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Sunday, July 22. 2007
Quail season in Georgia opened the Saturday before the opening of Deer season and James Walton, a hunting buddy, Mitch Greenberg, a church friend and also a hunting buddy, and I had arranged a Quail hunt south of Jonesboro.Â Supposedly this was a good place.
We arrived at the hunting area and unloaded the dogs, Rooster, my Brittany Spaniel, andÂ Â Crystal, Jamesâ€™ German Shorthair and began hunting around the edge of a large, cut, soy bean field.Â Not a hundred yards into our hunt Crystal freezes and Rooster â€œbacksâ€ her point.Â Â We spread out and walk in on the points and â€œwhirrrrâ€, a big covey of twelve or fifteen birds comes rocketing out ofÂ the brush along the edge of the field.Â Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, we unload on the birds and several fall.Â Both dogs begin to â€œhunt deadâ€ and we collect four fat quail.Â Looks like this will be a good day.
We continue around the field and within three hundred yards, both dogs come down on point and we collect two more quail.Â Definitely looking good as we cut through some woods and brush on our way to another bean field and see Rooster on point ahead in some honeysuckle.
â€œPoint up here,â€ I shout, as James comes up on my right and Mitch on my left.Â Crystal, seeing Roosterâ€™s point, freezes next to Jamesâ€™ right leg.Â I am right behind Rooster, step past him into the honeysuckle awaiting the customary â€œwhirrrrâ€, and, of all things, up jumps a buck Deer!
All at once, literally all â€œhellâ€ breaks loose.Â Crystal rushes between James and the Deer; the Deer lunges at me and I unload three, number eight, shots at three feet distance, straight at the Deerâ€™s head, obviously missing; Rooster charges the Deer; the Deer hooks Crystal and throws her to the side; James yells â€œCrystal,â€ and as he moves to his right to reach for dog, the Deer hooks James and rips his left pants leg with his horns; turns toward Mitch and tries to hook him; Iâ€™ve found the two double ought bucks I always carry and finally fumble them into my twenty gauge pump as the Deer lunges at Mitch, and Mitch, all five foot seven inches, calmly â€œhigh portsâ€ his Browning Superposed, right into the Deerâ€™s horns; the Deer shakes Mitch like a rag doll; James drags Crystal away; I notice Rooster is now posted strategically behind me as I finally get my shotgun loaded and up; the Deer continues shaking Mitch; and Bam, Bam, I put two double oughts into the Deerâ€™s head and he drops in his tracks.
Whew!Â This battle lasted for not quite thirty seconds.Â The longest thirty seconds imaginable.Â As we load up Crystal and hurry to the nearest Vetâ€™s office, we take stock of our situation, no hunters hurt, one dog down and seriously injured, Mitch â€œall shook upâ€, one dead Deer, and Deer season is one week off.Â In fifteen minutes we pull up to a Vetâ€™s office in Jonesboro and ten minutes later we find out Crystal is dead.Â James is crushed!
Returning to the scene of the battle and looking closely at the Deer, we see it is a nice, seven point buck, probably a fifteen inch inside spread, that had been shot in the left hindquarter, at least three days before.Â The wound was festering and gangrene, or the Deer equivalent, had set in and the Deer must have been in great pain.Â Checking out the area, we find a large quantity of corn spread around the honeysuckle patch.Â At least two game laws had been broken.Â Shooting Deer in Georgia over bait was illegal and the Deer had been shot at least ten days before Deer season opened.
We told the local Game Warden but donâ€™t know if any action was taken or if the perpetrator was apprehended.Â Three weeks later we returned for another hunt at this spot and discovered that someone had come in and cut the Deerâ€™s horns off.
Some may not know what â€œhigh Portingâ€ is.Â It is a term applied to hand to hand combat training with a rifle, expensive shotgun in this case, where the weapons weight is evenly balanced in both hands at shoulder height and using it to block and parry opponents thrusts with a bayonet or butt stock.Â Mitch, a Viet Nam veteran, former Air Force Officer and Navigator in a B-52, had used the technique perfectly!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, July 20. 2007
In late 1974 I received a nice promotion to Atlanta, Georgia, moved from The Valley Of The Sun, and my friends said that I left claw marks on the floor of my office as they drug me out.Â The first year in Atlanta was spent getting acclimated to a new job, new friends, new hunting and fishing opportunities and new schools for the kids.Â By the fall of 1976, I had met and hunted with several Quail hunters in Atlanta, but had hit it off especially well with one, James Walton.Â James was a neighbor and not in the computer business, but Vice-President of an old, established construction company. Â
James had two German Shorthair Pointers, the older, Crystal, the mother of his younger dog was an excellent hunter.Â The younger, like all young dogs was wild and rambunctious, but our dogs had helped to cement our friendship.Â Crystal hunted in close and Rooster, my Brittany Spaniel, would range out one hundred yards or more.Â Both honored the otherâ€™s points, hunted â€œdeadâ€ until the bird was found or the â€œlook-forâ€ called off and were inexhaustible.
James and I had joined a hunting club, that had leased many acres of supposedly good Quail hunting land.Â Our results were only fair, however, we did get to see a lot of the state.Â This particular hunt, we had reserved for Friday and Saturday, a several hundred acre track of harvested soy bean fields with some nice wooded cover.Â Brad was a sophomore in high school and his JV football season had ended, so I got him out of school on this particular Friday and we headed to South Georgia for some quailing.
We arrived near Thomasville around noon, found our hunting area and made camp. We were staying â€œoutâ€ Friday night, which should be fun since the weather featured warm days and cool nights.Â We didnâ€™t even think about the warm afternoons bringing out the Rattle Snakes.
Rooster, Brad and I took off to one side of the large bean field and James and Crystal went the other way.Â Shortly I hear, Pop, Pop, James finds a small covey and it looks like heâ€™s got one down.Â Brad and I proceed along the edge of the field not finding any birds.Â We get to the corner of the field and Rooster locks down hard on a point.Â Quickly approaching, whirrrrr,Â the covey breaks wild before we can get a shot.Â We mark the spot where the covey flew into the woods and all three of us, Rooster, Brad and I, hurry after the birds.Â We pass through where the covey was flushed and, whirr, a late riser, Bam, and he falls to my twenty gauge, pump shotgun. Â
As Rooster and Brad continue chasing the covey, I see my bird on the ground and run over to pick him up. Retrieving the bird, I head back toward Brad, who is in the thick brush and not seeing him, I head in his general direction.
â€œBark, growl, growl, bark,â€ from Rooster.Â â€œDad, Dad, up here quick,â€ from Brad!Â Running to the sound of his voice and coming out of the woods, I see Brad a-straddle of a barbwire fence.Â â€œBark, bark,â€ from Rooster and he add a serious snarl, jumping around a fence post next to where Brad is hanging onto the fence and looking down under himÂ â€œDad, thereâ€™s a big Rattler right under me,â€ Brad shouts!Â I hurry faster and see he had laid his gun down on the ground prior to climbing the fence and the Rattlers â€œtreedâ€ him.Â Heâ€™s right, itâ€™s a big one, coiled and rattling, and at that moment, more interested in the dog.Â Rooster knows about snakes having hunted with me for three years in Arizona. Bam, one shot and the snakes done for.
Rooster is still barking and Brad is getting down from the fence.Â We stretch the Snake out and he is a good five feet long and bigger around than my forearm.Â My aim was true and the shot shredded the snakes head, leaving the skin undamaged.Â Brad says, â€œThat snake couldâ€™ve bit me or Rooster.Â Letâ€™s eat him Dad.â€Â We both thought of an old Indian saying, â€œEat your enemies and gain some strength from them.â€Â Why not?
We cut off the rattles and saved them, whew, it smells like uria, and the fertilizer plants in Pasadena, Texas.Â We skin him and roll up the skin for now and it really stinks! We gut him and except for the smell we have a hunk of pretty, white meat.Â I take a canteen and wash off the snakeâ€™s body, eliminating some of the smell.Â I later learned that snakes donâ€™t have kidneys and liquid waste is secreted out of their body through the skin. Â
Most times when hunters have a close encounter with a serious predator or big Rattle Snake, the hunt is over for the day, as was our case, however, we went back to camp and set to preparing our supper, fried Rattle Snake.Â Small problem, no corn meal, but we had flour in our camper, which should work just fine as long as long as the grease doesnâ€™t get too hot.Â We cut up the snake into one and one-half inch pieces and rolled it into the flour and wrapped the five plus pounds of meat up in foil and popped it into the cooler and waited for Walton to get back.Â We saved the quail for back home, feeling confident we would get some more the next day.
We had heard James shoot several times and he and Crystal returned with three quail.Â He said, â€œYou all came in early.Â Whatâ€™s up?â€Â We told him our exciting story and told him we were having Rattle Snake for supper.Â He blanched!Â Not hesitating, we showed him the large quantity of white meat and began to fry the Snake and fries.
After supper, James said, â€œThat Rattle Snake wasnâ€™t bad.â€Â He was right.Â All white meat, sweet and tender, not bad at all.
We not only ate the snake, but the rattles now grace a special display in my great room, and, we made one hat band and one belt from the skin.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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