HAMILTON – It won’t be the score of a football game or the perfect holiday meal that the Silcher family will remember about Thanksgiving Day 2013.
Their story will be a bit more on wilder side of a life lived in the backcountry of western Montana.
It was about mid-day and Peter and Lori and their sons, Phillip and Graham, had spread out throughout the family home near the confluence of Little Sleeping Child and Sleeping Child creeks.
“All of a sudden, we all felt the house shake and there was a resounding thud,” Peter Silcher said.
Peter and one of his sons were downstairs. They thought maybe someone upstairs had taken a nasty fall.
When all four finally gathered and realized that nothing bad had happened to one another, they began looking for the cause of loud crash.
“We started looking around outside to try to figure out what in world caused that to happen,” Peter said. “Graham saw it first. He told me: ‘Dad don’t move. It’s coming right around the corner of the house.’ ”
That’s when they all saw the big male mountain sheep with its horns nearing a three-quarter curl come strutting into view.
“You could tell right away that he was on the fight,” Lori said. “He was looking for trouble.”
The ram took one look at the four humans staring at him and turned and walked back up a hill.
“When he left, we all went around the house and found the windows in our daylight basement that were broken,” Peter said. “We were kind of mystified at first, but then we realized that he’d probably seen his reflection in the window and chose to do battle with the ram staring back at him.”
A few moments later, the ram reappeared.
“He apparently decided he wasn’t done with the fight,” he said. “We chased him off. We didn’t want to lose any more windows.”
In the decade the family has called this place home, it was the first time that a mountain sheep ram had come for a visit.
“We’ve seen lots of elk, bear, mountain lions and mule deer,” Lori said. “We did have a couple of ewes and a lamb here just a few days back.”
That may be what brought the ram that was so willing to fight to their home in the first place.
“It’s a boy thing, don’t you know,” Lori said. “And now we have two windows busted out and cold is headed our way.”