Saturday, February 7, 2009
loaded up Dudleys red Dodge Ram pickup and took off for the panhandle of Texas. We stopped in Wichita Falls to eat at Scott's drive in and went by the two houses Dudley grew up in and took some photos for Dudleys main blog. On the way out of town, we spotted a Hastings bookstore and Frank pulled in and went in to see if they had a copy of the Highwayman cd. He found one and bought it for $6.00, what a deal. We had one and had forgotten to get it for this trip. We both really like the music. Dudley really likes the song "Red River Valley" I think it is track 6 on the cd. It tells the story of an old driller of oil wells and the song talks about the Green Frog Cafe in Jacksboro that we passed by on the way to Wichita Falls. Dudleys father spent his entire adult life working and exploring for oil and gas in the Red River Valley and the song brings back a lot of bitter sweet memories of growing up there decades ago. We headed out and went through Childress and on up into the panhandle. We crossed the Red River and about twenty miles south of Shamrock, we entered into a massive fog bank. We drove into Shamrock in the middle of the afternoon and the fog was so heavy you could not see more than a short distance off of the roadway. We saw the famous Conoco Gas Station which looked eerie in the fog. The fog was so heavy we were unable to see our motel sitting just a short distance off of the road. We had to turn around and saw a sign pointing us to it. We checked into the motel and it was a nice place. We unloaded our gear and called and spoke to the outfitter and he advised he would be driving up in the morning and he would pick us up before daylight. div
Thursday, March 13, 2008
went on a trophy boar hunt on the Lambshead Ranch in West Texas. This is a historic ranch located on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. The ranch is 45,000 acres in size and this area was settled in the 1850's by the Matthews and Reynolds families. The ranch is located near historic Fort Griffin. Frank and I left Fort Worth about 3:30 AM and arrived at the ranch before daylight. We went into the camp house and were greeted by the ranch staff and our hunting guide Tom in the photo above. There was a roaring wood fire going in the fireplace and we sat and talked about the ranch. When it became light enough to see, we went and loaded our gun and hunting pack into the ranch 4wd drive Suburban with a high rack on top and away we went. We drove all over the ranch seeing many of the historic buildings and ranch houses which have been restored. These date back to the early days of the ranch. We forded the Brazos river four different times, the river was up and was just barely passable. We drove up to the top of many ridges were you could see for many miles. The views were spectacular and I wish I could have taken more pictures but we were too busy hunting. We saw lots of wildlife. Frank and Tom got out and made several hikes down through the river bottom looking for a trophy hog. Frank said it was all he could do to keep up with his guide and he is in pretty good shape. On one of their walks, Tom found the skull of a whitetail buck that had died recently that had a huge non typical rack with 11 or 12 points. the old buck probably died of old age. We saw lots of wildlife during the course of the day. We lost count but saw in excess of two hundred deer, probably in excess of fifty hogs, 25 or so turkeys, numerous ducks and a raccoon. About 1:00 PM we drove up to a big stock tank and there was a herd of black Angus cattle bedded down in the shade by the edge of the water. Tom said there is a big boar over there which is what we had been looking for. Tom drove on down the road and he and Frank got out and prepared to make a stalk on the big boar. I wished them luck and waited in the truck. After about ten minutes they came back to the truck and related that as they were moving into position for a shot, the cattle became spooked and ran off into the brush which caused the boar hog to get up and run off before Frank could take a shot. We hunted until dark and Frank never got another chance at a trophy class boar. He could have shot a big sow or smaller boar easily but I was proud of him, he wanted a trophy and hunted hard all day but learned that sometimes when you set your goals high, you go home empty handed. The trip was worthwhile, there is a lot more to hunting than making a kill. The day out in God's great outdoors was enjoyable and spending all day hunting with my son was priceless. We left the house at 3:30 AM Wednesday and got back at 11:30 PM. We were totally exhausted but glad to have made the trip. I am going to try and work out a deal with the ranch manager for Frank to go back out there during deer season and bag a couple of does so we will have some deer meat next year.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
up on the side, towards the top of one of the two smaller unnamed mountains to the southwest of Kickapoo Mountain in East Texas. I had been doing a lot of hill climbing that day and had gone up and down both of the smaller mountains in my 1983 Jeep CJ-5. It was great fun and the view from up on top was spectacular. I made a mental error and on the way down, I came to a Y in the road and took the wrong side by mistake. I quickly discovered my mistake but before I could do anything, I found the Jeep was high centered and was not going anywhere. So I had to hike down the hill and I don't remember how but I called for help. Dudleys wifes younger brother was friends with a guy that worked for the local Ford dealer. It was a Sunday afternoon but he went and got the dealerships four wheel drive wrecker and drove up to the top of the mountain and winched my Jeep off the high center and back up on top. I thanked him profusely, he refused any money. He did not refuse the cold six pack of beer I bought him later that day in town. I really enjoyed hill climbing in the Jeep. You could put that Jeep in low range and first and second gear and go up just about any hill you could find no matter how steep. I remember the first time I took my older sister four wheeling up this mountain. As the mountain came into view she stated that it did not look that steep. You should have seen her holding on to the grab bar for deer life as we hit the side of the mountain and started to climb up at a sharp angle. She changed her tune after that and had a greater appreciation for hill climbing in the Jeep. Those were the days.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
where I spent the best days of my life deer hunting with my father in law, "Sparky." We hunted together for over fifteen years on that small 150 acre farm. We killed deer all over the farm but the best hunting and most of our deer were killed on the big power line right of way on the south side of the place. It was great while it lasted. The farm has been divided and four fifths have been sold off. My father in law was the only one who felt a strong enough attachment to the land to keep it. The rest of his brothers and sisters did not feel that way. You can see the big Kickapoo Mountain just west of the farm and the two smaller unnamed hills to the southwest. I used to enjoy hill climbing in my Jeep on the two smaller mountains. Anyone used to be able to go there and go hill climbing but now it is all fenced off and is off limits. The area between the three mountains is called the "Clay Pits" for the rich red clay soil in the area. For years the Henderson Clay Company dug clay out of this area for the making of bricks. It was a great place to go four wheeling, and a great place to get stuck after a big rain. Also a great place to go target shoot guns. It is all fenced off now as well and is no trespassing. You can see the Kickapoo Battlefield monument listed on the map. Early Texans had a big battle there in 1838 with hostile Indians. Just to the northwest of the farm on the Saunders place is an old Caddo Indian camp which was explored in the 1930's by archaeologists from the University of Texas. I will be doing a post on that in the future with photos of some of the artifacts they found. I plan on posting the stories and photos of some of the trophy deer killed through the "Glory Days" on the farm. My father in law is getting up in years and my health is failing but we had a lot of fun deer hunting down at Kickapoo. Thanks Sparky for all the good memories.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
When I was about twelve years of age, my Uncle David and three of his friends, David, Luther and Sam bought a ranch in Palo Pinto county, TX. The ranch was over 800 acres in size with a creek and about three quarters of a mile of Brazos river frontage. For several years I was able to tag along on trips to the ranch and was allowed to go on dove and quail hunting trips. I was their retriever. When they shot a bird down I went and picked it up and returned it to the hunter. I had seen a few deer at a great distance and they were usually on the run. The ranch had been over hunted for years by the prior owners. I will never forget the day I saw my first whitetail deer up close and personal. Uncle David's good friend, Adolph or "Toots" as he was called by his friends was driving his old red Willys Jeep. Uncle David was riding shotgun. I was in the back tending two shotguns and a deer rifle all safely zipped up in their protective cases. We were driving slowly down one of the many ranch roads doing more looking than deer hunting. The jeep did not have a top on it and it was a pleasant fall day. It was quail season and deer season as well. Luther was in the next pasture on foot with his shotgun trying to locate a covey of quail which I suppose he had lost earlier in the season and aimed to find again. We were going his general direction through the brush when the Jeep broke through the cover into a small clearing about forty yards across. The Jeep came to a sudden halt and my companions let me know just as quickly that I should fetch the deer rifle because in the middle of the clearing stood the largest buck in the county. He stared at us with his head held high crowned with a huge rack of horns that looked like grandma's rocking chair. I had one small problem though as I had no idea which case held the needed deer rifle and which cases held the useless shotguns loaded with bird shot. It didn't really matter, the buck whirled and ran off into the brush in an instant. Even if we had a loaded deer rifle at the ready when we first saw the buck, I would not likely have bet against him. He was old and grey faced and had no doubt escaped many predators more skillful than we were. I think it was meant to be for that day, that instant when I locked eyes with that trophy buck, I was destined to become a deer hunter. I did not know that it would be many years later, many miles away that I would bag my first buck. At 21 years of age, I killed my first buck, an eight point trophy in the piney woods of East Texas. The burning desire that had kindled for so many years, was finally rewarded. I deer hunted for many years and I thank the Lord for the deer, and the desire.
which is another one of my favorite places. It was on the northwest corner of my Uncle David's 800 acre ranch. That is my 1983 Jeep in the foreground, that is Ward Mountain in the background site of a fight with early settlers and Comanche Indians long ago. The photo was taken in 1983, I know because my Jeep was stock in this photo. It did not stay that way long. The bend in the river is called Village Bend and 200 years ago you would have seen Indians camped out there beside the Brazos river. This was Comanche country and a lot of battles were fought in this area when the white man moved out west. If you know where and how to look you can find flint arrowheads in the area. You can't see it in the photo but just behind the jeep is a limestone cliff that drops straight down about 70 feet to the river below. I spent many an hour sitting on the edge of that cliff with my legs dangling over the side during the summer and early fall with a .22 rifle shooting snakes, turtles and huge Alligator Gar some in excess of six feet in length and well over 150 pounds. Those big gar would come up for air and if you shot them in the right spot, they would head straight to the bottom of the river and you would see a cloudy mud trail rise up as the monster gar tried to make its escape. One year I was riding across the ranch near the river and ran into a game warden driving up out of a creek bottom. I was turkey hunting and it startled me as I knew there was not supposed to be anyone else on the ranch that weekend. I got out of my Jeep and introduced myself to the warden. He had three guys in the back of his truck . He told me they were under arrest for telephoning down on the river. If you don't know, that is when you take an old crank phone and connect wires to the generator and drop them in the water to shock fish and bring them to the surface when you turn the crank. He was going to pick up his fellow game warden that had been hiding in the cedars up by the cliff. His buddy secretly watched as the three lawbreakers drifted by in a boat. He radioed down to the warden I spoke with who was hiding on the bank downriver in a narrow spot. When the lawbreakers drifted by, he jumped out and politely asked the offenders at shotgun point to come ashore. They were going to see the judge. I bet that fishing trip was going to cost those guys a pretty penny. I could not resist waving and smiling at the lawbreakers and the warden as they drove away. The warden smiled and waved back, the other three just glared. I don't think they were having a good day.
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- I am 57 years of age, married with two children, a son age 27 and a daughter age 24. I was forced to retire in 2001 due to health problems. I was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy a short time later. I worked for fifteen years in the Insurance Claims business. I then worked for about five years for the State Of Texas Department of Human Services. Being disabled and not working is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. My respiratory system is weak and I have to sleep and breath with the aid of a Bipap machine and an oxygen concentrator. This has all but stopped me from making overnight trips away from home due to the equipment being bulky and not easy to move and set up. I have for the most part had to give up the things I loved to do the most which were hunting and fishing. I also can't drive my 1983 Jeep CJ-5 any longer because it has a standard transmission. It is now in my son's hands. I hope he takes good care of it. Being disabled sucks. I am taking it one day at a time. My children are a blessing though they can be trying at times. We have an american eskimo dog named Foxy we got from a rescue organization and a stray cat my daughter named White Kitty.