29 July 2009

Hunting Humor & Tales

I do have a couple of fish stories that I need to write about in this series. When the boys were at home I used to go fishing with them and enjoyed it very much. However, I haven’t been fishing in years. But there is one fishing trip I now mention because I have never forgotten the experience. The family and I had gone up to visit my parents in Summerville, Georgia. It was before my father died in 1970. We were living in Greenville, Alabama at the time. My brother Willard was the game warden in the northwest corner of Georgia. He loved to fish. So Dad, Willard and I drove down to Cedar Bluff, Alabama which was only about 25 miles from Summerville. We were near Lake Weis but were fishing in back waters off the Coosa River. It was getting late in the afternoon and I had cast a long way from the boat. I was using a reel and rod that my brother had loaned me. Eventually I began to reel in my plug but not very far because I felt the tightness on the line. My brother quietly said, “You’ve hung up on a log.” I kept on trying to reel it in when all of a sudden this large Bass came flying out of the water and I shouted “I’ve caught a fish!” That Bass was pulling like a grown man. I got him closer when here he came again a’flying out of the water. I could readily see he was one big fish. I finally got him up to the boat when all of a sudden he swam around the other side of the boat and 'pop' went the line. This time my brother quietly said, “That line was rotten.” First of all I didn’t have the experience to reel in a fish that big but what really hurt was learning that the line was “rotten”. I could have died. You talk about feeling low, discouraged and down in the dumps, I experienced all those feelings. I couldn’t sleep that night for seeing that big Bass that got away. But there is one that didn’t get away.
Our second son, Joel, is what you call a ‘natural’. The first Christmas that we gave him a Zebco reel and rod he went fishing with his buddy and he catches a nice bass. When he was 14 he was visiting with his grandmother and aunt near Wildwood, Florida. My wife’s uncle Gilbert had mining done on his land for lime rock when the workers hit springs of water. The gaping hole filled up with water and was stocked with bream and bass. The boys and I would go fishing in the pond (that was no telling how deep) and we would usually catch blue gill, bass and bream, and have enough for a nice meal for the family. But this time he was fishing with a great aunt and he had to walk down into the gravel pit to get to edge of the pond. He says that he had a purple worm on the line and had cast it way out and let it sink down deep. All of a sudden something hit that worm and the work began. The ‘old’ pro knew how to deal with that big boy and he got him to the bank, grabbed that large mouth bass and hightailed to the car. He wrapped it in his army jacket and sat in the back seat and closed the door. He didn’t want that trophy to get back into the water. When they got back to the house his grandmother Slaughter asked, “Joel, did you catch any fish?” and it was then that he laid that jacket down on the coffee table and opened it up for her to see. The bass weighed between 10 and 11 pounds. His aunts had that fish mounted for him and it has hung in our home since 1972. That experience nearly ruined the boy because he had hit the top rung of the ladder and he expected to catch a big one every time he went fishing. He quit fishing for several years but in recent time he has become addicted to this hobby once again. But now he releases his catch regardless of the size.
He has a kayak now and goes fishing all over the state of North Carolina where he lives. He is always sending pictures home so all of us can see that he still is a professional in the art of catching fish. (Say, did I ever tell you about the two Eskimos who were fishing in their kayak when the winter storm turned horribly cold and the water froze causing them to be stranded a long way from land. One of them lit a match and set the kayak a fire in order to keep from freezing. However things got worse than ever because the wooden kayak burnt up. The moral of this story is, ‘You can’t heat your kayak and have it too.’)

04 July 2009

During the deer hunting season of 2006-07 I harvested four bucks and one doe. That was not a bad season for an old preacher. I hunted mainly on land belonging to my good friend Bubba Taylor down in the Sardis Community just south of Highland Home in Crenshaw County , Alabama . This here is a tale I like to share with everyone who knows that I am rather addicted to this sport of looking for the elusive Whitetail deer. Well, it goes like this. Me and Bubba were walking across an open field when a buck jumped up from where he was bedded down about 50 yards from us. Since we both had our rifles in our hands we both aimed at the creature and fired about the same time. I want you to know that buck fell dead in its tracks. We walked up to where the deer was laying and we saw that it was a ten point buck and it looked like it would easily weigh at least 180 to 200 pounds. I just knew that I had hit the deer and I really wanted this trophy but I couldn’t say much because I was hunting on Bubba’s property. Well about that time a game warden came walking up and wanted to check our licenses. I informed him quickly that I did not have a license but he could tell by my appearance that I was so old that I didn’t need one and since I was hunting with the land owner I did not even have to have a written permission. (You see, there are some advantages about being ancient.) He said he also heard us shooting and wondered if we had killed anything. It was then that we told him our situation about our shooting at the buck at the same time and that we did not know who killed the deer since we both claimed to have hit the buck. Well he walked over to that poor dead deer and stared at it for a long time, even examining it. He then walked over to us and said “one of you is a preacher.” I asked, “How did you know?” He said, “The bullet from a preacher’s rifle killed the deer.” Now that startled me and I inquired, “Sir, how in the world do you know that?” To my surprise he answered, “Because the bullet from a preacher’s rifle that killed that buck WENT IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER!!”
My good friend RD from Carbon Hill and I went down to hunt deer on some property owned by a nice gentleman who had land just east of the small community of Grady, Alabama. The man informed us in no uncertain terms that he wanted us to kill only does unless it was a large antlered buck. I had sat in this nice shooting house previously and I had harvested a very nice doe so I thought I would permit my friend to have this location from whence he would see some deer eating over the green field. I went in the opposite direction and sat in a tree stand in a wooded area where most likely I would not see any wildlife except for squirrels ~ but eating a bushy tail rodent is not my idea of a delicious meal. Well, anyway it was getting late and the sun was beginning to sink low in the western skies when all of a sudden I heard the blast from my friend’s 270 caliber rifle and I knew old RD had bagged him a nice doe or a record sized buck. I got down from my tree stand and began walking toward the farm house and the green field where my friend was undoubtedly rejoicing with his marksmanship and kill. It was then that I heard a tractor heading my way. Our generous farmer friend thought that I had shot a deer and he was coming to drag my kill with his tractor. I got to thinking about that and I suppose he thought I had killed a buck that perhaps weighed around 200 to 300 pounds. I informed him quickly that it was not I who shot but my friend in the shooting house.

About that time we heard him shoot a second time. I suggested that we wait at the gate instead of going toward the green field. It was then that we heard a third shot. I thought to myself that old RD had wounded a deer and had to track him down to finish the trophy size deer down and finish him off. My, I thought it must be a humongous size buck to take three rounds from his 270 caliber to finish the monster off. It was then that I saw my friend come over the rise of a small hill dragging the deer behind him so the farmer and I started toward him to assist him because we did not want my friend to suffer a strained back or a pulled muscle. I got to him first and I saw what he had killed. It was a very small doe. RD looked at me and with a sad countenance on his face he told me that the deer looked larger at 100 yards and that he shot it and then had to find it and shoot at it again and finally finished the job with another round from his rifle. When the owner saw how small the deer was he said with a loud voice, “Why you have killed Bambi.” Well at least it was a doe. Now do you suppose that I have let my good friend RD forget those words spoken by the owner of the property. No way! Oh, we didn’t have to use the tractor to drag the poor thing out of the green field. It would have almost fit into a game bag.