Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Since I Was A Child, I Always Wanted To Go Deer Hunting ...

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.

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