Practice Makes Perfect

Pistol shooting practice time this past Saturday afternoon for Wesley Culbertson, my Grandson, furnished us with a very unusual hit on a clay pigeon target. The kids like to shoot them because they shatter so easy! Not this one!

Like any good Texan, Wesley’s first shot drilled it dead center, but the clay bird remained intact. His second shot clipped the top off and his third one demolished it!

Wesley has been practicing pistol shooting and pistol safety with his Dad, Paul, and the 9 year old has certainly made progress. Pistols can be tricky to shoot and hit a target with any regularity. Some secrets that Wesley has already picked up – keep your finger off of the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, have a good grip, get a good sight picture, then squeeze, don’t jerk. This holds for a .22 up to a .45 auto.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here Wesley and his Mom, Suzanne are taking shots and hitting the clay birds.

Both of them are good shots and are safe shooters, but they should straighten up their posture a little.Three generations practicing our shooting sports, not bad!



Lee Wallace’s Thoughts

Rereading my Great Uncle, Lee Wallace’s book, “Waif Of The Times”, I came across some of his ‘thoughts’ about income taxes and wealth redistribution. Lee’s writings spanned a time period of 1900 to 1930 and definitely covered 1913, the year the 16th amendment to our Constitution was passed, eventually giving us the IRS.

Lee was a staunch Democrat and elected official – County Attorney, District Judge and received an appointment by Pres. Roosevelt to become a Federal Judge, but turned it down because of his health. It turns out he had successful surgery and lived 22 more years. He should have taken up FDR on his offer!

After the Civil War ended, and for the next 100 years, Texas and the entire South was almost 100% Democrat. As the liberals and elitists encroached on our society and government, the South and Texas became more conservative and Republican. Lee’s thoughts, written almost 100 years ago, echo true to this day.

“If you take away from me the things I have earned without my consent you are a robber. If you give it or part to another, you make a robber out of him.”

“I hate you for taking my earnings without my consent; I hate the one you give it to for accepting it, and you both hate me for hating you because you know that I know you robbed me.”

“A thief always hates a sheriff, not that the sheriff has done the thief any wrong but because the sheriff is in the business of competing with the thief.”

Feelings were obviously high against the recently passed income tax. I believe we, that pay the taxes, still feel that way in 2008!


Putting this hunt in perspective, winter started 5 days ago and this fall, we’ve only enjoyed two cold snaps with freezing temps. Being a 5th generation Texan, I call myself a ‘flatlander’, have thin blood, am adverse to cold and cold to me is 45. But like most men, a little self-punishment is good for the body.

Monday morning in Mills County, Texas was foggy, the temp was 27 and it was way too cold to go sit in a blind, but Monday afternoon was different. It was cloudy, 34 degrees with a southeast wind of 10-15 MPH, and a wind chill of around 23. Rather than stay in by the nice warm fire, I decided to go hunting and try to shoot a big doe and I picked a tree stand overlooking a small food plot. Since the deer have over grazed the plot and we’ve had very little rain in the past 2 months, I use the term, food plot, as a description only!

With my .270 unloaded, climbing up into the stand, I was about 15/16th in and just sliding into the seat when I saw movement on the edge of the plot and I froze. About 80 yards away, a yearling doe picked that time to came out and browse a little. Not being able to move, I felt kinda’ silly “half in and half out’, but all I could do was just remain in that cramped position.

Then out comes a big doe, a shooter, obviously the yearling’s mom, and she starts grazing. No scent problem since the cold wind is off of the deer, blowing into my face and both of them have their rear ends toward me and as I ‘scrooch’ down into the seat, up go their tails and they bolt off! The sound of cloth on cloth must have spooked them.

Finally loading my rifle and tying my camera to a convenient limb, I settle in and wait for another doe or a good picture. Being ‘bucked out’ since the 8th day of the season all I can shoot are does and we have plenty of them!

The longer I sit, the colder I get. The wind ‘finds’ every crack and space in my garb, even the eyes of my shoelaces. Of course, being cold and thinking about it only makes me ‘more’ colder. My thoughts race – “Maybe another doe won’t come by?” “Maybe not even a picture opportunity?” “Maybe it’s too cold to even clean one?”

Just then a spike comes out of a trail not 20 yards to my front and turns and stares at me. He must be thinking, “What in the world are you doing out in this weather?”

As he ambles on down the trail, I answer that question for him, climb out of the stand and head back to my Jeep. No deer today, and as my Dad said many years ago, “Boy, don’t worry about today’s bad hunt. Just remember if it was easy each time out, it would be called shooting instead of hunting!”

An Update On Brad, December 24, 2008

Our family received a wonderful Christmas present last Friday. Brad, on his way to Georgia, to visit friends and to go hunting, called to let me know that his Oncologist had called to tell him that again this month, his X-rays, CT scan and MRI showed no cancer spread or growth. Earlier in December Brad had a bronchoscopy of both lungs and the Doctor was thrilled at his progress. December of ‘07, when Brad was so sick with pneumonia, this same Doc had given Brad less than a month to live.

Brad told me then, “Dad, don’t worry about my condition, because I will either see one of two miracles. One miracle will be that I’ll be cured, or the other miracle will be that I’ll see Jesus!” From that minute on Brad’s condition has improved!

Thanks to everyone for praying for Brad and please keep him in your prayers and on your Church’s prayer lists.

God’s will, will be done with Brad!

Merry Christmas, Jon and Layla

A Quail Hunting Bonus

Fred Walters had just signed on to a 600 acre quail/dove lease outside of Lockhart, Texas, and in early December, had asked me to join him on a quail hunt, and he reminded me to bring along some heavy shot for, maybe, a passing duck. Following his orders, along with 20, 7-1/2’s for quail, I slipped 5, number 6 shot into my hunting coat pocket.

Having no dog, we had busted into 2 average sized coveys and had reduced their numbers by 4 birds. Luckily we found all 4, and as we looked for the last one, in the brush, some 300 yards ahead, we spotted the damn of a stock tank. Fred said, “While I look for this bird, why don’t you walk on up and see if there are any ducks on the tank? If there are, go ahead and shoot ‘em.”

Changing out the 7-1/2’s in my pump for 6’s and clipping the other 2 between the fingers of my left hand, I quickly, but quietly, walked up behind the damn and eased my eyes over the edge for a look, and to my surprise there was 75 to 100 different varieties of ducks swimming and feeding in the small tank. Quickly ducking back down, my mind racing, I tried to wave for Fred to come up, but he couldn’t see me through the thick stuff, so I decided to tie into them by myself.

Taking a deep breath, I eased over the top of the damn and the surface of the water exploded with ducks taking flight. Not shooting into the bunch, but picking out one and bam, down it went along with several others; switching my aim to another, bam, down it and several other went; my mind still racing, I decided to take only a clean shot at ONE duck and bam, it plopped to the ground. As the ducks caught the wind they swung back over the tank and I quickly stuffed my 2 finger held shells into my pump and bam, bam, and down went 2 more.

At the time, daily bag limit was 5 and possession limit was 10. Counting Fred’s limits we could have 20 ducks, but 20 was a dicey number with no more than 2 Pintail drakes and no more than 2 Mallard hens. As I started to retreived the ducks, I had 11 on the ground and 8 in the pond, Fred walked up and we both began picking up ducks and ‘chunkin’ them out of the water.

As best I remember, we were lucky, the bag included one Mallard hen, 2 Pintail drakes and a mixture of 16, Teal, Widgeon and Gadwalls. We picked, singed and cleaned the ducks, filled our cooler and headed home.

Without “pot shooting” them on the water, 5 shots and 19 ducks was still OK!

“The Legend” Passes The Test

Pictured is a west Texas desert mule deer taken with “The Legend”, Warren Blesh’s 22.250. The mulie scored 165 B&C and was taken on the Caddo Gage Ranch. Warren mentioned to me after he shot his Colorado mulie with a 25.06, see “{The ‘Bull’ Goes To Colorado}”, that he would like to get one with “The Legend”, a 22.250.

In Warren’s words, ““The Legend” met it’s toughest match this past week. We faced vast rough country and very elusive desert mulies. Mondays weather was 70 degrees and winds out of the south at 30mph. Tuesday morning, in our assigned ‘pasture’ of 14,000 acres, we saw lots of young bucks.”

“Around noon the weather changed to a hard norther with winds 30 mph from the north and rain turning to snow. I was intimidated by the hard hunting, hard weather and this was far more hunt than I had planned for “The Legend”.”
“My guide and I spotted this big mulie chasing a few does. The wind was howling and I had to take my first shot from the pick up. The pick up shook, the Legend fired and I must have missed. Oh my!”
“The next shot rang out as my guide said keep firing. The next shot a solid mid section shot. Then, I remembered that my buddy in Colorado had told me that a high shoulder shot would take any mulie down. So, my next shot was high shoulder. The buck took a fall and both me and “The Legend” passed out from exhaustion!”

High School Football, December 12, 2008

Sara is all bundled up as she tries to generate some enthusiasm. She had a bad ankle that limited some of her cheering and the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs couldn’t overcome 3 turnovers, a failed fourth and one gamble and a cold, gusting wind and fell to Wylie 23-7! Wylie was big and fast and completely throttled Cove’s offense and plays Katy this Saturday in Houston in Reliant Stadium for the Class 5A, State Championship.

Cove had a great year reaching the Semi-finals and Goldthwaite had a good year reaching the Area round.  Seems like the season just started and it’s over!

Mikayla’s Goldthwaite Eaglettes traveled to Dublin (home of Dr. Peppers) and lost 35-25. Last time they played Dublin they lost 41-19. They’re getting better. Then they visited San Saba this past Monday and came away with a 21-20 win over their big rivals.
Mikayla is giving away some height as she guards the ‘Dillo center.
This was 2 in a row for us over San Saba and brought Goldthwaite’s record to 4 and 4. The girls are learning how to play the game.

A Non Hill Country Deer

On his family’s low fence, ranch in Lamar County, in far, northeast Texas, this 14 year old, hunter, who has been hunting since he was 8, bagged this nice buck. Before field dressing, the buck weighed 180 pounds and scored a whopping 168-7/8 B&C points.
My Daughter, Suzanne, who teaches in the North Lamar School District, where this young man attends school, sent me this picture and short story about this great deer that was shot in Lamar County. In most cases, you’d think that this deer would have been shot in the western part of our Texas hill country, or south Texas.

The Pheasant And Deer Were Unsupportive

We always write about the successful hunts and show pictures of the ‘mighty’ hunters with their felled game, but we all know that sometimes, it doesn’t turn out that way. This past weekend’s hunt into the far-away, Texas panhandle proved this point!

My Dad hit the nail on the head, when he told me once after a real slow hunt, “Boy, don’t worry about today’s bad hunt. Just remember, if it was easy each time out, it would be called shooting instead of hunting.” Having repeated this phrase many times to my friends and family, Brad and I encountered it, in spades, this past weekend.

Driving up to Canyon, Texas Friday and then on to Friona for the pheasant hunt on Saturday, opening day, we were both pumped at the thought some great shooting and hunting. Meeting up with the other hunters in our party, 17 in all, with no wind and the thermometer hovering around 25, we headed out to our first CRP field, expecting great things.

These fields were one section each and the prairie grass had these annoying humps in them that made walking almost difficult. With 4 blockers and 13 walkers we covered the first field with no results. After the walk, as we were ‘blowing’, someone said, “I heard because of the drought, there was a bad hatch of chicks this past spring.” This would be the story of this day’s hunt!

Hunting hard until lunch and shedding clothes after each walk, with only one bird to show for our efforts, we retired to the local Mexican restaurant for burros fixed enchilada style and copious amounts of iced tea! We mingled with hunters from other groups all with the same, sad story – not many birds.

By days end, having walked miles, with the temperature hovering in the 60’s, we were down to tee shirts. Last year on opening day, these same fields had provided ‘limit’ shooting by lunch, but our bird total for the day was 6. Managing to drop one, I felt lucky, but one of our hunters picked up the bird and I never bothered to claim it. Brad had taken 3 ultra long shots, our game bags were empty, but it had been a wonderful day!

Up at 3:30 AM, Sunday morning for a 2, hour, drive to near Memphis, Texas and a go at either white tail or mule deer. We were excited, but the ¾ moon was so bright we could have read the newspaper by it. The deer weren’t moving, we saw a lot of sign, but no deer of either variety. Driving back into town, we did see 2 nice mulie, bucks in the back of a pick up.

Brad and I had a great time, the fellowship was great, the food was great, the hunting left something to be desired and this trip just reinforced the statement, “Just remember, if it was easy each time out, it would be called shooting instead of hunting!”

One picture remains of Brinson Bryan, taken around 1846, after the Mexican War.  Thanks to several house fires, no picture remains of Levi Sanders.

Both men fought side by side from December 17 to the 27th, 1864, and it is not known if they ever met, but the rear guard that included these 2 of my Great Grandfather’s, performed its duty flawlessly and saved what was left of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

The rear guard was in constant contact with Union troops the entire retreat, winning each battle and skirmish.  Federal General Thomas said, “Hood’s Army on the retreat from Tennessee was a bunch of disorganized rabble.  But the rear guard, however, was undaunted and firm, and did its work bravely to the last.”

After the war ended both men were active in the same veteran reunion groups and I’m sure their paths crossed.

My family strives to keep this heritage intact and something to treasure.  These men fought for four years for something they believed in – states rights.  They lost the war, but we’ll always remember their sacrifice!