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!