11. Tricks, pranks and surprises

A. Shooting the outhouse
Early one dove season, the guy in the green fiberglass one-holer had caused at least one of the others to decide to give the guy pause to consider his sins. That day a half a dozen or so people were shooting clays 50 yards south of the outhouse. The shots could be clearly heard inside, but not loud since the firing was aimed in the opposite direction. The sinner sat down, meditating and cogitating on serious matters. In a short, but adequate time, there was a startling boom that absolutely shook the outhouse and the clatter of hundreds of pellets hitting the thin fiberglass wall less than a foot to his right, at body level. Under those circumstances one cannot but jump. Fortunately not necessarily to their feet. The magnitude of the event was quickly diminished by the laughter and hoots from outside.

This story may have happened several times. Ralph remembers doing the throwing, at Phil. Bill remembered being the throwee with Phil the presumed thrower. No body remembers it happening more than once. It may have been strictly between Ralph and Bill with Phil being the intended target of one and the person to get the undeserved blame from the other!

Well, the sinner was now the sinned against and was sure he knew the instigator. He took a bit of folded toilet paper and, since it always rains just before opening day, he was able to scrape a few good sized lumps of still damp, dark mud from his boots. After a measured pause, he adjusted his clothes, held the mud and paper in his right hand, palm up, and opened the door. Now the whole group watching as he made exit from the can. His looked the crowd over and Phil was backing away. Maybe this retreat was what really caused the feeling that Phil "was responsible", an unusual choice of words to use in connection with Phil. A couple of steps and the contents of the paper was smeared onto Phil's chest. Phil's eyes got big. More Hoots. And hoots again as Phil and the others realized it was mud. All in all, no harm, no foul.

B. Aging deer pellets
Everyone sees deer droppings in the woods and every hunter would like to know when the deer left them there. Obviously, when they are really shrunken and dried out they are old, but you do, from time, to come the important ones, the ones that are fresh enough to cause you to think that the deer was recently there. One of the newer guys on the lease asked how to best age the scat to help determine deer movement. (No pun intended.) Who can ask for a better setup for a joke than this? The answer has to give the most desirable answer ... but at a price. Thus "If they are less that 4 hours old they still have a sweet taste! Just how bad do you want to know?"

D. That rock was not there last time
*

E. Don't be turnin' over those rocks!
Among the original ten members on The Price Ranch was big, good natured, Dan. He'd hunted, shot black powder and camped for most of his life and his dad had fostered in him a self reliance and genuine liking for things that came natural. Some folks don't smoke or drink. Dan didn't smoke. He enjoyed good friends, good stories, big jokes. Loud football games on TV were natural and nothing was more natural than to yell at the top of his lungs at the games on TV. But he did not think outhouses were natural. "A big prairie dookie" was a natural way to commune with nature. It got to be sort of tricky for anybody to walk near a cactus over fifty and less than a hundred yards of the cabin. The less natural guys were able to talk him into a compromise. It was the system that had been used on Mickey's before they started bringing water in for the toilet and when they were away in the woods. They used a flat rock to cover the evidence. That worked pretty well. Except that after the agreement with Dan they needed drive a lot farther for rocks to top up the target barrels.

F. Better communication is not always the answer ... If we'd only known then who we are now.
When we first hunted on the price Ranch EB was there almost every day. He'd tell us abut the deer patterns and the turkey and would sit and visit and share a beer or two. Neither Bill and EB smoked except when Bill was at the lease. On a couple of occasions when Bill arrived without smokes EB drove him to town for necessities, both by the pack and six-pack. He drove us rabbit hunting some nights and we'd tear across the prairies. Later he got a new son-in-law and the two of them came to the cabin one evening the same weekend Bill got his first, great big, cel phone. EB's wife and daughter were cooking dinner at the house and EB and Dick's visit at the cabin went on for quite a while. There were good stories so good that everybody was especially thirsty. Time slipped by and and the guests finally remembered dinner and that they might be late. Bill suggested that memorable phrase,"EB call home". It was probably funnier at the cabin than at the house. Now, as to facts, the hunters never heard what was said but we do remember that being EB's last beer with the deer hunters.

G. The easiest way to clean a deer?
Field dressing a deer is not standard protocol on some leases. One place takes the whole animal to the barn and hangs it over a tub and everything drops into the tub for disposal in the back forty. The carcass is rinsed with a with a high pressure hose if necessary. Out in Coleman, several of the hunters say to carefully skin the critter out, take the shoulders and backstraps with a knife and the back legs off with a saw. The innards are left inside along with the tenderloins. They do this with the deer laying on the ground using the skin as a ground cloth. Sounds like a lot of work to me for any place where there are trees. Most of the places use the simple method of opening the hide and sternum, cutting free the windpipe and esophagus at the top and the various attachments of sex and elimination at the rear and after separating the diaphragm and connections to the ribs, rolling out the viscera and stomachs all together. There are several details and differences in this technique, but they are minor and just personal preference. But on most of the leases this group hunts, a new hunter can wait until a few of the guys can go back with him to bring in the deer and get help with the field dressing. The new man, if coached in advance, can be certain of getting, not only the best instructions but, a damn complete demonstration. He has only to have the presence of two components.
     The first One: the ability to look and act totally lost at the the prospect of cutting the deer's belly, (being able look like he's about to cut himself is a plus). And if the second component is present, it's a foolproof situation. The novice gets absolutely flawless incisions. No punctures to the bladder, stomach or intestines. The liver and heart set aside in the event he wants them for the pot. All this topped of with an inspection of the stomach contents and the feeding details of the past day.

Component Two? Doug has to be one the hunters come to help retrieve the deer. It starts with a concerned but exasperated, "Just hand me the knife.

Yep, it's the easiest way to clean a deer.

H. Them's just nether parts
A few of the guys went to the grocery in Lampasas and while going down on of the aisles met a young girl that was dressed and built along the lines of Daisy Duke in the "Dukes of Hazard". Everybody noticed but, other than a few surreptitious looks, nothing was said. In the store. But when they got out side, first subject was The Girl.
Then Mike says, "Yeah, but did ya'll notice she had chigger or mosquito bites all over her ankles".
The response was, "No Kidding? Did she have ankles??"

I. Instructions.
Dove tags - toilet paper - Hunting license

J. Old wives tale ... with a stinger..
One of the guys on The Llano lease had been told, and apparently very convincingly, that wasps and yellow jackets could smell fear and would sting as a reaction to it. No fear, no sting. The story got even better because supposedly if you were whistling, they were even more pacified. Better still, like working with smoked bees, if you moved slowly, you could take down the nest and move it to a different location and the insects would follow docilely. He gamely gave it a try. He did get psyched up and confident and calm and stepped into a box stand and whistled his way to reaching up for a big nest in the corner. Everything stopped going well immediately. Except, possibly that the stand was on the ground and he didn't fall several feet when he came screaming and swatting out the door. Pain apparently makes it hard to whistle.

K. He didn't say "Drop your guns!"
Bill pulled into the Rangler convenience store at Hico and was supprised to see Ralph and Doug dissappearing into the front door. He thought they'd have left for the lease several hours before he had. Well, Bill knew thst before buying the cofee or the candy bars both of those guys would hit the john. Sure enough, as he went in the door he saw them make the turn into the men's room. When he entered about 30 seconds later they were the only two in sight and had their backs toward the door.

In a voice as deep and rough as he could muster Bill loudly said "Put you hand up and turn around ... real slow!" They startled a bit, looked over their shoulders and just rolled their eyes. The guy in the stall didn't get the joke. He threw the door open and came scrambling out, pulling up his pants. He didn't stop to wash his hands before leaving.

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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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