I get a second chance at Christmas. When the one here is over, I go to White Oak Plantation for a second one.
We gather every year, the Pitman family and a couple adopted members like me to share three or four days of hunting, fishing, storytelling and just, kicking back with friends.
Always, the weather dictates what we do most.
I noticed this year, some of us are getting older.
Seemed to me as though there was not quite as many gathered on the big front porch, waiting for the pre-dawn shuttle to the stands.
Also seems as though I was among the ones not eagerly in attendance. In fact, I did not go any morning.
When I first started going to White Oak, a premiere hunting lodge just outside Tuskegee, Ala., I was still young and bullet proof. I hunted, fished, helped recover deer-did whatever needed doing. I helped in the implementation of various sponsored industry, hunts. Over the years, I became one of the family. When more land was purchased and lakes built, fishing was added to the mix and I was right in the middle of that.
Now that the commercial end of W.O. is over, Robert Pitman, the interesting and dynamic force behind the success of W.O. and I mostly just kick back in the company of Addis, the monster dog.
We are no longer mad a lot of animals so we take it easy and try to keep the fish population in check.
It was as advertised-hot and windy with a great chance of rain. For a few minutes before leaving to go sit and sweat over a greenfield, I fished hard enough to fillet out seven vacuum bags of fillets.
That was fishing from the bank . . . just one bank. Then, being stout of heart, I climbed in the golf cart, drove to my greenfield and between naps and wiping sweat, made a perfect shot.
The old Savage 99 can still do the job and I got Jim Wilson a 92-pound doe.
Then came the wind. A gale. Fishing was almost impossible. But for Col. Robert Pitman and I impossible just adds to the fun. Even when the wind is so strong it killed the trolling motor battery, we soldiered on.
Cutting to the chase. When it was not absolutely terrible, it was just bad and I filled 14-vacuum bags with beautiful, dead fish fillets and killed two does. (My shooting was a thing of beauty.)
As you can imagine, it was time of kick back and don't worry about it.
I hunted a grand to total of four hours, took two shots, killed two does-92 and 112 pounds-and ate a lot of stuff that would make your lips slap your brains out.
Robert and I communed with Addis, (a dog of about 150 pounds who loves us both). We discussed and solved many of the world problems and all of the SEC problems.
Neither he nor I had a schedule to keep and Hilda and them kept us well fed. We rehashed many of the memorable hunts and fishing trips over the past 2.5 decades.
Bottom line-as always, great trip to The Oak.
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