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Sunday, June 15. 2014
During the summer of 1971, after I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, it was time to get ready for the opening of dove Season on September 1. At the time, way out north on Scottsdale Road, there was a trap shooting facility, The Shot Yard, and I carted my shooting age family out to hone our skills for the upcoming bird season.
The proprietor of The Shot Yard happened to be from Houston, and when he was in Houston had been a salesman for another large computer company. We had shared several accounts competitively and I had scored some significant wins against him. He changed professions.
We were a motley crew lining up to shoot with the “pros”, but as we prepared for the upcoming season, it soon became clear to me, my, 12 year old, son, Brad, and my former wife that we had stumbled upon a family sport. We were smoking the clay birds with regularity and the misses, became few and far between.
Our first dove season in Arizona was a resounding success, helped along by our trap shooting practice. Randy, age 8 and Suzanne, age 4, served as “fetchers”, but Suzanne could never learn to pull off the downed dove’s head.
Soon after dove season ended, quail season started, and my love affair with Quail hunting reached passionate heights. The first Gambel quail that I shot is mounted and displayed on the gun cabinet on our old ranch house. It has held up remarkedly well with 2, cross country, and 5 in state moves.
I well remember the shot on the first quail, a long one, in the Salt River bottom, west of Phoenix. One feather came fluttering down, the bird kept flying, and plop, fell to the ground with one shot pellet having entered under its right wing and pierced its heart.
Too soon, quail season ended but in early 1972, The Shot Yard’s proprietor, talked us into entering a competitive trap shoot he was holding. For the family’s first go at trap shooting, we did well and quickly became “hooked”.
My first win at a trap tournament was in May of 1972 in Show Low, Arizona where, to determine the winner, I was involved in a four person, “shoot-off”. Feeling nerves, but taking my station on the line, and turning up my concentration, I was able to hit five straight clay pigeons while my opponents fell out, one by one. One added bonus, my mother, Ruth Bryan, was visiting my family in Arizona and she was able to watch this shoot and watch my win in the “shoot-off”.
Being the last man standing meant victory and as a trophy a very nice Nambe Ware salad bowl set, a winner’s check for $200.00 and over $200.00 more for winning the Calcuttta. Since none of the experienced shooters knew me I “bought” myself for $2.00. As the years went by it became extremely difficult for me to purchase myself in the Calcuttas. If another shooter or spectator bought me he would win eighty percent of the pot and me, the shooter, would only get twenty.
By the fall on 1973, Brad and my ex were state champions in their respective classes and I had moved to the number 2 spot in the statewide rankings of handicap shooters. In handicap shooting, the shooters are classed by yardage from 18 to 27 yards, depending on individual skill and past wins. Small purses were paid for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes, but the “big money” was won in the Calcuttas!
What started as a “tune-up” for dove season, had now become an avocation for my family, but again, my day job interfered with it.
Sometimes a good day job can really interfere with your avocation
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 16:36 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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)
Wednesday, May 9. 2007
Darrell and Dwayne (pronounced â€œDeeWayneâ€), were twin brothers, aka Rednecks, that lived several miles outside of Cartersville, Georgia, on the way towards Kennesaw Mountain. My hunting partner, Chad Harmon, and I met Darrell one cool, fall morning to go quail hunting at a new hot spot that Darrell and his brother had just come across.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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