Missing those deep baying hounds dogs

Published 8:29 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I was breaking up a deer field for my grandsons the other day, and as I was bumping along, on my John Deere pulling that ol piece of a disk I’ve got, I commenced to thinking that I’ve never plugged a buck with a rifle while he was eating his breakfast or supper out in an open field. A single barrel and later a double barrel shotgun was my armament in the woods.

As I bring a few of those memories to you this week, I’ll try not to repeat some of the stories I related in the little ol’ book I published last year with a chapter in it entitled “Hunting, Fishing, and Bull Frog Gigging.”

Deer Driving was one of those gathering opportunities for men … and boys … and sometimes women folk, too. What some deep throated baying was put up in the air by Black and Tans, Blue Ticks and Red Bones in the forests of Linden Hunting Club, Post Oak, Myrtlewood, Crooked Branch, Braswell Grant’s and all in between. My two boys were raised over at Spidle Lake Hunting Club in Belmont, and although I usually volunteered to be one of the drivers, we very seldom had the good luck to have a bunch of hunting dogs to help out. Missed that.

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The older boy, Tadd, downed his first deer sitting on a deer stand with his daddy.

I had just finished rubbing his feet that were about to drop off in the cold, when that buck came tipping down the hill. His 20 gauge did the job. Sometimes later, Tadd, his younger brother, Ben, and I had gone up there by boat, and we had some times. Tadd and I shot out ofshells … with no deer, and as we headed toward the boat at the end ofthe day, here came two big ol’ bucks, right toward Ben, who was the only one of us with any ammo.

His BB gun would just not do the trick, but using the same 20 gauge his brother had used,

Benjamin finally got his first one over there one Saturday as we slipped through the hardwood forest of Spidle Lake Club.

Talking ‘bout cold feet. Daddy, Brother Billy, and I were hunting down on Blue Lick on the Bogue one freezing morning. Daddy and Billy, who were both much better hunters than I ever was, stationed me right there on the creek, and they went on off to see what they could rustle up. Well, Sir, my feet were, without a doubt, getting ready to drop off, and I couldn’t rub ‘em enough to prevent it. Now, keep in mind. It used to get a heap colder around here than it does now. That was an absolute fact. Anyhow, I finally devised a plan. I knew if I shot, those two hunters would come galloping back to see what it was. I carefully took the expensive buck shot out of that single barrel, and replaced it with a much cheaper low powered birdshot. (I was always one to conserve a dollar when I could, cold feet and all.) Sho nuff, after I fired that shell, here they came. I went into great detail about that big buck down the hill across the Bogue, which ran off, even though I hit him real good. Although I think both of them suspected, I never’fessed up to Daddy until many years later. l was right. He already knew. You know what sticks in my mind about those hunts in those 50s? Smelling Daddy’s burnt toast just before he got Billy and me out of a warm bed to head for the woods. “Eat that toast, Boys. Carbon is good for you.” I can hear Daddy’s deep voice, with a hint of a chuckle, telling us that right now as I write these words. Now, Ma was about the best cook of all time, but she was content to stay snuggled in the bed on hunting mornings, and let us muddle through with burnt toast for breakfast, but looking forward to the big sack lunch she had packed for us the night before.

One could do worse than traipse through towering trees and underbrush with family members and friends whether you ended up with meat on the table or not.