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Reader Reply: September 2021

Share a favorite hunting story!
 

AROMATIC CATCH
When my younger brother showed an early interest in hunting, my dad gave him a Daisy BB gun when he turned 6 years old. (It was, after all, a much more relaxed country lifestyle back in the early 1960s.)

It was mid-summer when our city cousins visited one Sunday afternoon. Gun in hand, my grade school brother and cousin ventured into the wooded area of a nearby pasture, looking for squirrels or rabbits. Several hours later, not waiting for the boys’ return, the rest of us gathered for the evening meal. Eventually, we heard the boys’ approaching laughter, announcing they had captured some baby skunks.

“You did not!” the adults chorused in disbelief.

“Yes, we did!” the boys replied, elevating clenched hands which held the tails of the young black-and-white skunks, the proof of their quest. The evening breeze immediately brought a strong scent through the living room screen window, further verifying their story.

I don’t remember what happened to the skunks, but my aunt quickly bagged and burned the fragrant clothing and then put the boys in a bathtub with tomato juice.

Now, some might call that Sunday afternoon an unsuccessful hunt. Others, however, might phrase it differently: The boys just plain “got skunked!”

Joyce Wagner
McLean Electric Cooperative

 

EAT WHAT YOU BRING HOME
Back in the 1960s, it was expensive to buy a purebred hunting dog. My dad bought a lab named Sam against the wishes of my mom and grandmother. This was a special dog, trained by my dad and my grandmother, and was the only dog I knew who was trained in English and German.

My grandmother’s rule was you ate what you brought home. My dad, both brothers, my uncle and my cousin went out one weekend looking for ducks, geese and pheasant. Birds were hard to come by and they managed a few ducks, but a large jackrabbit was also shot. My dad was the one who shot the rabbit, so he started to carry the rabbit back to the car.

The car was a long distance away, since they parked in an approach and walked in the field. The rabbit was large and heavy, and Dad gave up. He didn’t think it was worth the effort. My oldest brother picked it up, carried it for a while and, in turn, each member of the hunting party carried the rabbit. All gave up, except Sam. After all the men and boys gave up carrying the rabbit, Sam picked it up and carried it back to the car. When they brought the rabbit home, the story was told, and all had a good laugh, and they talked about having rabbit for supper.

Grandmother’s rule was you bring it home and you can eat it. Grandmother cooked the rabbit, with her special gravy, but the joke was on the guys. The rabbit was thoroughly enjoyed by Sam, since he was the one responsible for bringing the rabbit home.

Grandmother would never give a hunting dog uncooked meat, but the cooked rabbit with gravy was a real feast for Sam. The guys had leftover ham sandwiches, and the one who brought the rabbit home enjoyed it for two days.

Terry Lynn Wanzek
Northern Plains Electric Cooperative

 

FIRST TURKEY
When I was little, I always went hunting with my dad. I wanted to be like him. When he told me how old I had to be before I could hunt a turkey, I thought it was forever. Finally, when Dad told me he had gotten a turkey hunting license for me, I was so excited.

One day after I got home from school, the turkeys came through the yard. I ran into the house and got my 20-gauge shotgun. The first time I shot, I missed. But I tried again. When I shot the second time, I hit one in the head! Later, when we ate the turkey, I was surprised how big his drumstick was! We had a lot of leftovers, so we made turkey sandwiches the next day.

Sarah Schaper, age 11
McKenzie Electric Cooperative

 

PERSISTENCE PAYS
In the evening of Nov. 21, 2018, my dad and I went hunting and we found a large mule deer buck, but due to darkness, we were unable to get within range of him. The following morning, we found him, but once again, due to the wind and my coughing, we were unable to get closer to him.

On our third attempt, hoping our luck would change, we went back above the draw at first light, where we believed the buck would be. We started glassing and immediately spotted a silhouette of two deer about 200 yards away. For the next 20 minutes, we watched him, waiting until legal shooting light.

Once the time was right, we waited for the buck to pause long enough to take a good shot. The huge buck stopped broadside, I took the shot, and in my typical fashion, I missed the first shot. Unaware of where the shot came from, the deer looked around and trotted into a draw and out of sight.

Believing we had just missed our opportunity, we sat and wondered what to do next. A few minutes later, a smaller buck and doe ran out of the same draw right toward us. Another minute later, following the same path, our buck returned with his doe, giving me a second chance at him. Stopping again at about 200 yards, I dropped him in his tracks.

Jacob Hendrickson
Slope Electric Cooperative