9. Kids and Guests

When there were kids at the lease, everybody knew it and acted accordingly. Any over-colorful words, expressions and such, that men will use in jest at a hunting camp and think nothing of, would not be overlooked by a youngster. We all knew the kids would learn all sorts of things of questionable value elsewhere and in due time. We just didn't want to be the ones to teach them. We didn't try to be saints, but we did try to not over do any thing. And every kid had a camp full of Dutch Uncles. It was a place to teach the kids how to hunt safely and ethically. Things like shooting a sitting bird or "skillet hunting" were discouraged, explaining that, some things although legal by law, were less than sporting. When hunting you're not in competition with other hunters as much as you're in competition with yourself. And any game taken is not as important as knowing, inside, you did it right. We wanted them learn to have fun and still be responsible for themselves and responsible to their fellow hunters.

A. They kept coming by and I kept shooting
Doc was a guest at Mickey's and early in the day he took a doe near the Indian's barn. She dropped at the shot. No one told Doc that was a little unusual and that most deer will run at least a few yards. He was really happy to get a deer and didn't want to miss the evening hunt. Everybody knew we usually took a doe for Mr. Woodley, the rancher with grazing rights on the lease, so we figured Doc could hunt that evening and try for Woodley's doe. Doug and Bill put him in a box looking over the pasture below the new tank and then they both took off making circles in opposite directions to try to drive a deer by Doc's box. With about half an hour of shooting light left there was a shot from Doc's area and Doug and Bill both started to the box from opposite directions. Before either reached the box a second shot rang out. When they got to Doc, he was really frustrated. He'd seen nothing for a couple of hours and then two bucks came across the pasture at about 50 yards and stopped. He took his best shot and then both hightailed it. He didn't see how he could've missed. But, to make it worse, both bucks had someway looped around the pasture without being seen and damned if they didn't come right back to the same spot and stop again. Doc took extra careful aim, remembered to squeeeeeze the trigger and the SOB's took off again. Apparently the gun had gone sour. Doug walked out in the pasture and told Doc to point out where the bucks had been standing. Doc knew exactly, having had that view reinforced through repetition. Doug found the place where a deer had "dug in" and found cut hair. He started Bill in the track. Light was falling but Doug then found where the second deer "dug in" and before he started on that track he asked Doc to walk back and get the truck since it was beginning to blow and look like rain. He did caution Doc to just drive to the edge of the timber and not to look for where he and Bill might have the deer since it would be dark when he got back with the truck. The Norther hit with blowing rain just before Bill finished the first deer. Bill just got to Doug when they saw the lights of the truck heading off thorough the woods, and bearing away from the pasture. Doug took out after the truck hoping to catch it before it got too far. Bill stayed in the rain and finished the second buck. Doc was sure proud of his harvest. The best day he'd ever had deer hunting.

B. Guts and outhouses take some getting used to
Bruce, Bill's grandson was always enthusiastic. The two of them were invited by a friend to hunt a at the Flying Turkey ranch at Coleman. It was a good four hour drive and Bill got to visit with his grandson on the way. Bruce was about nine at the time and was always up for a new adventure. He was used to being out of the city because he fished a lot with both his Mom and Dad. But when we'd wound our way back down the dusty roads south of Goulbusk, he looked a little surprised at the house we were to stay in. It had started as a normal brick ranch house, but when place was deserted and the ranch was sold, every thing went down hill. It sure didn't look like houses Bruce saw at home. The window screens were torn and the shades stained. The yard rough and rutted, there was no grass within 20 feet of the front door, here and there were empty barrels and rusty vehicle parts. The inside was different, too. Sort of musty and dusty, with snags and tears in the shag carpet. There were boots and hunting gear piled in the corners of almost all of the rooms. His Mom sure wouldn't let these thing go on at home. Steve, who had invited them to hunt was the only lease member there. Before daylight the next morning Steve drove Bruce and Bill out to a box stand. Bruce had been promised an opportunity to shoot if the shot was near enough. The box was less than 4' x 4' and there was just one chair so Bruce sat on Bills knee and they watched. After about an hour, along time for a boy to be still, Bruce discovered leaned forward and asked if he could get a better look outside. "If you move slowly." He did and when almost his whole head was out the window, he loudly announced "I don't see any deer, yet." Imagine that! Quiet for a few minutes. The boy the finds that by carefully working his elbow up and down he could get his arm out of his jacket sleeve. After much squirming he had both arms inside his coat. Bill asked how he would shoot if a deer came along, so another 15 minutes was spent getting back into his jacket. Everything was still for a few minutes. Bruce then noticed a magazine stuck in the joint between the frame and the plywood at the back of the box and moved around so he could get it out. It was a Playboy someone had left and Bill had him put it back, because "There's no time for reading if you're hunting". Bruce wanted to know why it was there if you couldn't read out there. His granddad then had to explain the need for toilet paper in an emergency. Stillness for a bit and then Steve comes to pick them up. He has a doe on the back of the truck that's no field dressed. Seeing a real deer's exciting for Bruce. Steve tells about the shot and grinning, asks if Bruce would like to help clean the deer. "You bet." At the house and Steve and Bill put away the rifles and come back to get the doe. Bruce is already there with a water hose running. Steve says we won't need water yet. "How can you get her clean with out water?" Bruce asks. Steve explains "cleaning" means to open her up and take everything inside the out. Bruce frowns, "You mean GUTS?? UGHH." Bruce does watch but touching anything is out of the question. Boys have sensibilities, too. Bruce saw his first outhouse when he came to the Price Ranch. He asked where was the bathroom and was told "It's the little green building over there." He quickly came back in saying "It smells bad in there". One of the men asked if he knew why it smelled bad he said "Sure. Somebody's gone to the bathroom in there!" He got the concept of outhouses when then asked "Just what did you plan to do in there?". There can be a lot for a boy to learn trying something new.

C. Oh, those people on the floor? They're refugees from Llano
One of the Hill Country Legends was located just outside of Llano. During the CB radio era you'd hear the deer hunters and truckers hinting, broadly, that there you'd find the stuff that dreams were made of. It was the queen of honky tonks. The Ramblin' Rose. The The owners must have felt about the the first weekend of deer season the same may that the department stores do about the week after thanksgiving. It was the beginning of the year's money maker. All those people, all looking for a bargain, no matter how much it cost. Out of all the hunters on the lease over the years, some will grin or nod when the name is mentioned, but, only one has come out and admitted to going to the Rose. This guy and a friend came down to hunt, but not just for deer. They splashed on cologne like a Frenchman and took off for the clubs in Llano about dark. The rest of the hunters had dinner and bad TV until about 10:00 and quit for the night. The next morning There were several disreputable looking bodies on the floor of the front room. Doug and Ralph will have to finish this story ... Being only witnesses and innocent bystanders, of course.

D. Call me a cab
Several of us drove down together and as we approached the county road noticed a strange pickup setting in our front pasture a few hundred yards from the front cattle guard. We asked EB about it and got the whole story.

E.
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You'll see headings with no story. They haven't been written yet. I'm waiting to talk to the guys that were there.

If you remember any details better than are written, email the edited text to me. If your recollection may not be accurate, join the club. (-CRS-)

Accuracy should be just a bit less important than a good tale.

Bill

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