Category Archives: Hunting

Easy Shoot

The large computer company that I worked for had promoted me to their division headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia and, before that, had sent me to Endicott, New York for further “training”. While in Endicott I had become violently ill with some type of flu, was in bed for 3 days and finally flew back to Phoenix, although I barely remember the flight back.

Back in Phoenix with time on my hands, while my family was visiting in Houston, it dawned on me that dove season will still on. There was one spot, a stock tank just off the intersection of 7th Street and Deer Valley Rd. that we’d never hunted before. Back then in the mid 70’s this was still cattle country and cows need water, hence the stock tank. So I decided quickly that I’d just go out there and try my luck on the mourning dove.

Feeling much better, that afternoon, after the short drive from my house, I arrived at the spot, parked my truck under a big ironwood tree, climbed through the barbwire fence that kept the cows inside and walked the short distance to the stock tank. There were no posted signs, so hunters could use it, since most of the land in Arizona, at that time, was Government land.

At the tank, about a quarter of an acre, I picked a dappled, shady spot under a mesquite, squatted down on my haunches and waited for, I hoped, a good flight of dove. My wait wasn’t long as, from my left, 2 mourners zipped past me, made a circle and landed for a drink. Stepping out of the shadows, the dove sprang up, stretching for altitude, but my 20, gauge pump, barked twice and they crumpled, this was just like shooting doubles at trap!

As the dove came piling in, this was one of those days, I’d used only 11 shots and had bagged 9 birds, one away from my limit. The last dove came loafing by over the tank and my shot dropped it right into the water, using cow chips and sticks, I “chunked” it toward the bank where I waded out and retrieved it. A limit shooting in just a little over an hour and 10 dove with 12 shots!

This was a good spot and I’d have to come back and bring the family, then I remembered that all of us had to be in Atlanta next week, so no coming back to this spot, but I’ll always remember the easy shoot there.


In mid afternoon, after the four, plus, hour drive from Houston, Layla, and I pulled up at the house at our lease in McCulloch County, Texas. We had “snuck” away early from our jobs and, as expected, were the only ones there that day.  All of our gang would be up the next day.

We changed from our business clothes, slipped into jeans and camo shirts and along with Gus, our Brittany spaniel, happily trotting beside us, quickly headed out to the “secret” stock tank.  On an earlier trip up I had found a spring fed stock tank tucked behind a butte, or small mesa, and way off the beaten path.

The “secret” tank lies in the oak trees, just below the saddle in the two hills.

About an hour before sunset, the mourning doves started coming into the water. Our set up was ideal. The tank had a rocky, gravelly bank all around, a couple of dead mesquites at one end and several live mesquites at the other end that we used for shade and concealment.
The doves came in singularly and in groups and were met with our bam, bam, bamming and soon we had neared our limits. It was great sport, and a lot of fun, watching Gus retrieve the birds that fell into the water.

Gus, pictured in one of his dryer moments.

Finally he rebelled. As I knocked another one down into the water, Gus walked over beside me and shook himself vigorously, liberally dousing me, and plopped down beside my foot. “Fetch him up Gus,” I commanded with no response. “Gus, fetch the bird,” more forcefully as he looked up at me and rolled over on his back!  He was “done” for the day!

Trying to get Layla to retrieve the last bird for me, she declined also. It was left for me to either jump in, or to chunk rocks and cow patties at the bird to wash it close to the shore.  I chose the former and unceremoniously waded out and picked it up.

So much for delegating!

The Dove’s Revenge

Thinking back, one of the best places that I ever hunted doves was on the St. John’s Indian Reservation, south of Phoenix. In the early 70’s an individual hunting permit was a whopping $5.00 and $10.00 for a family. This allowed the hunters access to some great hunting.

The doves were feeding in a large grain field and then flying into a watering/roosting area in very thick brush. The afternoon sun was to our right and the birds flew south to north, coming out of the field and heading right over us. We usually arrived around 3:30 PM and positioned ourselves in the brush along a fence line and within two hours would generally have our limits.

Incoming, or head on, shots are easy. Track below the bird, cover it with the muzzle, fire and follow through. The bird flies right in to the shot string yielding a clean kill and falls near the shooter. This meant a lot on a hot, Arizona day!

This particular afternoon’s flight was pouring over us, heated barrels banging away, doves falling and the birds kept coming. Here came an easy head on for me, I tracked and fired, puff, a clean hit and the bird rocketed straight for my chest. Holding out my hand, I was going to be real cool and catch this one. But, at the last moment, the dove gained a little lift rising over my outstretched hand and smacked me right between the eyes!

The force of four ounces traveling at, I guessed, 35 MPH, applied right between my eyes, knocked me down. I got up and through my broken shooting glasses, my blood and the dove’s blood, I saw the bird had a broken neck.

The dove got his revenge, but $100.00 later for a new pair of shooting glasses, I was not to be deterred, and soon, the next free afternoon found me back at my favorite spot banging away.

The Outlaw

The following is the first chapter in my second book about my hunting exploits, some good, some bad, and some scary, but I’ve left a few of the stories out, maybe the book would be too long!

The Outlaw

Most of my extended family came to this country, that we now call the United States, in the early 1600’s. In the old world they were soldiers, teachers, poets, clergy, royalty and landowners, but they were also educated men and women. By necessity, they were hunters and workers of the land and this story also tells a little about how one of my great grandfathers, in the 1840’s, came to America.

The Royal hare was 50 feet upwind of the hunter and was feeding on the tender shoots of new spring grass, never noticing the threat approaching him. Boom! The shotgun belched out a cloud of foul smelling smoke, blowing right back in Shaw Wallace’s face and, as it cleared, he saw the hare flopping on the ground.

Hunting on his father’s land in County Derry, Ireland, it never occurred to Shaw that the large rabbit would be anything but a fine dinner for the family. His father, Jesse, was a well to do farmer and head of Clan Wallace in Ireland, a post Shaw would some day hold.

What Shaw did know, but paid little attention to, was that he had just committed a crime against the King of England. He was only 19 years old and enjoying an afternoon hunt, but in 1842, the King owned all of the wild game in Ireland and it was a crime, punishable by death, to kill a Royal hare!

The Wallace family was originally Orangemen who came over from Scotland in 1608 to conquer and repopulate England’s, Plantation, Ireland. The battle had been going on for over 200 years and a practical stalemate had finally emerged, with the Protestants dominating Ulster, a northern Province, and the Catholics the southern 3. At the time, the British Government’s first attempt at apartheid was well underway!

Shaw hefted the Hare over his shoulder, loosely carrying the shotgun in his other hand, and began his walk back home. The next thing he knew was, “Hold it right there, you poacher, you’re under arrest. You red headed scum, you think you can kill the King’s game and get away with it”, the Royal Game Warden barked at him! Startled, Shaw backed up, but the Warden said, “Hold it right there! I’m taking you in and within a week you’ll get a taste of the King’s justice, a noose around that thick neck of yours.”

Shaw knew he was in trouble and without thinking, dropped the hare, distracting the Warden, raised the shotgun to hip level and cocked the left barrel in one motion, fired, boom, and knocked the Warden back and down. The smoke cleared and the warden was dead! Not reloading the gun, he picked up the hare and began running home.

His mother, Molly’s, sobs and wailing almost drowned out his father’s calm analysis of the situation. “Boy, we have to get you out of the country fast or else you’ll surely hang” and before Shaw could reply, his father continued, “Up quick, kiss your mother, brothers and sisters goodbye. We’re saddling the horses and heading to Lee Wallace’s warehouse in Derry and going try and get you out of Ireland!”

Lee, Shaw’s uncle, had an import, export business in Derry and was familiar with swift British justice. He recommended putting Shaw in a barrel, marked pickles, and shipping him to the United States, besides he had a Captain friend that was sailing for New Orleans in 2 days, giving Shaw time to get “comfortable” in his barrel. Shaw knew he would likely never see his father, uncle or family again. With teary eyes he hugged each man, told them goodbye and prepared for, what he knew would be a long ordeal.

Two days later, Uncle Lee, with a straight face, paid his friend for shipping the pickles to New Orleans. The hoist groaned lifting the heavy pickle barrel, it was stowed in the forward hold and Shaw was on his way to the “New World”. The ship left on the afternoon tide and by the following afternoon the headlands at Ballygorman were behind them and Shaw could tell from the roll and pitch of the schooner, that now, they were on the open sea and turning around and handing him over to the authorities was out of the question.

The First Mate found him making his escape from his barrel and roughly grabbed him hissing, “A stowaway! I’m a good mind to pitch you over the side.” The man’s strange accent, obviously from the United States, startled him, but Shaw gathered up his courage and said in as strong a voice as he could, “Take me to the Captain!”

The Captain, Captain Allen, proved to be another rough customer with a strange accent and barked at him, “Pickles? You smell like horse droppings. Lee Wallace paid for a barrel of pickles to New Orleans, and what do I get, but a thick necked, red headed, kid.” He added, “You must have killed somebody for them to go to all this trouble sneaking you out?”

Shaw answered, “Yes Sir, Captain Sir, I killed an English Game Warden. It was him or the gallows for me!” Shaw continued, “Uncle Lee paid for shipping pickles, but I’m strong and can work my way across.” “Very well”, Captain Allen closed the discussion, telling the First Mate, “Get him cleaned up and set him to scrubbing the decks.

Turning back, Captain Allen asked, “Boy what’s your name and what will you do in my country?” Shaw stood up straight and said, “Sir, my name is Shaw Wallace, and Uncle Lee said that I should get to The Republic of Texas as soon as I could!” Captain Allen turned and walked away, hiding his smile.

Shaw safely arrived in New Orleans and came on to Texas.

Fixin’ The Barn

This post sets the stage for all of the ghostlike occurrences we had at Rob Haney’s ranch, some were terrifying, some were comical and all were interesting, very interesting! It all began in the spring and went on for 8 or 10 years, then the entire house burned down during the summer, when there were a bunch of fires around Abilene, Texas..

Just before Brad joined the Army, he and I went up to help Rob repair his barn and, since it was very comfortable for the springtime, both nights we slept out on the porch. The screened in porch was on 2 sides of Rob’s old ranch house. I noticed that Rob was sleeping with his AC roaring, but said nothing to him about it. Maybe it covered up our snoring!

The next morning, sunrise found us along a creek, in a makeshift blind, making hen turkey sounds. Brad leaned over to me and whispered, “Dad, did you hear those animals bumping around under Rob’s house last night?” Whispering back, “Yes, Son. It sounded like someone walking around the porch, or a herd of ‘dillos!” I continued, “To me it sounded like they were walking right around my bed.”

Staying out for over an hour we didn’t have a turkey come in close and as Brad was sitting in the grassy blind he exclaimed, “Dad, I think a snake, or something, just bit me. Something just hit my left ankle!” “What”, I exploded! As Brad was taking off his boot, I looked around in our hastily made blind and didn’t see anything. Boot off, Brad showed me 2 red marks on his lower ankle, but closer inspection showed that his skin wasn’t broken. Sure must not have been a big one because a big one’s fangs would have gone right through his boot! Hastily we excused ourselves from the blind and decided that work on the barn was the best thing to do.

The second night there was more bumping around, but barely waking, we both slept right through it. As we were leaving for Houston, I mentioned to Rob, “You need to trap those animals under your house and close up where they are getting in.” His short reply was, “I’m going to.” Little did we know that he slept out at his ranch 3 or 4 nights a week and his roaring A/C was not all he used to protect himself from the “Ghosts”, but I get ahead of myself, more ghosts stories will follow in the fall.

Struttin’ Through The Yard

Being on the telephone with Mrs. Bush, not the former presidents wife, but the president of the Marble Falls Chapter of the Son’s Of The American Revolution (SAR), looking out my kitchen window, to my surprise, was a turkey hen!  Mrs. Bush had just told me that everything was fine with my application, but I cut her off with, “A hen turkey just walked through my yard.”  Having my camera handy I took these pictures of her as she walked.
Having collected the cards from the game cameras on this past Wednesday, this gobbler has been hanging around the corner feeder.  Being released from the DL I think that I’ll try my hand at this turkey and, no, I didn’t hunt while I was on the DL, but I wanted too!
The beard on the first picture barely shows, but on the second one, the beard shows clearly.

Only Hens

On Tuesday of this week, I went turkey hunting, hopefully to see one of these gobblers and these “shots” were taken by the same game camera, but it”s astounding that the turkeys would only frequent only one feeder.  I guess a black eyed, pea brain size only can handle one feeder, haha!
Hoping to see a big gobbler, I think there are 2 around here, I sat down in my hide and waited 10 minutes before I started making hen turkey sounds.  Calling, I was immediately responded too, by clucks and puts, then a gobbler gobbled and I waited for one to come in.

As the wait got longer a single hen came into the feeder, then 2, then 3, another one came up, but didn’t go into the feeder.  All the while I waited for the gobbler to come up, no pictures because I was getting the shotgun into position, as the wait got longer I finally decided there would be no gobbler this hunt.

But, there would always be Thursday, I had a Docs appointment at Scott & White in Temple, but I should be back by 4:00 PM, plenty of time to go after the turkeys again. Lo, did I only know that following the appointment I would be grounded, not only grounded, but also strong warning from the Doc not to lift or strain anything, hoping the stitches wouldn’t pull out!

The Doc cut out a cancerous melanoma from my left shoulder that required 18 or 19 stitches to close up.  Softball will be out for 2, weeks, of course we had another tournament this weekend in San Antonio which I’ll miss, so for 2 weeks I’ll be on the DL, but he didn’t say anything about turkey hunting!

Whew, They Made It!

Now the 11 pointer that I shot on November 9th made a foolish mistake, he came to a grunt call, see my posts on November 12th, [“He Came To A Grunt Call”] and “[The Shooter]” on November 19th, both posts pertain to the buck in question. This buck didn’t make it to next year, in fact the buck won the Big Buck Contest sponsored by the Mills County General Store.

The first prize was a commemorative .22, lever action, rifle made by Henry Repeating Arms Company, this was a limited edition piece created by Historical Armory.  In fact I love Henry’s motto, “Made In America Or Not Made At All”!

Now to the bucks that made it to next year, the first is an 8 pointer, for some reason he doesn’t have a very muscular neck.  It’s late in the year around here, but he should have an enlarged neck, maybe it’s the camera angle?

Next is a 10 pointer, big neck and all, this will be a wonderful buck next year!

This one is an 8 pointer that has been seen several times around the feeders.  Notice this one has an enlarged neck,

The last, so far as game cams go, was originally a 7 pointer, 3-1/2 years old, with a big neck, but he’d been fighting, now he’s a 6.  This deer will be another good one next year, hung around the feeders until 2 weeks before the season began, then he was history!

Last is a big, bobcat.  This one’s cruising around the feeders trying to catch a squirrel or a ‘coon for lunch.

Hunter Safety

This is a post by Blake Anderson, he’s with Hunter Tree Stands . The article is all about hunter safety and the what nots and what to do when in the field.  Read the article and be sure to practice Hunter Safety!

Hunter Safety
As a hunter I cannot press [hunter safety] strong enough to my readers.  Each year on average, there are 1,000 hunters shot and killed in hunting accidents by being shot by another hunter and the shooter is usually the buddy that does the shooting.  Knowing where your buddy is at all times is so important I cannot stress this enough.

As a responsible hunter you already know you must be wearing hunter orange.  Deer do not see very well in the daytime hours and rely mostly on their hearing and noses to detect danger. By wearing your hunter orange hat, vest, gloves you are not going to be seen by a deer, however, you will be seen by another hunter.

If you do not have a clear and clean shot don’t take the shot. This is where other hunters end up getting the bullet and not the deer.  If you ‘think’ you see or hear a deer wait until you actually have it in your sights clearly and with out a doubt know exactly what you are shooting at.

When you are out hunting there is nothing fast about it. Hunting takes time, patience, knowledge and more patience. There is no sense in getting over excited on the first or even the last day of hunting season if you hear a sound in the woods and it just may be another hunter who is not wearing hunter orange.

If you do not bag a deer in one season, there is always another season coming up next year.  It is not worth shooting at the first break of a twig or a strange noise that you ‘think’ is a snort or a hoof if that sound ends up being another hunter who does not follow the [hunting safety rules].

Whether you are sitting in a [tree stand] or in a [blind] on the ground make sure you with out a doubt know what you are shooting at.  If you do not clearly see a deer yet hear noises, do not shoot.  If it is a deer it will come into your view and this is where your patience comes in.  Be certain and positive before you squeeze that trigger.

Look through your sites prior to putting your finger on the trigger if you are not sure what the noises are.  Once you are absolutely positive that you have a deer in your sites you can follow that deer until it is in a position wherein you can obtain a clear shot without any doubts whatsoever what you are shooting at.

With 1,000 hunter accidents each year that is 1,000 too many and these accident only occur when the shooter is not sure what they are shooting at as they do not have a clear view and due to other hunters not abiding by hunter safety rules and wearing hunter orange.

It is much better to come alive with or without a deer than to come home in a black plastic body bag. Use common sense and if you are hunting with your young son or daughter make sure they are enrolled in hunter safety classes with yourself the parent in attendance as well.  It is so much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to hunting.

So many people rely on hunting each year to fill their freezers with meat. It is not just the thrill of the hunt but also to be able to sustain your family and true hunters do not waste a good deer.  Please be safe, wear your hunter orange, make sure you know where your hunting buddy is at all times and make sure you have a clear shot without any doubts of what you are shooting at.  Be safe and keep others safe while in the woods hunting.

Why It’s Called Hunting

Having done a lot of posts over the years, this perhaps, is my favorite.  There is a lot of frustration, a lot of anxiety, coupled with some really bad luck, but since I’ve shot 2 really good bucks in the past 2 years, pictured below, it was a definite learning experience.  It paved the way for my excellent luck on bagging these monsters.
Since opening day of deer season, I had rattled up 2 bucks for my sons and had planned on getting a chance on another, for me, this afternoon.  Some times our plans can really get fouled up!

As I was leaving my house, the phone rang and a very close friend was calling from Houston just to check up on me.  Talking for a while I finally told him that I was on my way out to shoot “Bambi”, he laughed and said “Good luck.”

Quickly hanging up, the phone rang again and it was one of my daughters, Suzanne, calling from Paris, Texas, looking for her mom.  I couldn’t just brush her off, so we talked for a few minutes and finally I told her that I was on my way to hunt.  She said, “Isn’t it kinda’ late, but good luck anyway.”

Yes it was late, almost 5:00 PM, so I decided to hunt a special “hide” of mine, 10 yards off of a well used, deer trail and reluctantly decided not to take my rattlin’ horns with me.  No “rattling” this trip, but my “hide” was cut into a cedar tree and some buck brush, a very concealed spot and sneaking into it and pulling on my camo face cover, quietly chambering a round into my .270 and slipping my “grunt” caller over my head, I’m ready for the deer, I thought.

Not two minutes later, looking down the trail, a doe was running, about half speed, toward me followed by a beautiful, big, 10 point buck, with tall horns at least 6 inches past his ears, a 20 inch spread for sure!  Boy, am I ready for him, I thought.  The doe flashed by and I could hear her hooves pounding (or was that my heart) as I raised my rifle with my left hand and tried to slide my “grunt” caller under my face, mask.  When I “grunted” he will stop in his tracks and he is mine, but, the caller was tangled in the mask and as I tried to blow into it, nothing happened and the buck, nostrils flared and mouth half open, as if in a mocking smile, flashed past me, and both deer turned into the brush.

Deflated, but I told myself, “Wow!  What a sight!”  Not to be outsmarted by the deer and finally untangling my caller from my face mask (I was very frustrated now), I blew a defiant challenge call to the, apparently, long gone buck, “Grunt, Grunt, Grnt, grnt, grnt, grnt.”  Barely a minute later, looking down the trail, here came the buck trotting back looking for this unseen adversary.  Now, he was more interested in fighting.  I’ve got him, I thought.

Facing me, a large cedar tree blocked out a portion of the trail, and my mind, in overdrive, quickly calculated he would clear the right side of the tree, and I shouldered my rifle and prepared for the killing shot.  Waiting, for what seemed like an hour, no buck.  I cut my eyes away from the scope and looked to the left of the tree and there stood the buck, not 15 yards from me, behind a knarly, dead mesquite.

Moving my rifle slowly, ever so slowly, from the right side to the left side of the cedar tree and moving the safety to “fire”, I saw there was no killing shot available.  Maybe a head shot, but I choose not to as the buck wheeled and moved off, masking me with the cedar tree.  I don’t even know where my grunt caller was, I guess, still around my neck, so instead of fumbling with it again, and my “store” teeth prohibiting me a whistle, I yelled “HEY!”   The buck didn’t even acknowledge me, no stride breaking, no tail flashing indignantly toward me, just trotted back, after the doe, into the thick stuff.

Thinking to myself, well Jon, you really blew this one.  The buck has marked me at this spot, so I eased out of my hide and began slipping toward a new spot about 300 yards away.

After slowly moving about 50 yards and rounding a curve in the trail, all the while looking through the heavy cover, I spotted my adversary again, watching me from behind a mesquite that hadn’t yet shed its leaves.  The buck was approximately 75 yards away and slowly moving my rifle to my shoulder and sliding off the safety, he was in the cross hairs, along with several mesquite limbs.  My mind racing, can this 115 grain bullet traveling at over 3,100 FPS, break through the brush and score a killing hit, or will it be deflected? Should I shoot?  Not taking the chance of wounding and loosing this fine buck, I lowered my rifle and he turned and walked back into the thick stuff.

Walking back to my Jeep, my thoughts were a jumble.  I really screwed up a good opportunity to bag a trophy, and, on the other hand, I choose to pass on a marginal shot.  There will be another time for both of us.  In spite of my earlier well, wishers, my luck wasn’t good this hunt, I got beat real bad!