Today is Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Rabbit 'n them and an axe

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The hatchet & knife I found in Hickman County.

I figured, if all you are going to catch are buffalo, I might as well tell some stories.

See, this is how it came about. I had some land leased in Hickman County 640 acres -- a section one mile square. It was rough, ridge and holler land, all hardwoods, no fields, one bad dirt road and a guy they called Rabbit. It was part of the land I leased for Buckhorn Guide Service.

I never knew Rabbit's real name. It was told, he was bad to drink, make white whiskey, grow and smoke marijuana, poach and fight. They told it, he spent a lot of time on the ground I had leased, said he had a still and a garden plot on it. Said he was thought to maybe be a little "strange".

I never met him...in person.

One day I found a charred oak barrel back up near a spring head. It was on its' side and sloshed when I shook it. It had a bung and I un-bunged it and took me about a quart sample. I gave some to a guy that lived up the road from my hunting camp and after a couple days, he still seemed okay. Since this was back in the days when I would still take a drink, I tried a taste of it. It was as good as I ever drank. I don't know who made it.

Then, one day I got a call from the sheriff down there. Said he was going to go on the land I leased and dig up a marijuana plot and arrest the guy that planted it. Said I should stay away for a few days.

And I did seein it was spring and this was before turkeys was everwhere.

Then, word came to me from some folks at Granny's Café that Rabbit was in jail and seemed to be upset with me. I had nothing to do with him and I couldn't figure out why he was mad but since he was in jail, I didn't give it much thought. I heard later, he went to Brushy Mountain or some place for 20-years. Anyway, I tend to be kinda like the weather. Don't pay much attention to criticism.

So, I'm walking a trail on a ridge, doing some scouting one day and come up on one of my treestands. Except it was not in the tree but on the side of the tree with a hatchet stuck in the middle of it. Couple days later, I found a kinda nice knife stuck on the gate post by my sign on the road coming in. Still got it, use it some. Holds an edge real good. I figured it was just some guy wanting to make a trade. So, I left an empty .308 casing for trade.

Gave me pause for thought. But nothing ever come of it. Nuther story.

Turns out, back in about '63, we are camped on a big Island in the Saline swamp, me and Uncle Lloyd. Fellow named One-armed-Willy Bush, a commercial fisherman in the area said he had been seeing a lot of deer sign on the island. Said that was where his father-in-law had chopped his arm off, (Willy's) with an axe and we could use the remnants of his old camp.

Said after his f-i-l cut his arm off, he threw that axe in the bayou to get rid of the evidence, father-in-law, that is. Said he thought he threw his arm in, too. Reckoned the turtles probably ate it. Been about four years since it happened so wasn't no big deal to anyone except Wily and his now ex father-in-law. His f-i-l was in Angola, anyway.

Great story, right? Stay with me.

Good light one morning, being hot and all, I decide to go fishing instead of hunting and I'm wading the edges of the bayou, casting for bass. I stepped on something slick and fell. When I got my feet back under me, I commenced to feeling around for what I stepped on.

Found this old poleaxe in about two feet of water.

Still got all three of them, the hatchet, axe and knife. And some glad I didn't find Willy's arm, too. Known some strange folks in my life. For the most part, got along with all of them, being somewhat "different", myownself.

Found a dead body once, too. Been dead a long, long time, didn't have much to say. Don't know the story but it didn't have nothing to do with me.

Heard later it was a Native American, what we called an Indian before we had to get p.c. Heard he had just vanished off the reservation some years earlier. I sure don't blame him for that. Don't know what caused him to be dead. I know I use to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned most people die of natural causes.

Found another dead body. This'un wasn't dead all that long, maybe three, four days. Female lady woman by the looks of it. Called the sheriff and he come and took care of it.

Turned out, she had been murdered. I could have told him that, knew it first glance unless she lost her head in the heat of passion. Don't know that ever found that but I quit huntin that ridge.

Maybe you can tell, the outdoor writin this time of year is just about down to usin TWRA releases. I don't hardly do that. I have stories to tell. Probably goin to have go float the Caney and do me a trout story.

But, dang, that was smooth white liquor.

Contact the author at jsloan1944@gmail.com

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