Darrell and Dwayne (pronounced Deewayne) Revisited

Darrell had gone to north Georgia to help one of his girlfriends move to a new trailer park leaving Dwayne (pronounced Deewayne) home at their place between Cartersville and Kennesaw Mountain. During the past week, Dewayne had called my hunting partner Craig Harmon, now deceased, and said that he had found a couple more coveys of birds along a creek we had frequented the past season and Craig had immediately set us up for a hunt the coming Saturday afternoon.

Ready to shoot some birds, on time Saturday, we arrived at our designated “meet. After the one plus, hour ride from Sandy Springs, Rooster, my Brittany, was ready to hunt and we began along a flowing creek, lined by harvested soy bean fields on both sides. We were soon into the first covey, Rooster hard on point, and dropped two quail, the balance of the birds high tailing it into some thick cover on the other side of the field. Dewayne, ever the gentleman, said, “I’ll go root those birds out of the cover. Both you all want to come with me?”

Dwayne in the lead, we didn’t find the flushed covey, but clearing the thick cover, there standing before us and looking right at us, was a turkey. No fall season in Georgia, so I yelled at Dewayne as I saw him raising his shotgun, “Dewayne, don’t sh,’ bam’, oot! He had just dispatched a domestic, hen turkey
Happily, lifting up the bird, he exclaimed, “How about taking a picture for me?” We declined explaining, “A picture of this illegal bird could really get you into trouble!” Two weekends ago his twin brother Darrell had shot a rooster out of a tree and now Dewayne shoots this turkey. As Dewayne was taking the turkey back to his old truck, we took this opportunity to end our hunt.

Craig, or I, never went back to hunt with the twins, Darrell and Dewayne (pronounced Deewayne).


Our sick friend and his wife asked us to get them another doe, so this past Tuesday, Mickey Donahoo went out on my ranch and complied with their request. This one was another nice, mature, white tail.

For the first time since last week, I hunted Wednesday evening, but didn’t see a big one. This chilly morning, thirty degrees, Paul and Wesley are out trying to Get Wesley his first deer. Who knows?

Today, Layla and I will have a house full of folks. The count, currently, is twenty-one with two more coming tomorrow. Anyway, family and friends, that’s one of the things that Thanksgiving is all about! The most important thing is thanking God every day for his blessings; His Grace, our family, our jobs our health, our friends and our wonderful Country!

We wish everyone a very, happy and safe Thanksgiving!


Last Friday, Warren Blesh invited me to come out to his place, the [RRR Ranch], and watch biologist, shock his three-acre, lake. The shocking would help them to determine what would be the best solution to a vexing problem – too many small bass. Warren, and the clients on his high fence, ranch, get a lot of enjoyment and catch a lot of fish, all small ones!

Just inside the ranch gate, this doe was getting ready to jump the low fence and head to the safety of the thick stuff.

Thursday night our area had enjoyed a two-inch, rain and there was some doubt that the biologists could shock the lake if it was raining. The weather and local radar was showing that the frontal system had passed through our County and low clouds and possibly light mist could be with us for another twenty-four hours.

The biologists arrived just as the mist ended early and began preparing their equipment. Johnson Lake Management Service, out of San Marcos, Texas was handling the project, would make two rounds around the lake, shocking the fish, gathering their data, then present a detailed report and recommendations to Warren..


Just after launching their boat, the two biologists quickly assembled the boom that held the transducer in place and began their study.

Not too long after they started, up came a “shocked” bass that they quickly weighed, measured, recorded the results and tossed back into the lake, alive! The shocking of the bass only stuns them and if quickly returned to the water, almost all will survive!

Two “laps” around the lake were enough and in they came to “trailer up” and discuss their findings with Warren

We listened in as they said, “We picked up fifteen fish, the largest was thirteen and a half inches long and weighed one pound. All the rest were smaller. We observed that the lake was infested with too much coon tail moss, picked up no bluegills or perch, did not see any minnows or shad or notice any three to five inch bass from this year’s spawn. Mr. Blesh, these bass have eaten this year’s spawn, all of the bluegills, all of the forage fish and are subsisting on insects that get into the water. Our report, next week hopefully, will make recommendations on the best way to build up the size of your bass and create a healthy lake.”

Wow, no wonder these bass will hit any plug you throw at them!

A Good Deed

Mickey Donahoo, my softball buddy, and I have a mutual friend who is recovering from surgery that resulted in a terrible, staph infection and he requested that Mickey shoot him a doe. We were at batting practice this past Tuesday and I mentioned to Mickey that he should come over on Saturday afternoon and comply with the request.

Mickey arrived at 3:00 PM and we drove out, then walked to a tree stand on the backside of my ranch. Within one hour he nailed a real nice doe. Nailed it to say the least, at sixty-five yards, he placed one shot from his rifle, right between the deer’s eyes!

Getting into a nearby ground blind. I was waiting to hear Mickey’s shot. My wait was a short one. Hearing his shot, I went back to the house, got the tractor, then went back out and picked up the deer and Mickey. The deer had fallen right in its tracks, right beside the feeder, so Spike, the wonder dog, wasn’t needed to track it down.

However Spike did take charge and guard it once we brought it back to the house.


After I had moved to Atlanta, a neighbor, John Walton and I had joined a hunting club that featured parcels of land all over the state. Some of it offered good quail hunting however, our results were only fair at best, but we did get to see a lot of the state.

On this particular hunt, we reserved for Friday and Saturday, probably the best spot we had found, a several hundred, acre track of harvested soy bean fields bordered by some nice wooded cover. Brad was a sophomore in high school and his JV football season had ended, so I got him out of school and we headed south of Atlanta for some quailing.

We arrived near Thomasville around noon, found our hunting area and made camp. We were staying “out” Friday night, which should be fun since the weather featured warm days and cool nights. We didn’t even think about the warm afternoons bringing out the rattlers.

Rooster, my Brittany Spaniel, Brad and I took off to one side of the large bean field and James and Crystal, his German Shorthair, went the other way. Shortly I heard, pop, pop, James had already found a small covey as Brad and I proceed along the edge of the field, not finding any birds.

We got to the corner of the field and Rooster locked down hard on a point. Quickly approaching, whirrrrr, the covey broke wild before we could get off a shot. We marked the spot where the covey flew into the woods and all three of us, Rooster, Brad and I, hurried after the birds. We passed through where the covey had flushed and, whirr, a late riser, bam, and he fell to my twenty gauge, pump.

Rooster and Brad continued chasing the covey and seeing my bird on the ground, I ran over to pick him up. Retrieving the bird, I headed back toward Brad, who was masked by the thick brush and not seeing him, I hurried in his general direction.

Rooster was barking and Brad was yelling to me, “Dad, Dad, up here quick.” Running to the sound of his voice and coming out of the woods, I saw Brad a-straddle of a barbwire fence. Rooster was still barking, snarling and running around the fence post that suspended Brad as he yelled to me, “Dad, there’s a big rattler right under me,”

Hurrying faster I saw that he had laid his gun down on the ground prior to climbing the fence and the rattlers had “treed” him. He was right, it was a big one, coiled and rattling, and at that moment, more interested in the dog. Rooster knew about snakes having hunted with me for three years in Arizona and, bam, one shot did the snake in!

Rooster was still barking as Brad climbed down from his perch. We stretched the snake out and it was a good five feet long and bigger around than my forearm! My aim was true and the shot shredded the snake’s head, leaving the skin undamaged. Brad said, “That snake could’ve bit me or Rooster. Let’s eat him Dad.” We both thought of an old Indian saying, “Eat your enemies and gain some strength from them.” Why not?

We cut off the rattles and saved them, whew, it smelled like uria, and the fertilizer plants in Pasadena, Texas. We skinned the rattler and rolled up the skin for now and it really stunk! We gutted it and except for the smell we had a hunk of pretty, white meat. Taking a canteen I washed off the meat, eliminating some of the smell. Later, I learned that snakes don’t have kidneys and liquid waste is secreted out of their body’s through the skin.

We chose this time to go back to camp and prepare the snake for supper, fried rattler! We cut the snake into one and one-half inch pieces, rolled them in corn meal, wrapped the five pounds of meat in foil, popped it in the cooler and waited for Walton to get back. We saved the quail for back home, being confident we would get more the next day.

We had heard John shoot several times and he and Crystal returned with three quail. He said, “You all came in early. What’s up?” We told him about our snake encounter and told him that we were having rattle snake for supper. He blanched! Not hesitating, we showed him the large quantity of white meat and began to fry the snake and fries. After supper, John said, “That rattle snake wasn’t bad.” He was right. 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.

Papa, That Ain’t No Coon

This story has been passed down through my family for well over a hundred years. I have heard it from my Dad and his Brothers and Sisters. Brinson and Fannie Bryan, who were living in McLennan County, near Riesel, Texas, sixteen miles south of Waco, were my paternal Great Grandparents. Their son, Peyton, who played a big role in this story, was my paternal Grandfather.

The dogs were barking and raising a racket outside, waking both Brinson and Fannie up from a sound sleep. Fannie was expecting their ninth, and she hoped the last, child the next month, December 1889 and with all the work around their place, Hominy Hill, she needed her sleep! Brinson figured they had a possum or ‘coon treed in the large oak tree near the hen house. Next thing he knew all eight of his kids were awake and asking him “Papa, what’s all the noise with the dogs?”
This picture of Brinson, twenty-one, was probably taken in California.

Brinson climbed into his heavy clothes, it was cold for mid November, and lit a coal oil lantern. His plan was to “chunk” the ‘coon out of the tree and not even mess with loading his .44 pistol. With all these kids around, it didn’t pay to leave the old pistol loaded. He handed the lantern to his oldest son, Peyton, slipped on his boots and said to him, “Let’s go run that varmint off.”

Peyton, taken around 1893.

Stepping outside and heading the hundred feet to the old, oak tree, with the dogs raising a ruckus, Peyton held the light up towards the tree and he and his Papa were greeted with two big, yellow eyes staring back at them. “Papa, that ain’t no ‘coon,” he exclaimed, as he and Brinson edged closer to the tree! There, crouched on a branch, eight feet above them was a very, large cat, rather a very large mountain lion!

This looked like another “tight spot” shaping up. Brinson had had his share of “tight spots” in his life. Joining the Texas Rangers in 1845 he had fought Mexicans and Indians during the Mexican War. After that war he guided wagon trains to California facing more Indians, wild animals and thieves. Next was his three and a half years of service with the Confederate Army of Tennessee and experiencing some of the fiercest battles of that bloody, war. He had married Fannie in 1867 and settled, hopefully, into a peaceful and quiet life of farming, mule trading and raising his family.

Now, he was being stared down by a big cat and knowing the dogs would keep the cat treed, he told Peyton, “Boy, hold the light on the cat while I get something to finish it off with!” That “something” happened to be his old Bowie knife, almost two feet of it, which he tied onto a walking stick, or Moses stick. Counting the knife and stick, his “lance” was nearly six foot long. He knew if he shot the cat with his pistol that it would die, but not before it would leap down on he and Peyton.

As Peyton held the light, Brinson shinnied up into the tree and with one thrust shoved the knife into the cat’s throat and then, with both hands, held on tight to the stick as the animal thrashed about, impaled on the knife. After it was over and the cat lay still on the ground, Brinson thought it funny that his three dogs could tree the lion and keep it treed, while the lion could easily kill the dogs and also how the light from a coal oil lantern had kept the cat off of them.

Apparently, the dogs had intercepted the cat before it had gotten into the hen house. It ended up a very lop sided victory for Brinson and Peyton, no dogs or chickens injured, just a little lost sleep.

This may have been the last mountain lion killed in McLennan County, Texas!

Deer Watching

Deciding to pass on the Veterans Day festivities, I got up early on Wednesday the eleventh and was getting ready to go to Georgetown and play softball when I walked to the picture window in our kitchen and looked out over the cut, hay field.

To my surprise, in the before sun up, haze, there walking down the fence row, obviously looking for a doe, was a nice eight point buck! He was a young one, three and a half years old with horns well outside his ears and a tall rack. Not much mass, but a real pretty animal!

The deer continued on his way and against the heavy brush two hundred yards across the field, I saw movement and a closer look with the binocs, proved it to be a big, buck, much larger than the “fence walker”. The big boy sensed I was looking at him and broke into a trot, never giving me a look at the size of his rack, only it looked to be half again as tall and much heavier that the first one.

Both my camera and rifle were in our old, ranch house. Such is life! Someone said, “The best blind is your back porch!”

Getting home Wednesday afternoon in time for the PM hunt, with a pulled ham string, thanks to softball, I hurried out to an unused blind on the backside of my property that overlooked a well used deer trail. Taking along a freezer pack, I sat that under my pulled “hammy” for the two hours of my hunt.

Just before dusk, along came a most unusual deer, only six points, but with tall horns that were at least six inches outside his ear. Needing to be in Killeen at 8:30 PM to pick Layla up at the airport, she was returning from a softball executives meeting, I passed on the buck and couldn’t even get my camera up for a “shot”.

All I got was a cold leg!

Like Father, Like Sons

Randy shot his first deer when he was twelve years old. In 1978, in a drawing held by the Georgia Game and Fish Department, he and I were chosen by the state to participate in a special youth hunt on Georgia’s, Sapelo Island.

After the drawing, we hied ourselves off to Oshman’s, Dunwoody store and including two boxes of ammunition, I bought him a Remington, Mohawk 660 rifle in .243 caliber, with a 3X9, Weaver Scope, all for under $250.00. The next afternoon we sighted the rifle and scope in on the range at the River Bend Gun Club and it shot right on the money.

On Sapelo Island, one shot, bagged the nice, spike, shown below.

Twenty-five years later, Randy’s oldest Son, Austin, at the time age eight, shot this spike, with one shot, on his first hunt using his Dad’s rifle. The deer was shot out of The Scaffold Blind on our ranch.

This year, taking advantage of our State’s Special Youth Hunt, Randy and his middle Son, Sean, were in Maw-Maw’s Blind on the ranch and he shot this spike. One shot was all it took!

The same Remington, 660, with the same 3X9 Weaver scope, over a thirty-one year period, bagged all three deer, all with one shot! This little rifle is amazing, no recoil, deadly accurate and has dispatched over thirty deer!

I’m sure that in five or six more years, Randy’s youngest Son, Jeremy, will duplicate this feat and with another one shot kill!

Veterans Day, November 11, 2009

President Woodrow Wilson designated November 11, 1919 as the first Veterans Day honoring our troops that helped to end, WW I, “the war to end all wars”. My family has served in almost all of our Country’s wars before and after WW I and we have generations of veterans all the way back to The Revolutionary War!

All of us were proud to have served our Country, but I, for one, am now concerned at the track that we are on. Unending wars in the middle east; appeasement and apologies to our enemies, a terrorist attack at Ft. Hood being called a tragedy. Hurricane Ike was a tragedy.  This was murder by an enraged, radical, terrorist!

When, are our leaders going to wake up and right the ship of state? Will they ever? Do they want to? While our current regime is busy tearing down the capital structure of our Country, our enemies are clappin’ their hands and stompin’ their feet! Today, our country is on a very, slippery slope! When are all of us going to wake up, or is it too late?

Have a thoughtful, Veterans Day!

Deer Season Opener, 2009

Because Layla told me Friday night that I should try her blind, Maw-Maw’s Blind, for my brief opening morning hunt, like a good husband, I did what I was told. After an hour and only seeing a yearling, deer, I called it quits. Then I was off to watch Grandkids and their athletic adventures.

Getting back in time for the afternoon hunt, I didn’t see any horns, but I got some nice, “shots” of deer gathered around the feeder close to a tree stand. Seeing probably a dozen does and yearlings this just whetted my appetite.

Sunday morning Sara, Brad’s Daughter, and her boyfriend, J.T. came over from Copperas Cove and went to Church with me. After a good lunch at Peabody’s, a local caf©, recognized around our fine State for their cakes, pies and good food, we went back to the ranch and spent the afternoon shooting, so no hunting Sunday.

This morning Layla will fly out of Killeen to attend a softball executives meeting, so no hunting then. However, this afternoon I’ll be back in the tree stand and maybe I’ll get a real shot!