Hunting Alone


December 26, 2002, 08:16 PM
Little fellow was staying at the Aunt and Uncles. Dad had drill that weekend, new sib was having a hard time adjusting to the world.

Young un' had shot 22 rimfire at a NRA sponsored range, learned quick, mowed yards with a push mower for ammo. "Gunny" had taken a shine to the thin lanky brat.

"Ok, I know the women folk are driving you nuts", My Uncle said. " You did a fine job of racking and burning the leaves, tell you what, I gotta put some time in at the plant tomorrow (Sat.), how 'bout I turn you loose on the back property with my single shot 22, and you get us some squirrel for the pot?" WOW!!

I had never hunted with my dad--he was always too busy. My Uncle had taken me out, Gunny had me over some, but for a kid to be set loose on his own--WOW!!

Daylight had not started to burn when we fired up the old truck, uncle bit off his cigar and commenced chewing. The canvas sleeve had the single shot, in a old green military pouch was some other stuff. "Here, you'll need this"-as he handed me the bolt for the gun, "and oh , knowing you you'll appreciate this". I didn't have to untie the drawstring from the leather pouch to know its contents. WOW!!

I headed off from the plant toward the woods, had walked the property before but checked the hand drawn map Uncle had sketched with the fountain pen-checked my compass and off I went.

I sat on part of a tree hit by lightening, my back against what was left of the old tree. I could hear the creek water down the trail. Squirrels making a rukus, boy the smell of that sausage and biscuit wrapped in wax paper--gonna have to wait. I slipped the bolt into the rifle, the 22 long eased into the open breech. C'mon, c'mon this side of the tree puh-leeeese! I had on my left little finger a circle of leather, using a nail I had punched a hole in two quarters, I ever so gently 'scraped' these two-bits together--YES!

As the squirrel came to my side of the tree, I ever so gently closed the bolt, unsafed the gun...plop! WOW!!

I had 4 squirrels, in the burlap tote. Beginning to rain and I could care less. I open the mason jar and drank the milk to wash down the sausage and biscuits, putting away my trash...what's this...a candy bar...WOW what a treat!!

Rained subsided, and I heard them cooing down the trail, I thought of the leather pouch and grinned.

I heard the Whistle from the plant--my signal to head back in. I removed the bolt from the rifle, took a length of leather and using slip-knots made a sling. Over the other shoulder I slung the burlap bag. BEEP BEEP, couple of the fellows from the plant in a company truck, "Hop on the tailgate, save you some walking...any luck?.

We entered the plant, Uncle grabbed the burlap bag, fellow workers curious to see what the nephew had. I went over to the corner by the fire, when my hands warmed up, I ran a thong and a patch through the bore with that stuff in a brown bottle and orange label. I wiped off the bolt, and lightly oiled both the gun and the bolt from a tin can with the same name--Hoppe's. Putting the bolt in a piece of wax paper ..."Hey what the devil are'd bullet holes". My Uncle with that laugh of his lifted my faced and laughing he produced my slingshot and pointed to the doves. "What, you run out of 22's", one of the men asked." Oh no sir, its just -well - I mean the longs are 23 cents a box...and I ...well I practice and , and they just a roosting and all...". My Uncle said that's allright, I bought those for you , but right considerate.

"Well lets dress 'em here", my Uncle said. About that time my Uncle's boss came in. Grinning he watched me as I handed my Uncle his Old Timer. " ain't gotta a knife?" I hung my head...raised up and " I lost it...its was just a cheap one...but playing in the woods, climbing trees ...I heard it fall...I never found it...leaves too thick".

We were finishing up dressing the game when the Uncle's boss came outside, he placed two cups of coffee on the tailgate. As I drank from the tin the thick black liquid. " Here son, I think you proved yourself out there today". He reached into the bib of his overalls and placed in my hand a yellow handled knife. Through my swelled up eyes and mist I read "Case Trapper". "Yep, them yellow one's easier to find when dropped". "WOW...err Thank You Sir!!" "And here, got some more of these too". I untied the drawsting from the leather pouch, he added some more ball bearing to the mix, "Thanks...Sir!"

I awoke when we turned into my Uncle's gravel driveway, clutching the new knife, the stick I had whittled on lay on the floorboard. " Well, go clean up and take a nap. I tell them girl cousins of yours to let you alone. I'll set Momma up with getting game ready for supper, ...gonna eat good tonight with 4 squirrels and 4 doves on the table".


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December 28, 2002, 05:52 PM
I tend to hunt on Thursday's in the Whitetail season. Alone. That gives the woods and deer 3 days to settle down from the weekend frenzy that comes with lots of people in the woods. In archery season I tend to sit stands placed at the edges of fields. In gun, I still hunt the log roads, ridges and field edges.

The most enjoyable part is that I get to go where I want, when I want to go there. I don't have to "push the gully" or sit a stand that I don't want to.

The worst part is I typically get deer when hunting alone. Its tough taking care of them by myself, especially when its a long haul back to camp. Its nice to have a four wheeler.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy taking my nephew out. I also enjoy the camraderie of a bunch of guys in camp.

There's just something about being alone in the woods...

December 28, 2002, 07:07 PM
I hunt with a friend - mostly, but we do not hunt together.

He goes his way & I go mine.

Everything I do affects me & the woods, noone else.

Other than my last conceited statement, which anyone who has sneaked around some knows in a second to be silly, I'll stand by it. ;)

I try to disappear, to have zero impact to what the woods are all about, to become as much one with it all as I can. I can't, even whilst being the consumate predator - without "ever being there."

I've touched a live deer while hunting (she did freak!), I've caught, by hand, a live BobWhite quail, I've caught too numerous rabbits by hand (jacks & cottontails) to count & still I've yet to "hunt alone."

God, how I've tried - better sometimes than others.

As with the rest of my life, I can't "hunt alone," 'cause I'm always there.

Silly probably, but I'm kinda in a silly mode.

December 28, 2002, 08:32 PM
Good story, re1973; thanks. I, too, prefer to hunt alone. I often go afield with father-in-law and son, but we promptly split up and hunt solitary. A whistle ... or a Talkabout radio ... can summon help if needed after taking a deer. My other kids are too young to hunt on their own legally, so my small game hunting for the next couple of years will be with young'uns in tow. But I prefer to be by myself in the wooods.

December 29, 2002, 12:16 AM
Good story. I enjoy hunting alone at times as well...up until I've gotta drag something nearly my size outa the woods.

December 29, 2002, 03:10 AM
What inspired to share,was I sighted in a22lr for a 10 yr old. Single Mom's gift to daughter. Little girl excited about having her Hunter Ed class earlier this year, going to be at grandparents during holidays. Grandad needs some rabbits thinned out. Anyway she asked at what age I had hunted and had I ever been allowed as a kid to do so alone. Hence what I shared.

Her mom's comment was"times have sure changed for gun owners, and society's perception of hunting and hunters". I believe this little gal is safe enough to hunt with grandad, and I bet if set out on her own she'd get just as much kick out of the experience as any of us would...even if she never fired a shot...just that kind of gal. Just conjured up nostalgia for me.

December 29, 2002, 12:16 PM
I'd say that 50% of the time Im hunting alone. When I go out alone I make sure the other half has a map and info on my whereabouts case something happens and I dont return. Also cellphones can be a lifesaver in the woods as well. So long as you have a signal that is......

Deer hunting is what I mostly hunt alone. Birds, hogs, turkeys and squirrels are usually with a buddy or my son.

Art Eatman
December 29, 2002, 12:25 PM
One of the things I like about my part of the country is that there ain't no cells. :) Shucks, even GPS doesn't work in Terlingua! :D

So when I'm huntin' solo in "my country", I don't have to worry about a bunch of other folks or four-wheelers or other city noisies. Having a hundred thousand acres to myself is kinda neat.

And it's great country to teach kids all about a really BIG outdoors.

:), Art

December 29, 2002, 01:11 PM
I've seen pics you've posted about "your country". Sigh...beautiful time out walking the property, think about the rest of us. Someday perhaps...someday.

One may hunt alone...they are not lonesome...almost spiritual.

Art Eatman
December 29, 2002, 10:40 PM
No "almost" to it. Lonesome country has always been like a chapel for me...


December 30, 2002, 09:27 AM
I stand corrected
Art, as usual you're correct..."no almost"
will always learn from the more you Sir.

Art Eatman
December 30, 2002, 12:23 PM
re1973: As a kid, I wuz little and scrawny; four-eyed and made good grades and my mommy dressed me funny. (Well, more "dressy" than jeans and tee-shirt.) I was a walking target for the bully crowd.

So, I got to where I just didn't like large groups, and every chance I got I was off to the woods at my grandparents', with my .22 rifle. I'd read all of Ernest Thompson Seton's books, so I did my own Injun thing...

"I didn't grow up; I just got bigger" and got to where I get along with people okay. I'm just more comfortable out in the boonies, is all. Any time of day or night, I can look up and grin and say, "Thankee, Sir!"

:), Art

December 30, 2002, 01:16 PM
re1973: Thanks for posting the story. I loved it. Of a time when people still had common sense.

Nowadays, the boy would be in juvenile hall.
Sarah Brady and Chuck Shumer would be hyperventilating in front of a microphone.
Uncle would be in jail.
Aunt would be at home, alone, when all the kids have been taken away by DCS and into foster homes.
Boss would be hailed by the media as a hero for stopping a fledgling murderer.

Sad state of the nation. :mad:

December 31, 2002, 01:32 AM
CRSam told me (email) that I wasn't old enough to be a "crunchity old fart"at 47...I do qualify as a "old fart". I take that as a compliment :D

I am so grateful I grew up when I did, tough times and all, but what I gained from that era is priceless. Art I do not know the book of which you speak, for me Ruark's
The Old Man and The Boy was both an escape and dream some day. I too had to be amongst the crowds, but getting out by myself , alone is special to me.

Frohickey: yeah we'd all get busted today. SAD
My neice is watching animated movies and I can pick up the influence of brainwashing at school..."Hunting is bad"...but then she gets her yellow water pistol and "finger off tigger"...poor girl getting mixed signals. I don't get to hunt much right know, but If nothing else I get out and walk a friends farm...for hours...cold, wet, wind...a man's gotta recharge his batteries somehow. to be out of school and in a place like Art's.

I guess that's why I enjoy new young shooters...gosh I hope the lessons stick.

Art Eatman
December 31, 2002, 10:05 PM
Ruark's "Old Man..." sure enough teaches a lot about ethics, doesn't it? And one of tne of the most poignant vignettes I've ever read is, "Not On Opening Day".

The sequel, "The Old Man's Boy Grows Older" is also great.

Seton wrote during the late 1800s/early 1900s. "Two Little Savages", "Yan In The Woods", "Trail of the Sandhill Stag" and "Wild Animals I Have Known" are among his works.

:), Art

January 1, 2003, 03:25 AM
I have (I think) the complete set of Ruark's work. Ethics, life's lessons, wit and humor. Born in 1955, I have about 4 or so Field and Stream magazines, Ruark has excerpts in those as you know. What's interesting --Same sound advice, arguments, and the like still being re-hashed today.

I'll have to check the titles you mentioned by Seton.

I guess that's why writings of yourself and Dave McC, hit home , some of this stuff don't change about hunting really--the hunter , ethics, sometimes get lost in the mix tho'

Art Eatman
January 1, 2003, 11:10 AM
How about Ruark's "Grenadine Etching" and "Grenadine's Spawn"? The first is the better of the two, IMO.

I used to buy books from a "Gerald Pettinger Arms Books"; haven't hunted for him via Google. Dunno is he still alive. African and US hunting stuff, gun books, western writings to include Mulford.


January 1, 2003, 11:53 AM
Sorry Art. Didn't catch this, digging through my books. I agree the first "Grenadine "better than the second. I'm sad--I lost some stuff last move--Hope I'm wrong, but some of Ruark didn't make it.:(

Use Enough Gun is missing. I GOTTA have that one;)

No matter how writer's of yore Hunted ,(alone, Safari...) , lessons learned passed on to others. Ethics were just as important if hunting Alone as they were with others. "to thy own self be true", not words--but practiced. Hunting is just one aspect of the whole being- comprised of RKBA, Constitution,BoR,ethics ...Keeping The High Road...just as important Alone, as with others--IMO

January 3, 2003, 03:38 AM
I almost always hunt alone. I'm pretty picky about who I would hunt with and I would never hunt with someone unless I had been shooting with them before. There are just too many distractions while hunting to be worried about your partner sweeping you with the muzzle.
While growing up, one of my chores was to go out to the back pasture to count and check on the cows every day. It became my job when I was about 9. I was forced to take my single shot .22 and walk through the woods, along the creek, and around the pond to get to the back pasture :D I took quite a few squirrels and rabbits when in season but my favorite thing to do was to stalk groundhogs. There was no closed season on groundhogs and they could could eat the end rows clear off of a bean field. It seemed like they were never more than a couple of feet their dens. You had to go for a head shot with a .22 in order to drop them before they got back into their holes. There was no chance for a follow up shot with my single shot either. I learned a lot by trial and error but, when you get to practice everyday, you don't mind missing a few shots when trying out new techniques. Man, I miss those days!

January 11, 2003, 02:38 AM
I can remember the first time my Daddy let me go out on first squirrel hunt. It was really something special to me knowing that I had earned his trust. He taught me alot about hunting and safety. When I was a boy I couldn't wait until the beginning of squirrel season. I stayed in the woods alot and became a pretty good squirrel hunter. We used to go on alot of squirrel and rabbit hunts together but we haven't hunted together in over 14 years. His job keeps him away from home all the time. He could sure use the hunting to get back into shape. I guess the last time i went squirrel hunting was with him. Now I have lost interest in squrriel hunting for some reason.I just can't explain why i have no interest in squirrel hunting anymore. I know other hunters that don't hunt squirrels like they use to. I now concentrate on Bird and Deer hunting. We must pass the hunting tradition on down to the younger generations for the sake of mankind.

January 11, 2003, 03:17 PM
Great story!

You took me back in time to memories of my first deer hunts.

The feel of rough wool on my neck, the sharp sting of frosty air in my nostrils, the heavy weight of the Marlin 30-30 in the crook of my arm. Learning and stumbling to learn how to read sign, how to not get your feet wet and carrying dry socks anyway. Being thankful that I learned to use a map and compass in the scouts. That first crackle of brush that heard close by and realized it wasn't a squirrel. The rush to shoulder the rifle. The flicker of motion a few yards away, realizing slowly that that flickering motion isn't a bird's wing but the ear of a mule deer doe standing otherwise motionless in the dappled sunlight through the trees. My beath caught in my throat as I was thinking "grow horns, darn it grow horns". She finally spooked and trotted off through the trees and a stod the for a moment, shaking a little as I put the rifle back on its half-cock safety and smiled. I ran all the way back to camp (where my dad was taking an afternoon siesta) and woke him to tell my terrible tale of daring do, showing off my skill as a proud hunter and tracker. He smiled, and handed me a cup of coffee. "I know you are excited, but next time wait a little longer, you might have seen her buck."

Some people just don't get it. It's not about killing.

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