By Larry Weishuhn
We met once again at the local gun store. “I will meet you at the little restaurant about ten miles south of town, the building on the east side of the road that looks like an old country store. You know the one?” The young couple affirmatively. “They serve a truly outstanding chicken fried steak, covers the entire plate! Matter of fact why don’t y’all meet me there at straight up noon. We’ll eat then go to the property. That too, will allow sufficient time to shoot their rifles before we head out for the afternoon’s hunt.” Sounded like an ideal plan plan to me, and obviously the two agreed.
A couple of weeks earlier I had been approached by the young husband and wife, now with me, who live just down the street from my wife and me. They had recently moved into our neighborhood. I had met them shortly after they moved in.
I was working in my garage, door up. On my garage walls are several mounts ranging from Cape buffalo to kudu to roan antelope and a variety of other African and North American big game. When we built and moved into our new home about a half hour’s drive from where both my wife and I grew up, we downsized a fair amount. Too, I had left behind a “nice” backyard office where most of mounts had been displayed. Today, some of them are housed in our garage.
When the pair approached, I was a bit uncertain what their response might be seeing my big game mounts. But then as they got closer I saw smiles and turned to introduce myself. Shaking hands, I noticed both seemed to be enthralled with the mounts. Almost immediately they started asking questions about where they were taken, followed by wanting to know how the meat from them tasted.
“Both our grandparents hunted. But we both grew up in big cities so we never really had a chance to hunt.” Stated the wife. “And unfortunately, my mother in thought shooting animals and putting their skulls and skins on the wall was barbaric. I guess that’s why my dad decided not to hunt, even though as a youngster he had done so.”
“Not everyone was deigned to be a hunter,” I interjected, “but all our ancestors survived because someone in their family group was a good hunter. who supplied meat to immediate family and those around them. Today, people sometimes forget that life on earth exists because directly or indirectly of the death of another organism. Even vegans and vegetarians eat things that are or were recently alive.” I said with a smile, noticing both nodding their heads in an agreeing manner.
“With all the things going on in the world today, possible lack of food in stores; pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics being channeled into domestic stock, we have been thinking about starting fishing and hunting, and learning how to process and prepare our own foods. Living in town as we do here, there’s only so much room in our back yard for a garden, and I think the neighbors would not look pleasingly if we brought in a bunch of goats, some chickens and maybe a milk cow…” said the husband. Now it was my turn to smile.
“Problem is we don’t know where to start when it comes to hunting. Fishing a bit different, it seems pretty easy and finding a place to fish around here with the lake up north of town that allows public fishing, so we can teach ourselves while hopefully catching a few fish to eat. Learning about guns, scopes, ammo, and hunting that’s a different matter.” Stated the young husband.
“If you’ve got time this coming weekend, you are more than welcome to come with me out to my place. We’ll start there. I’ll bring out several rifles both scoped with Trijicon scopes. I’ll bring some single-shots, a couple of lever actions and some bolt action in a variety of calibers along with a supply of Hornady ammo for each. We’ll go through the basics of fitting a rifle to the shooter, talk about sighting a scoped rifle, then do some shooting. While there, we’ll talk about matching caliber and round and load to the animal hunted. For starters we’ll shoot from a shooting bench, then also practice shooting from “in-the-field-positions” and shooting from a rest. I’ll bring some live-sized animal targets as well so we can talk about shot placement of putting a bullet through the vitals to bring the animal down as quickly and humanely as possible.” As I spoke I could see their smiles getting wider.
“Now here’s the kicker! There is a charge for this…” I hesitated and watched those smile trim down a bit…”You have to buy a hunting and fishing license before we head to my place. You’ll need those! While we’re at the property I have a small pond where you can fish, why I’m asking you to buy a fishing license as well.” Smiles returned to beaming.
“We’ve got a while before the whitetail deer seasons start this fall, but wild hog hunting is always open here in Texas, and once you feel comfortable with guns, and you’re welcome to borrow a couple of mine…until you get your own. Hogs are fun to hunt, although often quite challenging, and they are great to eat!” I sensed a bit of nervousness. “Not to worry, where I’ll suggest you to hunt the landowner will help eviscerate a hog and advise where and how to make cuts to get the meat home. He’ll likely even suggest ways to prepare it. For starters, let me suggest you get a copy of a friend’s book, “Hog Hunting, Kill to Grill”. It’s written by Luke Clayton with whom I do both outdoor radio and internet shows. You can get a copy by going to www.catfishradio.org. I’d suggest going on-line and ordering it. That way by the time we go to my place, you’ll have had a chance to read much of it. Then if you have questions I’ll do my best to answer them.”
With that I walked to one of my freezers and pulled out a packet of breakfast sausage made with venison and pork, a package of venison hamburger and another of whitetail backstrap steaks ready to go on the grill or in the frying pan. I suggested if they had any questions when they got ready to prepare a meal with either of those they contact me and I would be more than happy to provide a recipe.
Around another campfire I will tell you what we did when we got to my place, and then later how our hog hunt unfolded…
That stated if you do not have some one personally to go to, there are numerous opportunities for those new to hunting to learn about guns, hunting, field and table preparation. To learn more about these please go to: www.texas-wildlife.org, Quality Deer Management Association and your respective state’s wildlife department. Too, the FTW Ranch in Texas has an excellent New Hunter Program which takes a new hunter learning how to shoot, to shooting accurately, to a real hunt, plus learning how to property take care of an animal once it is dispatched to learning how to cook the meat of that animals, to learn more please to go www.ftwsaam.com. I would also highly recommend anyone interested in hunting and the outdoors to become a member of DSC, www.biggame.org.