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Author Topic: Texas Radio and the Big Beast by Charlie Lamb  (Read 500 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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Texas Radio and the Big Beast by Charlie Lamb
« on: December 19, 2003, 05:55:00 AM »
Texas Radio and the Big Beast
by Charlie Lamb

I don't normally listen to the radio when I'm driving. Hell, I don't listen to it much anytime. But this was a long trip and I'd about run out of idle diversions. The last side of the road critter I'd seen besides a  ton of dead racoons was a nice little buck whitetail who had nearly gotten courted right into oblivion by his girlfriend of the moment. She showed better sense at the last moment and buttonhooked back into the brush as I breezed by at 75 miles an hour.
 
That had been way back before crossing from Missouri into Oklahoma and I was now into northern Texas. A little entertainment sounded like a winner.

I surfed past the usual assortment of talk shows and hellfire and brimstone preachers. Paused for a few minutes on Lynard Skynard, singin along happilly until it faded into annoying static and searched on.

Moments later the plaintive, sing between the notes style that could only be Willie grabbed me by the ears and made me turn up the volume. Now if I gotta tell ya who "Willie" is, then you might just want to tune out here. Hell, everybody knows Willie!

One tune after another, the songs played on. Not just any old urban cowboy, rock and roll wannabe country music either. This was real, by God, country and all the artists were from Texas. I'd found Texas Radio. I set the dial and never touched it the rest of the trip.

The music suited my mood. It was a mood I'd experienced before. Up and positive and alive. It was like there was something in the very air down there that kinda got ya high. I don't know how else to explain it. I'd felt it every other time I'd come to Texas, but mostly when I'd traveled south of Dallas. The further south I got the better I felt.

Of course I was going hunting and that's always cause for a smile. This time I was headed south of San Antonio to hunt with my pal Curtis Kellar. He'd regaled me with tales of wide racked south Texas bucks, bristling javelina and beligerent boars for months till I'd loaded my recurve and a few dozen broadhead arrows and hit the road. This was gonna be a hunt to remember. I was sure of that.

I got pretty lucky with my arrival time, pulling in within minutes of when I'd said I would. My friend Curtis Kellar soon had us tucked in a booth at a local eatery wrapping ourselves around unamed Mexican goodies and occasionally eyeing the hip pockets of the winsome, dark eyed waitress. Ah, the joy of road trips!

Between bites of Taco and sips of sweet tea, he brought me up to date on the hunting situation. All systems were go and we had a plan. We both knew plans could change without notice, but who cared.

With more lunch in me than I really needed I followed Curtis to the local feed mill for my permits and then home, where we quickly changed into our hunting clothes and headed out to check on the situation on his place.
 
I admit to being a little disappointed at first. There wasn't much action at the feeders. It wasn't supposed to be that way! No, everyone knows hunting Texas feeders is a piece of cake. Right!!  The hogs had gone someplace else it seems and deer sightings were sparse. We'd give it a shot anyway! I  set my pop up blind on the down wind side of the feeder with the most sign and we pulled out. The serious hunting would start in the morning. For tonight we would go to a nearby ranch and scout around.
 
That nearby ranch was typical as far as the terrain for this area was concerned. Rolling hills dotted with patches of prickly pear cactus, scattered pecan trees, lots of mesquite and wesatch. Rabbits were supposed to be everywhere too, but they were elsewhere on this afternoon.

It had gotten late on us and we would be running out of daylight a lot quicker than we had planned so we mostly just walked along trying to jump a cottentail with the hopes of running into a hog. I was enjoying myself alot and gradually shaking off the effects of the long drive. "Truck Lag" is what I'd come to call it. Being on my feet moving around and a good nights sleep would have me in fine shape for the next day.

Along about half an hour before dark we turned and started moving toward the truck. Curtis was pointing out the different plants and their importance to the local wildlife. The man is a wealth of information and knows his home country intimately.

He pointed to a thick green bush and commented on how you'd usually find an Armadillo burrow under them. Sure as anything, the first one we checked out had a burrow under it. He also told me that you could get away with about anything as far as a "dilla" was concerned escept being winded. Seems the little rascals will bolt when they get a nose full of human scent.

I was more than a little interested in seeing an Armadillo. I'm not really sure why, but I'd always wanted to shoot one. Maybe I just figured the best way to inspect one was to run an arrow through one. I'd only ever seen them on their backs, dead on the hiway and I wasn't about to mess with one of those.

As we moved along we spread out trying to find one. Curtis was about 20 yards away, through the brush. In the gathering gloom and quiet of the evening, I heard the unmistakable sound of an arrow striking something hard. Funny, I hadn't heard the bow at all. I shouldn't have been surprised. Curtis was carrying a little bamboo backed osage bow I'd made for him. Those wood bows are always deadly silent.

"I got one", I heard Curtis exclaim. One what? I thought to myself. I rushed over to see just what the ruckus was about and found him kneeling in the grass holding down an armadillo. His shot had been on the mark, but as I was to find out, they are tough little hombres. We soon dispatched him.
 
With darkness growing, we started making time toward the truck. Suddenly Curtis hissed, "Armadillo"!  I saw an indistinct shape in the grass and drew a blunt tipped arrow from my bowquiver. Watching closely I waited as the little beast worked closer, waiting for him to turn my way. As his body angled toward me, I sent the steel blunt into the junction of neck and shell. It made a loud pop, penetrating well.

What I expected didn't happen at all. My 70# recurve has accounted for a lot of tough critters over the years. I just knew he'd roll over and die. WRONG!! He flopped a couple of times, got his feet under him, bounced straight up about two feet and damn near ran over me trying to get away. Man, can they run!
 
In the mean time, Curtis stood watching in disbelief. He had known what to expect and fully thought I'd pounce on the little beggar as soon as the arrow hit. Lesson learned for me. I doubt we'd have found his hiding place if it hadn't been for the white fletch of my arrow sticking up in the darkness, but after a short search, we found him.

We finally got back to the truck with our prize. I'd been hunting in freezing temperatures before I left home and I wasn't prepared for the warm weather in south Texas. My T shirt was drenched with sweat and beaded up on my forehead. I was ready for something to eat, some couch time and a cold beer. Not nesecerailly in that order!

I guess anyone who has done as much reading about hunting in Texas as I have has had concerns about rattlesnakes. I was thinking about them a lot the whole time we were in the brush. Matter of fact, it was a little distracting to my hunting. I was spending too much time watching the ground. Curtis reassured me that they weren't that thick, that he'd not seen one in months. I tried to take comfort in his words. He should know.

It just so happened that when we pulled into his drive, Curtis wanted to show me all the rabbits that would surely be cavorting around the barn yard. He swung the truck around the barn and as we rounded the corner, the headlights shone on a long straight form in the short grass. Rattler! Hmmmmmm!

It was a pretty good sized snake and Curtis wanted his hide. Seems he's got a bunch in the freezer and uses them for bow backing and trading material. He jumped out of the truck and approached the snake
 
Normally he'd have snatched it up by the tail and slammed it back on the ground, but he didn't like the attitude of this snake. He made a couple of false starts, but backed off each time. Finally he grabbed the new bow I'd just given him and pinned the snakes head to the ground. Well, that's one use of a good bow.

Shortly we were bagging the headless varmint and adding it to the stash of buzztails in the freezer. Let's just say that I wasn't reassured by seeing a rattler so soon, let alone it's presense so close to the house. Curtis' advice on the matter? "Just don't walk around the yard in your bare feet!"  Duh!!!  

We were up and away before first light the next morning. I headed for the pop up blind we had set up the afternoon before. A heavy dew made walking in the deep grass a silent affair, but soaked my pants half way to my knees.
 
I had a favorable wind as I approached the blind and aside from the zipper noise opening the door, all was silent. A quick sweep of the interior assured me that no snakes awaited my arrival and I settled in for the morning.

As the light grew in intensity I peeked anxiously through the mosquito netting windows, anticipating the arrival of a huge south Texas whitetail buck or a strapping wild hog. It didn't quite work that way. There were a few little song birds of unknown breed and a few mourning doves lit just outside the blind where I couldn't see them.
 
I found that the three legged stool I'd brought to sit on wasn't quite up to the task. One leg found a soft spot in the rich black soil and threatened to dump me unceremoniously. I wrestled with it a bit until I had it stable, but it was uneven at best and my knees were soon aching from the tension I had to maintain to stay upright.

I knew from past experience that I'd have to shoot off my knees in the event something did show up and wondered if I could get off the stool quietly. It really didn't matter since nothing showed up at all.

Around 9:30 I headed back to the house. Curtis was there and waiting for me. We grabbed a bite of breakfast and headed to his shop to look around and fix up a couple of Curtis' arrows. I always enjoy poking around in another man's shop. It's interesting to see how he takes care of tasks and the tools he uses to take care of them.
 
Curtis' shop was simple, but complete. Actually much nicer than my own, though I bet it gets plenty hot in there in the summer.
Next stop was the yard and a short practice session.
 
I had my old reliable recurve "Scar", a 68# osage limbed beauty that had accompanied me on many hunts. Curtis had the new bamboo backed osage bow I'd make him. I'd originally called it " Pig Sticker" in hopes that it would take a couple of hog for him, but Curtis later named it "Shell Cracker" after his first shot with it on the armadillo. Suited me fine. Very appropriate.
We made a trip into town to take care of some business, grabbed a burger while we were at it and talked hogs and deer, getting back to the rancherita just in time to take up our afternoon stands.

My time in the pop up was a repeat of the mornings hunt. Nothing but birds were to be seen. Even those were scarce and I can't say I really like being enclosed in a blind like that. Your veiw is very restricted, though scent is somewhat contained and movement is not a problem. It was kind of like trying to enjoy the great outdoors from inside a cave.

Walking out in the dark I thought of the rattlesnake we'd killed in the yard the evening before. I just hoped I wouldn't find one on the path I was taking.

We gave the feeders one last go the next morning with the same dismal results. Who says hunting feeders is a piece of cake?
After breakfast we switched strategies. A short council of war was held  and it was decided that Javalina would become our focus, with deer the second option.

About 3 in the afternoon we headed for the lease that Curtis keeps. He's got a little cabin there with all the comforts a bowhunter could want. Screened windows, beds and a small television. The lights and TV were powered by a small solar generator. This guy is resourceful!

Easing along a bush hogged trail we failed to see any "Javies" as we approached the stands. Curtis had found them bedding under the stand I was going to set so we had high hopes for success. The only thing that showed up were the myriad mosquitoes that Curtis had warned me about. They lived up to their reputation and were quite assertive. Fortuneatly I'd taken the precaution of covering all exposed skin with a high DEET repellant and they weren't really a problem.

Just before dark I heard a deep grunt off in the brush someplace. I couldn't pinpoint it's location, but it did sound close. I waited in anticipation till dark and walked out to rendevous with Curtis. He'd had no better luck than I had, but had also heard the hog grunt.

Sunday we hit a different property. It looked good from the beginning.

We waited till pink light was coming on and slipped off into the brush. This time Curtis was carrying his rattling antlers. We'd try a little calling for deer. We could have been out there stabbing spiders with a fork, for all I cared. I was having a blast.
 
Still hunting is usually a solitary affair. Very seldom do you find a partner who is in tune and doesn't double the noise you usually make by yourself. Curtis and I glided along down an old road bed as silently as ghosts for maybe two hundred yards till we came to the junction of several old fences. There was a gap at that point and heavy sign of nearly all the types of game we might encounter in the area. It was a natural funnel and a perfect place to rattle.

I took up a position down wind of Curtis overlooking the funnel and tucked myself into some brush. Though only 25 yards away from me I couldn't see Curtis, but when he started his rattling sequence I sure as hell could tell where he was. The boy has a very unique and agressive rattling style.

Getting into position he lays down on the ground with the rattling antlers in hand. Raking a nearby bush with the horns to start, he then clashes them together and at the same time starts kicking brush and pounding his heels into the dirt. It is very realistic. VERY!

After a couple of minutes he went silent and took bow in hand, waiting for any approaching buck. I was expecting a buck to come bouncing in and had it in my head which direction he would come from.
 
A quick and low movement on the other side of the brush I hid behind snapped me back to reality. A coyote was rushing into the fence gap, closing the distance at a run. No time for stealth, I swung my bow into position and started my draw at the same time.

In hind sight (always 20/20) I should have let the coyote pass, since he would have turned toward Curtis, offering me a quartering away shot. But I didn't do that and the dog caught my movement instantly and wheeled back behind my concealing brush and was gone.

Minutes later Curtis went into another sequence. He continued the rattle, wait, rattle, wait routine for half an hour and then eased out to meet me. Surprised that he had rattled in a coyote, I showed him where the yodel dog had turned to run away. It was a measured ten feet from the end of my broadhead.

We conversed in whispered tones and then melted off into the wind to set up again. We drew in neither coyote or deer at the next stand.

The morning was quickly slipping away from us and the bright Texas sun brought beads of sweat which grew till gravity and their own weight sent them running down my face. I slipped out of my longsleeve T and tied it around my waist. There was one more spot Curtis wanted to call from before it got too late and too warm.

Once again we eased forward into the wind, through mesquite past bushes covered with grandfather's beard and around the odd cactus patch. With me in the lead, we padded silently forward.
 
A movement to my right caught my attention. A coyote was trotting past us at about 20 yards. We must have been very silent or it would surely have heard us and we'd never have been aware of his presense.

I came to a stop with Curtis tight on my heels. He hadn't seen the dog, but knew by my actions that something was up. As the coyote disappeared behind of curtain of grandfathers beard I dropped to my knees and nocked an arrow. I knew Curtis was doing the same.

Pressing my fingertips to lips I gave a soft mouselike squeek and returned my fingers to the bowstring. Fifteen yards ahead I saw the grandfather's beard quiver slightly. He was coming!
 
Even as the coyotes head came into veiw I was approaching full draw and as he hove to a stop in full veiw I let the string slip. The Magnus I tipped Douglas Fir shaft slammed into him and he disappeared behind the brush.

Curtis and I sprinted forward. He going right and me going left. Without thought we each drew an arrow full and delivered them criss cross through the coyotes chest. He gave out a short plaintive howl and it was over.

Sharp to the ways of the canny beasts Curtis snatched another arrow from the quiver. I did the same reflexively as we scanned the surronding brush.

Quick as thought a second coyote flashed through the brush and mesquite 40 yards away. It had spotted us and was running to our downwind side and quickly cut our scent and was gone. We relaxed and each broke into an ear to ear grin. We had just shared a rare and very special moment as a bowhunting team. For the moment we were the Thompson brothers, Pope and Young and it was heady stuff.

We took a break and forgot about deer and how much noise we were making and got some photos of our prize. Examination of the coyote showed the follow up arrows to be unnecesary as the end had surely been just seconds away for the coyote.

 

After our rest we continued to a small pond that Curtis knew of. It was a place that he had been to many time before, but like many place I've been, it proved to be illusive in the featureless, flat brush country. Curtis finally spotted a tall Pecan tree which served as his landmark for the pond and we were soon easing up over the bank.

Deer trails and the tracks of hogs were everywhere. This was a honey hole of activity and an obvious attraction in a land short on water. We squatted near the bank talking in low tones and surveying the area.

A Kingfisher flitted along the bank 50 yards away. A great blue heron glided in and lit along it's shallow shoreline and a Mexican eagle flapped noisilly overhead.

Suddenly Curtis came to attention and told me he'd heard a stick break across the pond. Then I heard it. An unmistakable snapping of a large branch. It had to be a hog. Then we saw him. Deep in the shadows 60 yards away stood "the beast". A hog of huge proportions. I thought about my heavy recurve and the razorsharp broadheads it pushed so effectively and for a moment a seed of doubt entered my thinking. The damn hog looked like a tank.
 
I thought of the famed fighting shield that boars are known to have and how thick and tough it must be on an animal this size. Would the wide Magnus I's penetrate deeply enough to do the job. I wanted this animal alright, but I wanted it done cleanly with a dead hog at the end of a copious blood trail. I was too old and too clumsy to avoid a close encounter with an angry hog and this one could cause some serious damage if you just irritated him. Hell, he could kill you.....no problem.

It appeared he was skirting the edge of the pond and would follow it's edge around to our position. We moved quickly to a downwind location. I set up 10 yards from the pond edge and Curtis backed away to watch.

Like so many plans this one was doomed through no fault of our own. Even though I waited an hour or more the hog failed to appear as anticipated. I finally dropped back and circled in the direction where I'd last seen the hog. Maybe he had bedded in the cool shadows along the pond. If so, I would take the fight to him.

I expected that Curtis would join me as soon as I cleared the edge of the pond, but that didn't happen. Continuing around the pond I found the obstacle that had kept the hog from coming. At least that's what I thought. A deep creek which fed the pond was between his position and mine. I swept the area with my binoculars, but the hog was not to be seen.  He was gone.
Not knowing where Curtis had gone, I decided that my best bet was to return to the last place I had seen him and wait.

I was surprised to see a stranger on this property, heading my way through the brush. He was wearing a white T shirt, jeans and carried a stick of some kind.
 
Well, it wasn't a stranger at all.....it was Curtis. He'd gone back to the house and changed clothes while I waited. The stick, as it turns out was "Sweet Spot", his hog tracking weapon of choice. It was nothing more than a pick axe handle, heavy and thick with the handle polished from handling. My respect for the boy was continuing to grow. As he explained to me with a sly grin, "it doesn't misfire or miss and works well in heavy brush!"  I guess he figured we were gonna have some tracking to do. I appreciated the confidence in my skills.

Before returning to the house Curtis had swung wide around my ambush, looking for an observation point. What he found was the bruiser hog crossing the small creek, heading for a tall patch of cockleburr. He'd closed the gap and at one point to 15 yards of the old hog, but decided his bow wasn't up to the task. Even with his razor sharp Grizzly El Grande's he could have been right. It was a lot of hog for a 45 pound bow.

Over a cold brew that night we discussed the situation at the pond. Curtis was sure this was an habitual hangout for the old tusker.   It would bear trying again.

Early the next morning we slipped once more into the brush as the sky began to turn a pale pink. Guilded in dew a thousand spider webs waited to drape themselves over us as we padded softly to the location we had started our calling from the day before.

This time the we entered out ambush even more stealthilly. We were developing our team hunting skills and they were coming along quickly.

I'd not be so foolish as to conceal myself deep on my knees, limiting my visibility and mobility. The same hiding spot would work just fine, but I'd remain on my feet. Curtis left me there and melted into the brush.
 
Several minutes went by when I heard the crashing of antlers and the thrashing of brush. Curtis was into his first rattling sequence. From it's muted sound I knew he had move a little farther than the day before. My fingers curled firmly around my bowstring and pulled lightly against the tight cord.

We had worked out the system the day before. Curtis would rattle for a couple of minutes and then watch for fifteen to twenty, then repeat the process. When he fell silent, I prepared to watch silently for the approach of whatever the brush would give up.

Hardly a minute had passed when I heard the sound of heavy footfalls and cracking brush coming from an unexpected direction. It was coming fast! I swung to meet what must surely be a monster hog. The noise was too loud to be a deer unless it was on it's death run and carried one of Curtis' arrows.

At that moment Curtis burst from the brush. I hardly had time to collect my thoughts and make any sense of what was going on when he grabbed my right hand and started pumping it like the proverbial pump handle. "Oh man, I shot a cat.... a bobcat.... a BIG bobcat!", he stammered. A thrill ran through me like a jolt of electricity. COOL!!

It took a few minutes for Curtis to collect himself. This was the trophy of a lifetime for him and I was getting to savor it with him.
We finally entered the brush and approached the spot where the shot had been taken. It was barely 20 yards from me and I'd never heard the shot. The big cat had come across a small opening that Curtis was watching when he first saw it. As it passed behind a downed log Curtis swung his bow into position. The next time the cat appeared Curtis was touching anchor and the El Grande was on the way. It crunched into the point of the bobcat's shoulder. The cat was gone in a flash.

We found the path taken by the stricken feline. A drop of bright red blood betraying his route. Further on more blood. The trail was getting difficult even as we expected to come upon the body of the cat. The brush had gotten impossible and the trail dwindled to nothing.

For and hour we searched here and there and back again. No luck. Finally we held a short palaver. Curtis' dogs had shown an affinity for helping him find game in the past. It was worth a try at this point.
 
Curtis would go to the house to get them and I would go off into the brush by myself for a while and try to find the pond where the big beast hog lived. That would give Curtis and his animals room to work and me time to court danger on my own. We'd meet at the house in a few hours and see how the each other had fared.

I have to admit to not paying as much attention to the country as I could have when Curtis and I had hunted through it the day before. Mostly I'd just played the role of the dude hunter and had been following Curtis' trying to take in the newness of the terrain without really seeing where we were going.

I did believe I could find my way to the pond without too much trouble. I had some basic headings in my mind and a compass pinned to my suspenders. I headed off into the brush slowly and quietly. There was always the chance that something, anything could appear at any moment and that always makes hunting exciting. It was more about being there than getting somewhere. If I found the pond, that would be great, if I didn't, so what. My main concern would be finding the house when I was ready to come out.

Before long I came to what looked like an old slough. The dirt under the huge old mesquite was soft and moist there and showed the signs of recent hog rooting. I tried to orient myself with their direction of movement and padded ahead, alert and ready.

I guess forty five minutes had passed when I thought I heard a grunt come from a wall of brush and trees off to my right front. Sometimes I hear things that aren't there or at least never appear and sometimes I don't hear obvious sounds. I was pretty damn sure I'd heard a grunt, so I stood for a moment and listened. Once again I heard it. No doubt this time. A low hog like grunt to my right front.
 
I checked the wind quickly and jockeyed right to gain a little advantage if something did show up. I made it only a few steps and a large sow appeared fifty yards ahead of me and not far from where I'd heard the grunt. She moved at an angle toward me. Fortuneately I had a small bush between us for cover and readied myself for a shot. Curtis had told me to shoot sows if I got the opportunity. Even with piglets at their side. That seemed to be the general attitude of everyone I'd talked to about it in Texas. I could soon see seven or eight little ones trailing her.
 
I thought for a moment about how defensive sows can be with their little ones and expected she just might have a go at me if I shot an arrow into her. I'd need to make the shot perfect or go hand to hand with this sizable old girl.
She wasn't as big as the beast by any stretch of the imagination, but she was big. Big and sharp as a tack. She stopped often to test the wind and look around.
 
At fifteen yards I had her quartering on. No shot there! I slid around the bush as she looked away from my hiding spot. Suddenly there was a crashing and grunting and a red boar that I hadn't seen rushed past the old lady. He had been bringing up the rear of the convoy and had caught my movement. Hogs may have poor eyesight, but they sure aren't blind. Soon the whole bunch was underway.

The red boar hove to a stop about fifty yards away and for a moment I considered launching one, but thought better of it. "Do it right", I told myself, "or don't do it at all.
 
He only stood there a moment and was soon disappearing from sight with the rest of his companions. I looked wistfully their way and moved on. It seemed there was little chance of getting on them again.

I guess I went about ten yards before movement in the brush ahead brought me to a sudden stop. Once again a large sow squirted into veiw and once again the angle was bad. This time until the wind betrayed me and sent her and her flock running off in the direction of the first hogs.

I zigzagged through the cover the rest of the morning, working the wind as best I could. This was an absolute gas and I was having the time of my life. Eventually I stumbled across the pond and posted there for a while, but saw neither the "Beast" or any other hogs. I did scout around the area a little and saw clearly that the area was being used by several hogs on a somewhat regular basis. There were trails which clearly showed their tracks as well as those of deer. I determined to spend as much time in the area over the time I had left. I wanted a hog bad! It didn't have to be "the beast", it could be something much smaller. I just wanted one.
 
When I finally got ready to head back to the house it was a pretty simple matter to navigate through the brush from the pond, over to the road and on in.

As I walked up to the house Curtis and Debbie came out to meat me. I'd completely forgotten about the cat and excitedly related my adventures in the brush. Finally I came back to earth. What about the cat?

Curtis gave me a big grin and reached out to shake my hand again. He related how his dogs had found the cat when he thought all was lost and how thick the brush had been where they found it. He didn't think it was likely that we'd have even stumbled across the old tom where it ended up. We went into the shed where the freezer was and I saw it for the first time. It was a big one and a finer trophy with a bow than I can imagine.

 

The next couple of days seemed to fly by. Curtis and I continued our team ventures, but with less emphasis on deer and more on hogs. Curtis was tickled by my excitement over hunting hogs. It was a favorite of his as well and he had found a brother in the sport. With each foray into the brush, I learned more. Sometimes from what I heard, saw, or smelled and sometimes from the questions I asked of Curtis almost constantly.

I also got away by myself and that is always fun and maybe I learn a little more, a little more quickly that way. It forces me to pay attention.

For instance..... I knew that hogs were very nocturnal even in the beginning. I learned that they often bedded back in the tall cockleburrs where it would be impossible to get on them with any degree of success. I also learned that they would hold tight in their cover.

In one encounter, I had eased up to a large tangle of Grandfather's Beard. I hadn't seen or heard anything in a long while, but had jumped an unseen hog from just such a place earlier. He'd let me get right up to the cover before bolting out the other side. Now I was purposely hunting those hiding places.

The one I was approaching now was long and low and looked for all the world like a green leafy fence. Once again, as I got up close, there was a scuffling in the midst of the greenery. This time, however, it was different. Before there had been sustained brush busting and grunting as the pig deserted the cover. This time it was just a quick noise and then nothing. Could the hog still be there or had he slipped silently away?
 
All I could do was circle the brush slowly. As I rounded the end of the fencelike thicket I realized that there was a space behind it and another fence of brush behind that. I eased around with arrow at the ready. A clear lane ran up between the two pseudo fences. I moved to look around the second line of brush, but a crashing of brush and heavy grunting brought me running back around front.
 
I was greeted by the sight of a large red hog racing away from the brush. Dammit!! I walked casually back to the second line of brush and the same thing happened. A crashing and grunting and a large hog came out of the brush headed in the opposite direction that the first had taken. What a rush!

Well, the more fun I had the faster time seemed to slip away and soon I was bidding farewell to Curtis and Debbie. I'd made new friends and knew there would be other hunts. I'd met the beast and hunted him in his lair. I'd shot arrows, sweated my clothes wet and picked a million spider webs from my eye lashes. It was a hunt that I'll always remember and as I pulled out of the driveway, Willie was on the radio again....."On the road again, just can't wait to be on the road again.....". Amen Willie.

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