My wife's uncle Duane is a veteran tree feller in northern Idaho. His work history and personality are an inspiration to me so when my mother-in-law sent me these stories that Duane wrote, I completely fell in love with them. When Luke and I decided to start this business, I asked Duane if we could name our company after his goat friend from his epic tales of the logging trail. He of course obliged and I'm honored to share his tale with you. Please enjoy!
~Scott Shaeffer, Co-Owner
BEAST Timber Salvage Company
About three months after I’d been cutting on Stevens Ridge, I had something kind of weird happen.
I’d been falling for about two hours that morning, and I ran out of gas. You always leave your gas and oil jugs up the hill from where you’re working. So, I set my saw down and headed up the hill, only to stop when I saw a movement above. Suddenly, there was a black head with big curled horns and eerie cat eyes staring down at me! Next thing I knew this big black and white Nubian goat was running down the hill at me. It scared the crap out of me! I dove behind a tree to get away.
When I finally got my nerve up, I peeked out to see the goat about four feet from me and still coming. Being the brave kid that I was and running out of any place to go, I stood my ground and let him come. Next thing I knew, this terrifying goat is nuzzling up against me, and I guess wanting to be petted. After I regained my composure, I did what any brave man would do: I pet The Beast.
Well, after that I realized he wasn’t going to kill me. It occurred to me that this was pretty cool! I think somebody raised him from a baby and he became a nuisance and overall pain in the butt when he grew up. They must have figured “Hey, let’s take him up to the mountains and let him go back to nature.”
The rest of that day he stood behind me while I fell. When the tree was falling, The Beast would back off 15 or 20 feet, and as soon as I jumped on to limb and buck, he would jump on and follow me up the tree. That was one agile goat, and pretty smart. I was about a thousand feet down on the strip at the end of the day, so I left my saw and rigging there. I crawled up the hill with The Beast following. When I got to the top, Gary and the hookers were pretty surprised to see the goat following me out of the brush.
I quickly explained what had happened, jumped in the manhaul and we headed down the mountain. I saw Gary looking in his rearview mirror, and he asked “What the Hell did you do to that goat? He seems to like you!” Well, I looked back to see The Beast running after us.
The next morning, we got to the job at daylight and The Beast was nowhere to be seen. I was relieved, because my young pride had been hurt when Gary asked what I’d done to the goat. I headed down the hill to my gear, only to find The Beast laying by my saw. Boy was he happy to see me! The feeling was not mutual, for I knew that the teasing would never end.
From then on, The Beast followed me everywhere, and the teasing became intolerable! I was accused of doing unthinkable things with my goat. My pride was getting the better of me by the end of the day. At 18 you want to be known as a tough, macho logger. That’s hard to do with a goat following you everywhere and chasing after manhaul every night!
“The BEAST Fights Back”
One day, I was eating lunch up by the line machine with the other guys, when Dick, the woods boss pulled up in his brand-new Chevy pickup. Well, The Beast had wandered off to where I didn’t know, or care. Dick walked over and was B.S.ing us when one of the guys told Dick The Beast had jumped into his truck. He’d made the mistake of leaving his door open. He got over there just in time to see the goat doing what goats do. He had proceeded to eat all the important papers that Dick had on his dash. Dick was just a little pissed, as he reached in, grabbed the goat by the back legs and jerked him out onto the ground. We were all watching and laughing our asses off! Well, The Beast didn’t take kindly to being jerked away from his feast. Suddenly, I heard a ferocious bleat, and watched The Beast ramming our woods boss into the side of his new pickup. It was very amusing to watch, and the words and bleats coming from the both of them were something to hear!
In the end, The Beast must have gotten tired of thrashing his adversary and wandered off over the hill with Dick cussing and waving his fist after him. It was pretty hard for all of us to regain our composure (quit laughing), act serious and concerned about Dick’s loss of documents and bruised shins and pride.
We were in that area for over three months with the goat staying by my side the whole time. The last I saw of The Beast, he was chasing behind our manhaul until we were out of sight. I wish I would have been older and had less pride when I met The Beast. I would have taken him home, made him my pack goat and pet.
Duane Larson - Potlatch, ID