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Old Ranger
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Joined: April 11 2010
Location: East Texas
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Posted: July 12 2018 at 10:07am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Now I just turned 10 when we moved back to the
reservation from southern California where my father took
a peace office job in an eastern suburb of LA. We spent 2
years there and I hated it. But we moved back as the job
there was done, the county absorbed the little PD, and
they had no use for a mounted officer.

It was like I never left. Went to the same house on the
prairie and I was knocking off rabbits quite regular with
that old Win mod 1890 pump .22L. Yup, back to normal and
no more stink of California! Leo showed up kinda
sudden about two weeks later. He brought gifts for
everyone and we had fun listening to my father embarrass
his uncle with tales of his adventures and those they had
shared. It was good to be home and fun to be with uncle
Leo. In Lakota tradition it is the responsibility of an
uncle to teach a boy things. Leo understood this even
though it was his brother who married the full blood
Lakota, Leo's sister-in-law. But he knew what to do.

After being with us for a few days Leo declares we're
going hunting. Just me and him. He borrowed my father's
spare horse and saddle. Talked a neighbor out of an old
Win M92 in 44-40 and a near full box of ammo. We packed
my father's packhorse with enough provisions for a few
days and bid the family adios. We rode northwest, toward
the Black Hills at an easy pace.

Along the way I tested the 92 on a cottontail and blew
near half a pound of meat off of 'em! Ate the rabbit.
Cleaned the gun with a string and patches from Leo's kit.
We cut a large game trail the next morning and Leo said
we should follow it and then split off at a raised spot
with cover. Few hours went by then Leo woke me up as I
was napping in the saddle. He pointed to a small hill and
said that was it. We unsaddled the horses and tied em on
long picketlines to graze. Then up to the crest of the
hill we go.

Leo and I laid on our bellies in the soft grass under
what could almost pass as a tree. We laid there for hours
then Leo nudged me pointing to the trail. About 400 yards
out was a pair of mule deer does following the trail
moving our way. And I begin to fidget and wiggle around.
I'm excited beyond belief. Leo grabbed my arm and said
"For God's sake boy, settle down! You're wound up like an
eight day clock! Calm the hell down." He hands me a WW2
GI canteen. I take a long slug of water and tried to
relax. Leo pats me on the shoulder and tells me it's
gonna be fine. "Think like it's a big rabbit. You don't
have conniption fits with bunnies. Shootin' is shootin'.
All the same. Just relax and let 'em come to ya."

200 yards out and the pair were just moseying along and
hardly ever pausing to look about. "Let 'em get right in
front of us. Wind's in our face. They already looked up
here once. Take the one trailing the other. Deer, like
most critters will turn and run the way they came if the
get spooked. They figure it was safe coming in. Oughta be
the same going back. Take your time. I seen ya shoot.
You're good. Your daddy taught you well. Now just wait."
Leo looked at me, gave me a wink, and never made another
sound. Only thing I heard was the slight wind and the
pounding my heart was making. I swore those two does
could hear it! But I remained motionless and waited.

80 yards, and they were right in front of us. I aimed for
that classic pocket behind the shoulder and squeezed.
Boom! The carbine roared and the BP smoke went right into
my face and eyes! Both deer were hightailing it the way
they came just like Leo said they would. Then I realized
I missed. I couldn't even look at uncle Leo. I was
ashamed of myself. He had such confidence in me. Then Leo
slapped me on the shoulder and said "Get up boy! We got
us a deer to track." And he was easing down off the hill
towards the horses grinning from ear to ear. I was
stunned. "But I missed em uncle Leo. They run off." I
said in a sheepish voice. Leo about started cussin' at me
but said this "Boy, you were shooting downhill with a
rifle sighted for a hundred on the flat. Ya hit em high
is all. But remember me telling you to aim for the exit
hole? Hell yeah ya hit em high on one side, but it went
through low on the other. You got a double lung shot kid.
Let's saddle up and ease on outta here and go find that
deer."

Twenty minutes of slow ridding following a bloodtrail
Stevie Wonder could track, we found my doe where she ran
and gave out just off the trail. Leo and I dressed her
right there. He handed me the heart saying "Ain't you
supposed to eat this or sumpthin'?" I smiled and replied
"I'm a breed remember? Some things got their limits uncle
Leo." Whereupon Leo burst into laughing so hard that he
had tears in his eyes as a result! Leo was still
chuckling some when he said "That's ok son. Your dad
wouldn't do it either when I took him on his first hunt
and he's a genuine half-breed!" Then he started laughing
uncontrollably again.

We got home the following day with a crowd of folks there
to greet up and get meat. My other great uncle, a full
blood holyman and WW1 vet like Leo, was there too. It was
a great day with an even greater adventure leading up to
it. My father patted me on the shoulder and as he began
to inquire to the field dressing uncle Leo burst out "Oh
hell Ted, the boy was just like you first time we went on
a hunt. Remember? You boys belong in front of a cigar
store if ya don't eat no deer hearts!" My father nudged
me and instantly replied "Nope, but we do like that
backstrap butterfly cut and battered though!" And my dad
winked at me and then feigned a swing at uncle Leo.

Some years later many of Leo's Lessons paid off both
hunting and in armed conflicts. Always keep your cool.
Aim for center mass. They'll likely run the way they
came. And don't eat deer hearts!

Edited by Old Ranger on July 12 2018 at 12:28pm


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"I am not politically correct. I don't apologise for being American. I stand by my country and have no use for anyone who does not."

The Old Ranger
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LAH
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Joined: March 07 2002
Location: In The Hardwoods
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Posted: July 12 2018 at 11:59am | IP Logged Quote LAH

Great story Ranger. Really enjoy your scribing.

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Rex
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Joined: June 01 2004
Location: ;Paxton, Ne.
Posts: 3554
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Posted: July 12 2018 at 2:12pm | IP Logged Quote Rex

I enjoyed the story also. Wish we lived closer and could just sit and talk over coffee.
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Old Ranger
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Joined: April 11 2010
Location: East Texas
Posts: 3734
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Posted: July 12 2018 at 3:22pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Coffee and my world famous Dutch oven biscuits!

Next installment in the life of Leo will be how he
learned to deal with the Kaiser's boys....

Edited by Old Ranger on July 12 2018 at 3:22pm


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"I am not politically correct. I don't apologise for being American. I stand by my country and have no use for anyone who does not."

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M700
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Joined: June 12 2004
Location: Washington
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Posted: July 13 2018 at 3:16am | IP Logged Quote M700

Good stuff. Put a smile on my face while my head & heart are a bit heavy.

Thank you.

Guy
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