting has been fantastic,” Morris said. “But to get one that big was kind of a pleasant surprise.”

Three Rivers Ranch is situated on the Colorado/Wyoming border where the three forks of the Little Snake River converge. The ranch participates in the “Ranching for Wildlife” program administered by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The program grants the privately-owned ranch a valuable 90-day hunting season for its guests in exchange for providing more than 80 members of the public with free guided hunts. The lucky public hunters are chosen by drawing.

The major league ballplayers flew into the airstrip at Dixon, Wyo., last week in a private jet. They had one day off in between their series with the Houston Astros and the Colorado Rockies.

“They flew in and had just eight hours to hunt,” Morris said. All three players shot their elk in the morning. But near the end of the day, Shannon had not shot an animal. That was due in part to the fact that he was holding out to harvest a trophy he could hang on the wall of his St. Louis restaurant.

Using a prototype of a new elk calling device known as the “estrous whine,” Morris successfully imitated the call of a cow elk in heat, and brought two smaller bulls within range. Shannon passed until Morris succeeded in luring a monster out of the woods.

“He came running right at us,” Morris said.

The massive bull, which Morris estimated at 850 pounds, approached to within 50 yards, but caught the scent of the hunters and quickly backed off to 80 yards. Shannon dropped him at that point and flew off with the knowledge he had the trophy of a lifetime hanging in the shed.


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