28 May 2009

While hunting on the tobacco plantation near Quincy , Florida back in the 1970s, I was privileged to see a variety of animal and fowl life and observe some interesting sights. It was also the first time I had ever heard the sound of a 22-250 caliber rifle being fired. I knew there were other hunters in the area around the 80 acres of rye but I did not know exactly how close they were to me. I was sitting up a Black Gum tree about 15 feet off the ground in the afternoon when all of a sudden I heard the strangest sound for a rifle I had ever heard. Later in the evening I met the young man who had shot an eight point minus four points buck. Do you wonder how that could be? Well he saw only one side of the deer’s head and had failed to notice that only half of the antlers were on the deer. I asked him what in the world was the caliber of rifle he was shooting and he told me. Now the reason why this here 22-250 caliber sounded like it did was because the bullet left the barrel over 3000 feet per second. Boy, that is what you call traveling!

While I was up a tree around this rye field I had a drove of turkeys come under me and I watched them for the longest. I also saw twin fawns take milk from their mother. One of the strangest sights I saw was a couple of mature does eating that green stuff for a long time and then they began to ‘horse around’. When they got their stomach full they both stood up on their hind legs and began hitting their front hoofs against the other deer’s front hoofs. That was a sight to behold. I almost started to sing “Patty Cake, Patty Cake, baker’s man…but I thought better of it if I wanted to harvest a deer. But I was tempted.

It was back in the 1970s when I began to hunt wild turkeys. I did not have any place to hunt except public land so I found myself going from Opp over to the Blue Springs Management Area several miles south of Andalusia . I had done some scouting and I had found me a secluded area where there were plenty of turkey signs. I felt real good thinking that I had an ideal place all by myself. Wrong! When daylight came shotguns went off in every direction around me. The one habit I developed while hunting on the management areas was ducking my head. A habit I kept for many years after leaving the public areas and hunting on private property. I hung around for the longest hoping that maybe one crazed gobbler might come my way after being targeted by a dozen other hunters but none showed up.

Finally I went stomping through the forest with a sad countenance on my face. Eventually I came to a chufee (that southern for chufa) patch and there I sat me down on a log and began to use my old Lynch Box to yelp, purr, cluck and even to gobble. In other words I had completely given up on killing a gobbler that spring morning. I continued this music making for several minutes and all of a sudden and much to my surprise, a man popped up out of a hole several yards to my left, and with a shotgun in his hand, he said loudly, “SHHHHHH!” Then just as quickly he disappeared into his hole and I sat there dumbfounded. He had been there all the time awaiting for turkeys to come and feed on them their chufee and I had done messed up everything. I said loud enough for him to hear, ‘Well, you can have it ‘cause I’m leaving’ and I went walking off disgusted because he had interrupted my symphony and serenade to all the turkeys in the Blue Springs Management Area. But that was the first and last time that I ever seen a grown turkey hunter popping up in the likes of a ‘Jack in the Box’.

Question: What’s the difference between a hunter and a fisherman?
Answer: A hunter lies in wait while a fisherman waits and lies.