25 November 2008

I have this friend who has been an avid deer hunter for decades. He hunts for meat and not for trophies. He and his wife like to have several deer in their freezer each year and not only for themselves but for their children and grandchildren. I might refer to this entire clan as being Watkins Products. In the rolling hills of middle Tennessee stands the most elaborate shooting house this world has ever seen. Now I have sat in shooting houses that were carpeted and had propane heaters to keep you warm in the coldest weather. Some of the shooting houses were so fancy that the only thing lacking was an elevator to transport you from ground level to the first floor where you could dine, look at a portable TV and enjoy the beautiful scenery of a green field while waiting for some dumb deer to make its appearance. Permit me to describe what makes this particular shooting house the best ever! I believe that there are seven rooms in the house with four bathrooms. It has central air-conditioning and heating (when needed). You see the owner has a furnace outside that heats the house most of the time during the winter months. This house was built near the turn of the 20th century and renovated when this couple bought it. It is beautiful! You see this is where this fine couple lives. The deer in the area will stroll across an open pasture during hunting season and J. W. will run upstairs and prop his accurate shooting 270 on the window sill and fire away. One of the last deer he killed last year was about 140 yards away from his house. He did miss a real nice buck that was some 300 hundreds yards but missing a deer is very rare with this ole boy. J.W. has shot deer while he stood on the patio and from a window on the first floor of his house. There is no need to buy a four-wheeler or camping gear for this deer hunter who loves to stay near home while harvesting his quota of deer.

I had scouted this area in Crenshaw County and I had even hunted this beautiful area before and I knew turkeys were living there. It was a pasture with a stream of water running through the property. Early that particular morning I had arrived before daylight and I had sat down and positioned myself toward some trees where I knew the turkeys had roosted before. However that morning I did not hear one gobbler. But as I walked along side the creek I could see some large birds in the trees ahead of me. Well, I began to crawl toward them. Being along side the creek meant I was getting rather muddy and wet while making my way ever so slowly toward those birds. It took me some 30 minutes for me to get into shooting range. But the more I looked at those birds the more I begin to realize that they might not be what I thought they were. But after I had worked so long and so hard I decided that whatever they were that when they flew one of them was going to get the load I had in my shotgun. Sure enough one flew and I shot and down went the bird. It was a buzzard. How humiliating. I found a dead cow in the stream of water nearby. I seriously thought about cleaning that buzzard and carrying it to a deacon friend of mine who I had given turkeys and deer in times past. Well, I didn’t but I thought about it. Vulture veal might not be so bad if properly seasoned for some people who were not your friends, right?

I had carried my beloved to have a medical exam and I was sort of uncomfortable in the waiting room because of the kind of test she was having but I will suggest that I was kept abreast of what was happening. Well things began to lighten up when this couple came in and I heard the man say that he had gotten lost on his way into Montgomery . I then asked him where he was from and he replied that he lived near Andalusia . I inquired as to where ‘about Andalusia ’. He stated that he was from Wing, Alabama . “Well”, I said, “I seldom meet anyone from Wing but I know where Wing is”. This crossroad is southwest of Andalusia and is right on the Florida line and on the way to Baker, Florida . He then said that he actually lived between Wing and Florala and that his closest neighbor was about one mile away and the next one was some seven miles away. I said, “You do live in the country, don’t you.” I told him that I was acquainted with the area since I had hunted in the Blue Springs Management Area which is located in the Conecuh National Forest . It was not long before we began to talk about hunting. You know deer hunters are like alcoholics, it just doesn’t take long to find one another. He related how that he had gone out the other afternoon and sat down by a tree and it was not long until a 7 point buck came by and he shot it just behind the ear and it fell down dead. He informed me that he had bought him a machine to make sausage and he needed some meat. I stated that gun season was about two weeks away but he said that didn’t’ matter with him. He related how that he and a grandson had killed 28 deer last year. I told him that I also hunted turkeys. He said he didn’t. He said that he would build a pen out of wire and put some corn in it and when the turkeys got into the trap they would stick their necks through the holes in the wire as they looked up and they didn’t have enough sense to get out of it. He also related how he would put feed in a container and he would get in a tree nearby and the turkeys would come to the feed and how pretty they looked from that view. And then he would shoot amongst them and kill five or six at a time. It was then that I said quietly (he knew by this time I was a preacher) that I tried to go by the game laws. At this time he made this momentous confession. He said, “Preacher I will be up front with you, I am a poacher.” Well, blow me down and call me windy, I would have never guessed it. Now I am not a Priest as some call a priest but he made this confession to me. I am worried that the game wardens will come looking for me and will I be protected from revealing this awful truth? But you know, I really don’t think this confession was from a penitent person. In fact I believe this here fellow was just letting me know what he did as his full time job all the year. And to beat all, this nice fellow asked me to come down and go hunting with him sometimes. Do you really think I need to accept his invitation?

We were all being led in our trucks by a game warden to our deer stands on the management area. A woman was in front of me. Suddenly a rabbit jumped in front of her truck and she ran over the poor thing. She stopped and got out of her truck and opened her purse and took out a bottle and poured something on that rabbit. Would you believe that rabbit jumped up and began hopping away and every 25 yards it would stop and turn and wave at the lady until we couldn’t see it anymore? I couldn’t believe my eyes! I got out of my truck and I walked up to the lady and I asked her what in the world did she pour on that rabbit. She answered that it was “Hair (hare) restorer with a permanent wave.” With that I got back in my truck and forgot all about why I was there in the first place.

This is serious. Have you ever wondered who the first person was who looked at a cow and said, “I am going to twist those dangly things and drink whatever comes out?” Makes you think, don’t it?

15 November 2008

These two pictures are the last I suppose that I will post of the fall colors since the wind and the rain will get most of the leaves off the trees.

Bear Creek Swamp is a well known area in the history of Autauga County. Many ghost stories have orginated from the Swamp. It is located on the west side of Autauga Ridge as you travel from Prattville to Autaugaville on Highway 14. County Rd #3 is a dirt road that runs from H'way 82 to H'way 14 and along side Bear Creek Swamp.

**Photographs courtesy of B. Raymond Elliot**

13 November 2008

fall, 2008
Autauga County
**Photographs courtesy of B. Raymond Elliott**
These two snapshots were taken in Bear Creek Swamp last Friday while we were having some rain in the area. The following is what I wrote to the children.

"I made this picture on Friday of last week while we were having some rain in the area. I thought for a moment that I saw something (like Big Foot) moving when I took the picture. If you look closely you will note that it had just gotten out of the scope and range of my camera. Or, perhaps it was just the moving of the leaves when a breeze blew softly through the bushes. Being part Cherokee I tracked what I thought was something that I might not have seen for some 5 miles but found nothing. So goes the effort of a luckless part-time photographer of wild life and the wilderness as found along side the mighty Alabama River located between Prattville and Autaugaville."
BRE (Bear Run Elliott)
Would you say 'nonesense'?

**Photographs courtesy of B. Raymond Elliott**