05 August 2010

Did You Shoot Them in That Sequence?

It was a cold day in January that year when I got dressed to go with a couple of friends to the Butler County Management Area to hunt deer. I had to ride between Timmy and Foy in a small Datsun pickup truck. On the back was a box that contained a few hound dogs. The distance was about 60 miles and most of that was covered during the darkness of that early morning. It was so cold that the red dirt had spewed up with ice and the wind was blowing to boot. It was a dreadful morning to be exposed to such weather for man or beast. At the set time I was placed as a standard in a cut-over area where I stood fully clothed with so many layers that made movement on my part rather difficult and I was still freezing. Foy was to the east of me and over a small hill.

Timmy had turned the dogs loosed and was located to the west of me and over another small hill and near a stream of water. I had deer coming by me but they were does and perhaps button bucks but nothing to shoot at because I might shoot the wrong sex and have to pay a fine and receive a cussing out by the top ranger.

Permit me to interrupt this here story by informing you that the day before this great hunt began, Timmy ‘borrowed’ 10 rounds of 12 gauge, 3 inch magnum, and double O buckshot from me to shoot in his Browning shotgun. His Browning and mine were both manufactured in Belgium with a 30 inch full choke and vented rib barrel, the top of the line for shotguns in my humble opinion. But, let me continue with this tale about three hunters from Opp, Alabama on a very cold day in south Alabama. The dogs were running and a-barking and jumping deer. All of
a sudden I heard Timmy shoot five times and then there was a pause between the next five rounds. As you know, the Browning can be loaded from underneath and that was what he was doing as fast as he could until he shot up all ten of the rounds I had loaned him. Shortly afterwards I heard him yelling, “Hey Raymond, get Foy and ya’ll come over here.” I shouted for Foy and we both went as fast as we could with about 30 pounds of clothing on us. When we got to where Timmy was there lay three bucks. Now remember we were on a management area and you were only allowed on that day to kill one buck per person. But what I saw were a six-point, a seven-point and an eight-point buck lying on the frozen ground. I believe that comes to a total of three bucks!

The first words out of my mouth were “Did you shoot them in that sequence?” I also said to him that he should have allowed one of them come my way. Timmy said he was standing on a stump along side a small stream of water when all of a sudden all that he saw were antlers everywhere. That is when he began to blast away with his 12 gauge shotgun. Now, we have a problem. One hunter could not claim three bucks at the ranger station. Foy said he would claim one and then Timmy looked at me. It was then I simply said, without a ‘holier than thou attitude’ that I could not conscientiously claim one because I would have to sign a paper declaring that I killed the deer. It was then a preacher friend of ours said he would. I think maybe he ‘fell a little from grace’ with that decision.

Well, my friend Timmy mounted all three deer heads and when you visit with him you will see the 6-point, 7-point and 8-point deer hanging on the wall. What did I get out of the hunt on an unbearable cold day near Georgiana, Alabama? Why it was my 10 rounds of buck shots that kill those three deer. I had the ten hulls mounted and I placed them over my fireplace in my den. Now if you believe that you will also believe this story.

A man kept bringing back a sack full of dead squirrels when he returned from hunting. Friends noticed that he did not have a gun with him and someone asked him how he killed the squirrels. The hunter replied that he “uglied” them to death. He also said that he used to carry his wife with him hunting squirrels but she always torn them to pieces. (Oh my!)

28 May 2010

Visit to Colorado, Springs

Our son Matt who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado was given a pet dog by the name of Enso, why the name I cannot remember. Anyway this Beagle is a smart watch dog. Beagles by nature make good pets and they need plenty of room to run and roam. I met a gentleman several years ago in central Florida who hunted deer by using a Beagle. He said this particular dog did not run the deer too fast like a hound and he always brought a deer back to him so he could harvest the animal. Every time a dog or a person passes our son’s house Enso will let you know it. He sits on the back of the couch and looks out the window to make sure the area is secure. The backyard is rather large and has a wooden fence around the area. On one side of the yard there are two knot holes that Enso uses to check on the neighbors and their dog. He will run from one knot hole to the other one to peek through it to see what is going on next door. Never in my life have I witnessed any breed of a dog that would stand and stare through a knot hole in a wall and stare for a lengthy period of time to check on matters. But take a look at this smart Beagle in his stance and staring through one of his knot holes.
My brother-in-law Joseph has a collection of pistols and long guns that would equal many gun stores. He reloads and has a supply of powder, etc in his special room off the garage. I warned his wife Rosemary that if their house caught fire she should run fast and far away because there would be plenty of fireworks that would make a fourth of July celebration seem very small. One pistol he has is something like a .490 caliber. Now I have no desire to shoot such a gun. Since dinosaurs are no longer around I wonder why in the world a person would own such a large caliber pistol. But have you ever met a hunter from the state of Texas? These fellows are always bragging how large their whitetail deer are and the size of their antlers. These braggarts are always exaggerating and it is hard to believe anything they say about the size of their deer; however, when my sweet wife and I stopped in Centerville, Texas I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. When you see the size of this pistol you do wonder how large the deer in Texas really are.
I have lived and hunted in the southeast all my 75 years and I have seen various kinds of birds while in the woods but I had never seen a live Magpie until we visited our son in Colorado Springs. They tell me this bird, while beautiful, is “very mean”. They do seem to ‘fuss’ a lot. I captured this one on my camera the morning we were leaving. He is pretty, isn’t he?
I truly wanted to see an elk on our journey to eastern Colorado but while I saw a sign denoting where they might cross the highway, I never saw one; however, in NE New Mexico I saw plenty of Pronghorn Antelopes. BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, WHERE THE ANTELOPE ROAM
We returned from Colorado on Wednesday, May 26, 2010. While there we went back one hour in time and one season. Spring had just come to this beautiful country as you can readily see in the following pictures.
Before I leave I must show you one of the pictures I took of this beautiful and famous mountain that can be seen all of the area of Colorado Springs, even from our son’s bedroom window.

22 March 2010

I first met Dale and Sheila Jones when they moved to Prattville , Alabama in the1980s. He became employed by the local paper mill as an engineer. We developed a strong friendship over a period of time. Dale was a physical specimen of a man in every way. He had worked in the coal mines in his home state along with various other jobs in his youth. His father owned a car dealership in his home town. He was a person of strong convictions, morally and spiritually. They lived for some time in his father camper, along with a large dog. Then Matthew, their first born son, came to live with them in that very small space. After some time had passed they moved into a house north of Posey’s Crossroads in Autauga County. As you may guess, Dale and I began telling one another stories about our experiences in hunting deer and turkey. Here are a couple of true stories that Dale related to me.

This is one thing I truly hate about hunting deer in the early morning hours. I anticipate that alarm clock going off and I awake a dozen times before it goes off and am happy when it comes time for me to get out of bed. Well, Dale, being a novice in this matter of deer hunting, listened carefully to the experienced hunters and so he set his alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. He awoke and put on all his heavy clothing because in the mountains of West Virginia the weather gets very cold and icy in the winter time. And then he eats a bite of food, gets out of his tent and goes a short distance and sits himself down right there on the top of the steep ridge (we might call it a mountain). I said to Dale, “Wait a minute, are you saying that you were already in the deer woods?” He replied that he had left the evening before and hiked into the mountains to be on the back side of the reservation so he could be ahead of the hunters the next morning. He felt like the hunters walking in the woods toward him would surely move some deer his way. I said, “You mean to tell me that you were already where you wanted to be in the woods for the morning hunt?” He said “yes”. I asked “why then did you set the alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. if you were already where you wanted to be?” He softly replied, “That’s when the other hunters told me to set it.” I couldn’t help but laugh aloud at my good friend.

Dale continued this story about his early deer hunting experiences by relating that as he sat there on the side of the mountain waiting for the deer to come running toward him, he said that he caught movement in his peripheral vision and lo and behold he saw a hunter coming from back of him and walking toward the hollow below. It was only a short time before he saw other hunters coming from behind where he sat and moving toward the hollow. What he had not realized when he arrived the evening before was that he pitched his tent near the entrance to the reservation on the other side. And there he sat while dozens of other hunters entered the woods looking for deer. If I remember, it seems that he told me he got up and left for home. I thought I would pass out laughing at my dear friend.

A RIDDLE OF SORTS (With apologies to Samson, Judges 14:14)
“Out of the buck came a gobble,
From the carcass of a deer
Came forth fowl meat.”
My West Virginia mountaineer friend told this true tale of going deer hunting in the mountains of West Virginia with some friends. They made their camp and then separated to stalk a trophy buck that would look great mounted over the mantle and fireplace. Dale said that he had gone a long way from the camp in this new territory and eventually spotted a nice size buck. He shot and killed the buck but the trouble began when the deer rolled down the side of the mountain. He found the buck and saw that it had 10 points which pleased Dale very much. He field dressed the deer and began dragging it up the mountain side. He succeeded and was exerting himself dragging the heavy animal. You might not believe it but he saw a wild turkey gobbler so he shot it also. So, now he has a large deer to drag and a gobbler to carry, along with his rifle. Even this very strong man had a real problem on his hands. What was he to do? To solve this problem he stuffed the turkey inside the cavity of the deer and now he could use both arms to drag the deer; but, there was another problem presenting itself to my friend Dale. Darkness was coming and Dale was not sure where he was in relation to the campsite. He found an indenture in the side of the mountain and placed the deer and the turkey there for safe keeping until he could return later. He eventually found his campsite and friends. He related the story that I have just shared with you but they were not impressed and manifested a real disbelief of their friend’s tale of him killing a buck and a gobbler on the same day. It was not until the next morning that he convinced a hunting buddy to go with him to search for his trophies and finally after a long hike they came upon the turkey that was stuffed in the stomach cavity of the deer. End of story.
But wait, I must pass on to you the kind of entertainment that Dale and his friends enjoyed from time to time. He informed me that on some Saturday nights they would go down to a particular church building and slip around to watch those religious mountaineers handle rattlesnakes. And you thought going to the movies on Saturday nights was exciting.

27 January 2010

Hunting Humor & Tales

While working with the church in Luverne , Alabama my wife and I made many new friends and among that number were Larry and Mary Jo Hoffman. Larry is a man of many talents. He has been an operator of heavy equipment for a number of years. He can build just about anything he desire to build. He and his lovely bride own some land that is located…well; you just can’t get there from here. Seriously this beautiful acreage lies somewhere between Rutledge and Honoraville in Crenshaw County, Alabama on County Road 11. I went down this past week for a visit with him at his farm and I rode with him on his four-wheeler to a shooting house.A HOUSE IN THE WILDWOODS
This is the first sight you see when you drive down the road a piece when you get off the highway. Larry and Mary Jo do not presently in this house which they built years ago but his son and wife live here. A porch goes nearly around the house. Steven told me that one night a deer got on the porch to eat the acorns that had fallen on it and the noise really scared his wife but he said he knew exactly what was making the noise. The deer would have been within range of any bow hunter, except it was at night.AN IDYLLIC SCENE
This beautiful lake is only a short distance from the house. This is a bass fisherman’s dream for a nice afternoon excursion. I got on Larry’s four-wheeler with him and we crossed the dam on the way to the shooting house.A BRIDGE OVER RESTFUL WATERS
You can take a stroll across the lake in the north end where there are several Cypress trees.AN ELEVATED SHOOTING MANSION
My friend informed me that he built this shooting house (10X16) at his house and carried it out to this spot where he then built the roof. He lifted the house the height he desired and placed the supports underneath it. He told me that it was completely insulated. He just does not like to get cold while hunting deer and I believe it.LIL’ ABNER’S HOUSE?
This side of the house did make me think of some of my kinsfolk’s house on Sand Mountain years ago. No chimney but there is the ‘stove pipe’.
Close by the heater was ‘kindling’ or ‘lighter knot’, along with an ample supply of wood. During the extreme cold weather we had recently I went down to sit with him in this house and he ‘built’ a fire and before long I had to take off my hunting coat and a jersey. And just take a look at the fancy tile or whatever that heater is setting on. I thought he was going to run me out of the house. I should have told him to turn the damper down. And I think of the times that I have sat in a tree stand on many a frigid morning and nearly froze to death.
No, he did not settle for plywood but he used some nice finished pine wood to stand on (look at the width of some of those planks).
It is so beautiful and peaceful that my friend said that he was often tempted to place a cot in the shooting house and sleep overnight. Wait a minute; I thought I saw some movement just inside the woods. If I will be patient enough maybe that 10 point buck will come out just before dark.