Today is Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It's not all about whitetails

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Bob Hamilton and his Wyoming antelope

Although we are in the heart of our deer season and amidst the best days of hunting isn't all about deer...or even hunting for that matter. There are a lot of outdoor activities besides hunting deer.

For example, the retired Judges, David Earl Durham and Bob "Backwards Tent" Hamilton snuck onto some land probably owned by my very former in-laws and went after antelope. The country around Bill, Wyoming can be confusing but even in the dark, it should not make you put the tent up backwards. But does that really matter? It doesn't to Judge Hamilton and besides, why go to all the trouble to turn it around when you can just walk around it.

Anyway, the recently retired jurists stepped out of their tent door the first morning of their Wyoming antelope hunt, walked around to the back, which was really the front, and watched speed goats come to water at a pond in the distance. After breakfast and a leisurely cup of coffee, they planned a stalk.

Down and around is a normal stalk out there. You climb down into a shallow canyon and walk around the bends, peeking over the top to spy your game.

So that is what they did. And it worked. I have hunted antelope quite a bit. Spot and stalk, they can be challenging. My history with antelope goes back quite a ways. In fact, I think I killed the first one over 45-years ago. I also did a little guiding for them. The last one I killed, I shot with a muzzleloader at a tad over 200-yards. That was about 10-years ago. They are fun to hunt, especially with a bow.

The judges each killed a fine, fat antelope and enjoyed the sun and wind of Wyoming. After a few days of shooting prairie dogs, a side benefit of hunting out west, they hit the road for North Dakota to shoot pheasants. They stayed in Judge Durham's house where the front door is actually in the front.

My friend Richard Simms from Chattanooga was in South Dakota shooting ducks and pheasants during the same period. That requires water and up there, they shoot isolated potholes for the ducks and big ole fields for the cackle birds. According to Richard, they limited out every day on pintails, widgeons and mallards. For some reason, I never tried any of that.

But back to the Judges. Hunting some of Dave's in-laws and a mixture of public land, they too killed some pheasants and had a great time. Now let me say this about pheasants. I have killed several and that is just an estimate. We had a lot of them on some land we had leased in Nebraska and I shot them some. I have tried to eat several. Not once, have I sunk one of my former teeth into a pheasant and said, "Boy that is good!" I know folks that love them. I have heard folks just exclaim about them. I just ain't one of them. I would much prefer fish.

Which is a way of segueing into this. Reports have been coming in regarding how good the crappie fishing was getting. And I hear they are also catching some bass on Priest. Also, I have a solid report of a bald eagle being spotted in the Barton's Creek area of Old Hickory. Hope he stays around and kills some of the shad.

My two crappie fishing buddies, Jack Taylor and Jerry Reed, recently ventured off to Kentucky Lake and fished with famed guide, Steve McAdams. They hit the weather perfectly -- perfectly horrible -- with high winds and rain but still managed to catch a few of those Kentucky "gooduns".

It is perfect for outdoor activities. Dress right and get out and enjoy field and stream.

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