country life · Family · Food · History · Hunting · Vacation

Hunting We Will Go

 

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Howling Game

It’s hunting season here. That means my wonderful husband will be off for a 3-week elk hunting trip with his friends. Once upon a time I was more into the hunting but not anymore. I thoroughly enjoy the enthusiasm and excitement hunting brings to Jimmy. He is the best!
Many, many years ago (warning, memory lane and ex-husband Dale story happening) we were on a lease at Travis Marks ranch in Fannin/Goliad Texas. He was an incredible man and the most fun to hunt with. Hunting on a working ranch is always fascinating to me. I love watching the ranch being worked and this family, including his wife was out working the cattle. I remember the 1st time I saw her in full face makeup and beautiful clothes on her horse working the cows. She sparkled and shined as she made it look like child’s play wrangling the cattle to be worked. The sight of her big convertible Cadillac with horns on the grill coming at you down the dark country road would bring a smile to my face, after it scared the daylights out of me. That woman could drive!

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Doe for Deer 1993 Travis Marks Ranch. Three layers of clothes in the morning!

On the ranch was a little museum that memorialized his family’s history. His father was one of the founding members of the Salt Grass Trail Ride. What an honor to have been able to see this memorial he had. He raised long horn that were used in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at the beginning of each rodeo performance. I learned a great deal about Texas history from Travis and his wife Linda. Dinner at the Empresario with them was exciting. Listening to the stories of not just Travis but his friends and neighbors made for an entertaining experience.

 
When Travis got a chance to hunt with us it was always entertaining. We once stalked geese on a pond, crawling on our bellies with our guns in hand as we came over the little hill trying not to spook them. He made sure my hunting partners always put me in the blind of the front pasture (Linda’s pasture). It backs up to the river behind the trees. Guaranteed to get a deer and since I hunted only for meat, I went for the does when it was the season. I would sit in the blind, wearing vanilla perfume, reading a book by a little light waiting for the sun to come up. Some days I just sat and watch the deer as they came out to eat in the early light. The smell of musk was incredibly strong on the ranch as the bucks marked their territory. And nothing made me crazier than being able to track deer for the guys, so they knew where the deer were crossing. Many memories were made on his ranches in the area. I shot my first turkey on his ranch. Dove season and quail was always incredible. Rabbits were not my thing, but the guys killed a lot. Those things can take over a field so quickly and eat the young sprouts. Once a little rabbit was just stunned and not shot. I took it and set it free while the guys were cleaning the dead ones.

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First turkey and pregnant in 1994.

And nothing like driving the jeep into town and forgetting about the rack on top as we drove through Dairy Queen for lunch one day. I don’t the think guys liked when the wives got together and headed to town. Always mischief to be had. I learned that rattle snaked jump straight up! First time I ever heard Dale yell. We chased turkey all over the Fannin property in the jeep. They are fast! Every year we had to take back the blinds from the owls who nested in them. Nothing like 6 inches of dead mice, rabbits and owl manure having to be cleaned out. Yuck! If you hunted you worked to maintain it just like the guys so we helped clear the blinds, fill feeders and mow the trails.

 

I hunted on Travis’s properties until I was too big and pregnant to get up and down the blinds. Then the vertigo set in and there is nothing worse than trying to get a big pregnant hot angry woman with vertigo out of a blind. I was so fortunate that we had a lot of game and fresh fish. We ate what we caught and killed. Dale would make venison sausage that was to die for. My family always wanted some when he had a chance to make it. I love fresh turkey cooked on the grill and loved waterfowl until I got pregnant. Made him cook duck gumbo outside that year. He is still a great cook. I learned a lot from him.

 

The first time I went duck hunting was not a great day. We were to hunt down in the Anahuac area there in east Texas. Dale of course had the proper gear and knew what he was doing. I did not! After an air boat ride we hopped out with the dog (named Trouble)and I was to follow him to where we were going to hunt. Yeah, well I stepped into a coypu (nutria rat) hole and sank clean up to hips. As I struggled to get myself out of the hole (he was putting out the decoys and Trouble ran around) the light was coming up and I heard him yell ‘duck’. So I ducked my head down thinking he was shooting. No, the ducks were coming in to the decoys around me and as I looked up all I could see was duck feet in my face. Scared the living daylights out of me. And Dale laughed. Yeah, I haven’t hunted ducks since except with Travis.

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Unhappy 1st duck hunt

And a little side note here, I was always told you shouldn’t wear make-up or hair products to hunt let alone scented anything. Honey, I wore make-up when I wanted. Vanilla perfume attracts the deer. I would hunt in high heel wedge boots too! Oh yes, when I wasn’t roughing it with the guys I dressed to the top for my deer. And I always got a deer when I wanted to shoot one. So, take that y’all!!

 
After my little walk down memory lane, I watch as my husband Jimmy packs his gear and prepares the trailer for his trip. This year they are heading to Colorado. I will miss the dickens out of him. But he deserves this trip and the break from work. Jimmy checks on me regularly and shares his adventures when he has cell service, so I get to enjoy in his escapades.

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Dead and gone

Jimmy brings home the bacon, the venison, the fish and anything else he kills or catches. Yep, still a lucky lady here. Jimmy and my step-son Nick fill our freezer with fresh fish and lobster each year.

 

And it is that time of year where I am down to just barely any meat left so Jimmy better get to work on filling it. Hopefully it will be some elk but if not, he always gets the deer and venison is our main meat around here. Jimmy is better at the hunting than I am as you can see and enjoys his time with the Texas boys, Jeff, Robert and Josh. Once he is back, I get to share his latest adventure with you. Then we will be off to Texas for the wedding and bow season. I love hearing Jimmy’s stories and the mounts on the wall of the Mancave. But for now, my heart aches that he is going to be gone.

 

 

Good luck to you, Donny and Mike! Love you, be safe and have a great time!

West Tx Buck Jimmy
West Texas Buck Baby

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