A couple of weeks ago I inadvertently misplaced one of my Yellowstone elk hide gloves … it was the right-hand glove in the last pair I had. It was dark by the time I figured out that it was AWOL and no amount of searching turned it up the next morning. I discovered the remains of that Yellowstone elk hide glove on Sunday. The dogs discovered it somewhere and converted it into a chew/pull toy. My hand still fit into the glove, but it was fairly gnarly.
I discovered Yellowstone gloves around 12 years ago after shredding a pair of top-grain cowhide gloves after a couple of hours of fixing a stretch of barbed wire fence. My hands are still well scarred from that, and many earlier fencing experiences. Yellowstone is a well known brand among cowboys and ranchers in the West. They quite simply make the best elk, deer and goat hide work gloves that I am aware of … and they do it in a small family-owned factory in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Cool eh?
Yellowstone has dealers in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. The company is really set up as a wholesale manufacturer and supplier, but for those many of us who are unlucky enough to live outside their distribution territory, the good folks at Yellowstone are willing to take our orders over the telephone … and to sell individual pairs at a very fair retail price.
When I called Yellowstone last week to restock, I was disappointed to learn that they were short on elk hides, so there were no elk hide gloves available. After a bit of conversation, I learned that the real problem was with the elk hides themselves. Yellowstone was having a difficult time getting unblemished elk hides from which to make their gloves … come on all you elk hunters, can’t you select your trophy based on hide quality instead of rack size? I also learned that they had a limited number of blemished elk hide gloves … made with the less-than-perfect elk skins. We chuckled over the phone, since the gloves are blemished after the first fencing project. I ordered several pair … in size 9½. While I was at it, I ordered a couple pairs of full-grain goat hide gloves, too … they are lighter, cooler and really nice all-around gloves. You can fence with them in a pinch, too.
Why elk? I have found that full-grain elk hide gloves are the only gloves that will allow me to grab barbed wire virtually anywhere and pull. The fiber structure in the Yellowstone elk hide gloves is such that they simply do not tear … they don’t cut the way cowhide does either. Instead, the barbs penetrate partially into the hide and then the hide just kind of stretches. It’s difficult to explain, but once you have experienced Yellowstone full-grain elk hide gloves, you will never go back.
Yellowstone gloves are sized to your hand … the old-fashioned way. You will need to take some measurements to get a good fit, but like the legendary handmade White’s Boots, you take the measurements once and wind up with a leather product that fits like a glove … quite literally.
My Yellowstone glove order arrived last Saturday, just in time to do a little fencing and to protect my hands from the cold and snow that arrived yesterday. That little package is like the blue blanket I carried around as a toddler … a good supply of Yellowstone gloves is the ultimate security blanket for me.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.