Monday, September 17, 2007


With my family, they hunted for food first, and bragging rights later. The extent of my dads hunting equipment was a 250-3000 Savage rifle that he won as a kid in a turkey shoot. A box of bullets and a McNabb Shepherd / Fox terrier mix dog named Speed. The dog was for hunting back then. Now you are only allowed to use a dog for tracking wounded animals.

The dog loved to hunt, his very existence centered on hunting. Dad would take the dog to where he was going to hunt and tell him “Go bring me a buck, Speed”. The dog would take off, and within ten or fifteen minutes every deer in the area would be chased right past him. If my Dad didn’t shoot one, the dog got angry and disappointed, and he would sulk for a few minutes. Then dad would say “Try again” and away he would go again, until dad would shoot one. Dads hunting gun had open sights and I never saw him miss a running deer within eighty feet. He was not a person that you would want shooting at you. Believe me, his aim was much more accurate than you see in the movies. And he had a lot of practice. After he shot one, the dog would stand on the deer and not let dad near it until he approached it very cautiously. If he made any fast moves the dog would growl. After dad would get the gut open he would cut off a piece of the heart and throw for Speed to chase. After he ate the meat he would give the deer to dad to do what ever he wanted with it. Dad swore that the dog knew the difference between a doe and a buck. My uncles would, of course, claim that the dog knew no such thing and their dog was better.

People would always be trying to buy the dog from him, but he wasn’t interested in selling it. It would have been like selling a member of your family. When my dad took the dog and went hunting he always came back with a deer. He did a lot of bragging about the dog and after a few beers he would try to convince people that the dog was so good that he would chase the deer right into the back of the truck and the deer would lay down and die there. But if you ever saw dad shoot a gun you would have known that most of his hunting success was his shooting skill. A deer in his sights was a dead deer. No one has an opportunity to become that skilled today. The only person that I ever knew that was a better shot was my uncle, (Sorry Dad. This will make him roll in his grave) who spent his entire military career in being on the U.S. Army Rifle Exhibition Team.

Deer tags and seasons were for sport, but the freezer stayed full on those two tags that they were allowed back then, and season was always “open” on the family ranch. The old ranchers figured that if the deer ate on the ranch they were part of their herd, and fair game to harvest. That is as long as the game warden was not watching. Game wardens were not very well respected back then. They though of them as more Government interference in their natural way of life. Kinda’ like our modern folks think of “Big Brother”.

I ate a lot of deer meat and speckledy gravy with mash potatoes, or beans back then.

You’re right, I don’t know what the Good Old Boys would have thought of the mighty hunters from the city. Maybe it’s best that they don’t have to know about them.

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