Broken Horn Walker
April, 1944 in Cherokee, Cherokee County, Iowa to Earl R. Walker and Mary
Elizabeth Coburn Walker.
Some of my
great great grandparents homesteaded in this county in northwestern Iowa in the
1870's shortly after the Sioux uprising had subsided. I still have many
relatives in this county, one of whom is still farming one of the original
homesteads. My mother's father and my dad's mother were both born in the county.
My dad's dad hails from Macon County, Missouri where the Walkers migrated to
from Botetourt County, Virginia in the 1830's. My whole family were farmers and
background I have always had a deep appreciation for the land and its plants and
animals. I grew up doing farmwork and being outside for most of my activities.
Most of the kids I knew had similar backgrounds and our activities were also
similar. I started driving farm tractors at age 5 and pickups at age 9. I had
regular chores to do starting at an even younger age, such as feeding the calves and
pigs and chickens and collecting eggs. I have been involved in some phase of
agriculture ever since either as a worker, producer, supplier or financier. I
have worked on grain farms, cattle ranches, a cattle feedlot, a grain elevator,
as a loan officer in a bank, an owner/ operator of a feedmill, a cattle raiser
and a farmer. I have also worked as a carpenter and a steelworker while going to
and completing college, interrupted by a 3 year stint in the army from 1966
through 1968. I was lucky enough to be stationed at White Sands Missile Range,
New Mexico for my whole tour after basic and MOS training and was honorably
discharged at Ft. Bliss, Texas as a Specialist 5th Class.
first married in 1965 and have four daughters by that marriage. I started them
all camping when still babies. A couple of them still engage in camping
activities with there families. My second and present wife of 21 years and her
son and I also camped, hunted and fished a lot.
experience camping was when my younger brother and I set up a canvas grain tarp
as a tent out behind a machine shed. Our parents rescued us in the middle of the
night from a huge thunderstorm. We weren't worried, but they sure
were. That was the beginning of a lifetime of camping experiences which continue
to this day.
river experiences were actually on the creeks that ran through our farms,
whether it was swimming, fishing or building rafts to float on them or hunting
for carp and snapping turtles. Our other swimming holes were in gravel pits. My
brother and I played cowboys and Indians out in the pasture chasing each other
on horses. We built tree forts, snow forts and climbed to the tops of the trees.
Mom would not watch us.
earliest hunting forays, with dad's .22, were for the pigeons and rats
that were always present on farms. I moved on from there to rabbits and then got
to hunt deer with a shotgun with slugs when I was 16. My dad did not hunt so I
learned the hunting skills I have from others as well as many years of hunting.
I have bagged deer, antelope, fox, coyote and other non-game species and have
yet to bag an elk despite many attempts. All of my hunts are successful even
though I often do not pull the trigger.
opportunity to be out amongst natures bounty is ample reward. I recently had
another reward on a float trip on the Missouri River in Montana. The weather was
perfect, mid 60's under clear skies and crisp at night. The leaves were starting
to show great color, the deer were numerous as was the waterfowl and the
young eagles were flexing their muscle. The land was showing off. It was
wonderful. Being able to share this with my traveling partners was a bonus. It's
too good to keep to yourself. I called my brother as soon as I got home to urge
him to take the same trip.
been an active member of the Lewis & Clark Honor Guard in Great Falls since
1992 and a board member and Quartermaster the last two years. The Honor Guard's
focus is on educating the public about the Lewis & Clark Expedition in
1803-1806. The HG does this through re-enactments in 1st person or through 3rd
person presentations about the history or through skills demonstrations.
A years events culminate with a 2 day encampment at the end of June where both
1st and 3rd person demonstrations are presented. All these events are done in
period clothing and accoutrements as are flag ceremonies done before civic
groups throughout the year. Classroom presentations to schoolchildren are done
3rd person. I usually do at least a half dozen30-40 minute demos. each year by
myself. I consider the Honor Guard members as some of my best friends.
For a number
of years I have been an NRA member and donate on a regular basis to protect our
firearms rights. I am also a 25 year member of American Legion Post 51 in
Augusta, Montana and a past commander there. Although not presently active I
continue to pay dues and support the goals of the Legion. I feel it is the one
group that watches out for the interests of all military veterans of service for
I have owned horses and have used them for working cattle, for hunting, for
packing and for pleasure. I've used them in all seasons and in all types of
weather. My 1st trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness was on a 2 year old mare I
had raised from a baby. That was an 80 mile trip over several days with a
retired forest service and Legion buddy who has since passed on. We packed
2 mules and traveled the length of the Chinese Wall on our tour east of the
friend and I made an 80 mile 10 day trip over the Divide to the Danaher, down
the south fork up and over the White River Pass, this time with 4 horses. He and
I have also made summer, fall and winter trips into an area we hunt in the Bob.
We use a wall tent with a stove to heat and cook on in cold weather. Our saddle
blankets serve as insulation and padding under our blankets. The winter camps
can be anywhere from 35 below zero to 45 above and snow or rain or chinook
winds. We use horses to pack out meat. This is in grizzly bear country and the
bears are active during hunting season.
taken a number of people on pleasure trail rides in the Bob. It's always a treat
to share the wilderness with someone, especially a first timer. I've also taken
people on cattle drives at the ranch of two brothers, both close friends. The
person accompanying me would ride one of my horses and it was usually his or her
first cattle drive. Aside from getting to be cowboys for a day we pass
through some pretty nice rolling country. Occasionally I go out to the ranch to
lend a hand and just be with good friends.
forward to meeting and sharing with and making new friends with other
compatible people and keeping the history of early America alive.
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