I just wrapped up a few skulls from last year's huntin' season. One is a good friend's father's goat from their Wyoming vacation with Bear Track Outfitters. The other is my aunt's husband's grandson's buck. The goat turned out good, but I screwed up on the whitetail and left it in the pot too long. It got purty dry and I lost the nosepiece, which I hadn't done since my very first one, a few dozen skulls ago. I ain't real pleased with myself on that one, but thankfully, the whole damn thing didn't fall apart, so it still mounted up half decent.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
I was beginnin' to wonder if I'd wiped out the population under the shed last year, since I hadn't seen one at the house at all yet this year. It's a double-edged sword, really... while I dislike the fact that the destructive little bastards call the ol' shed home, it's nice havin' a replenishin' target supply to whack away at over the summer to keep my trigger finger sharp.
I figured they'd get there soon enough, and I wasn't disappointed. This little booger showed up yesterday afternoon, and I quickly got the .17 on the board for the year.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
The old two-story farmhouse was typical for the hills. A clear, spring-fed creek ran only a few yards from the front door, past the barn and other outbuildings. The house sat in a rare Ozark meadow, surrounded on three sides by steep evergreen- and hardwood-covered hills. The highest of the hills was simply referred to as "the mountain" because it was one of the highest points in the state.
The call was my life and I practiced religiously. Teachers took the call away from me more than once for using it at school. Grandma said I sounded like "a cat caught in a fence" and Pop kept telling me to keep practicing. The winter of 1961-62 was the longest of my life, but it eventually ended.
Normally I'd have devoured the breakfast in front of me in a matter of minutes, but not that morning. I picked at the meal and never took my eyes off Grandpa.
With the reddening of the eastern horizon came the sounds of life in the timber. At first I heard only songbirds, and I began to relax a little.
Then came the eight-note call of a barred owl. I caught my breath when the turkey gobbled from down the ridge. I picked up the slate call but couldn't use it. I was afraid, afraid I'd goof up and scare the turkey and ruin my dream. Again and again I tried to rub the cedar against the slate but each time I pulled back. Finally I shut my eyes, swallowed the huge lump in my throat and shakingly rubbed the peg against the call. I winced at the gosh-awful noise it produced.
It wasn't long after Grandpa passed away that the entire family was gathered at grandmas. As usual, the talk turned to hunting and someone brought up the subject of my first turkey. My eyes began to moisten and I walked over and leaned against the fence to look out towards the mountain that held so many fond memories of Pop.