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Posted: November 25 2018 at 6:54am | IP Logged Quote rich2

Bubba’s and other Rectal Cavities

     Two days after Thanksgiving and I reflect on the up-coming “first day” of regular rifle deer season which will begin on Monday.
     I won’t be a participant in this year’s first day frenzy. No, I’m not getting soft to the taking of an animal. As long as the game is plentiful and well managed, and the meat is used. Nor am I protesting any of the many rules, laws, and regulations attached to the hunt. In my sixty-first year on this earth I just don’t have the fever I once did. I remember my Dad (a woodsman and outdoorsman few could stand shoulder to shoulder with) saying to me, when I first held a rifle in my hand and felt the call, “Shooting a deer is the easy part, once you pull the trigger the work starts.” I have no qualms about “pulling the trigger” it’s the work part that I hold an aversion to. And when you think about all that’s involved, venison is the most expensive meat one can get. Guns, ammo, clothing, food for camp, the list of expenses could go on and on. Not to mention the cost of time. For all the above reasons and the fact my son or son-in-law will not be joining me I will avoid the masses of the “first day” and dutifully join my non-hunting colleagues and go to work. Oh, I will hunt. But just not on the first day or with the enthusiasm I once had as a much younger man.
     Many wonderful memories of hunting and hunting camp are embedded in my mind. The smell of the fireplace and a hot meal after a cold hunt. The stories told over and over each year by the elders of the camp of bye-gone days of hunting and life in general. These are the times I will cherish and remember fondly.
     There are, however, a few times that the memories are not so wonderful. Though not of hunting, I remember a time when I was a very young kid of about ten years in age. A neighbor took me to a skeet, or perhaps it was a trap, shoot. I remember it was a gathering of bragging and bolstering “bubba” men. (Todays skeet and trap fields are not like those of yesteryear. Women and young participants are a welcome sight on those fields of honor and whole families are not uncommon.) I was in awe and amazed as each clay “pigeon” turned to dust by the “bubba” men and their shotguns.
     Seeing me standing there with my mouth agape and eyes as wide as could be, my neighbor and a couple of the bubba men asked me if I’d like to try it. After a few moments of hesitation, I eagerly agreed.
     I was handed a shotgun that was longer than I was tall and probably out-weighed me. One of the bubba men assisted me in hoisting the mammoth musket to my shoulder and was told to point it at the “bird” when I holler “pull”! As it flew over, I was to pull the trigger.
     I stood there quivering in anticipation. How hard could it be? There is a lot of bb’s coming out the barrel. I couldn’t miss! No wonder the bubba’s made it look so easy.
     “PULL!” I yelled. The round fowl flew over, and as instructed, I pointed the gargantuan gun in the general direction of its flight and pulled the trigger.
     The next thing I know I was on the ground and on my back. Humiliated by the roaring laughter of the bubbas. Through the loud insulting laughter, I heard the bubba owner of the shotgun tell his brother bubba that he switched shells and loaded the gun with a twelve-gauge hunting round as opposed to a lighter shooting trap or skeet load. That tid-bit of information seemed to increase the roaring laughter and the humiliation I felt.
     A couple of years later I was ready for deer camp. I had been invited to go with my Uncle to a camp he had partnered with two brothers. Now these two brothers were not the “bubba” type. No, I think they were more of the loud-mouth know-it-all “rectal cavity” type.
     Being the youngest and newest on the camp roster, I was at the rectal cavity’s beck and call. I was the new guy. I was the youngest and I had to earn my keep. Now I don’t mind doing my part and share of the work but “earning my keep” was a goal I was to never achieve. Fetching wood for the fire, water for washing and dishes and keeping the cavity’s supplied in beers was just some of my “duties” that kept the enjoyment of camp to a minimum for me. My Uncle took pity on me when the cavity’s ordered a command my way and helped me out when he could but being a minimum share holder and voter, his protests went mostly unheard.
     That first day turned out to be bitter cold. I wore the old-style red plaid Woolrich suit that was all of six sizes too large for my skinny frame. The only boots I had were the rubber “barn boots” which had a piece of carpet backing in each sole for some small amount of insulation that my Dad had cut.
     My Uncle and I had scouted the area weeks before and I was standing on the spot that he and I determined would give the best opportunity for a well-placed shot at a wondering buck.
     I was told by my Uncle, before he took off for his own “spot”, to stand as still as I could and not to move least I scare off any weary deer in the area.
     It didn’t take long in the bitter cold and wind for me to feel the cold. It wasn’t more than a short time after day break that my feet and toes began to get cold and by about eight or nine my toes were numb, and I was shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t have shot a deer if it would have stopped to ask directions. I had to move. I was cold to the point of not caring if I saw a deer or not and now my toes were hurting from the cold.
     After an hour or more of walking in circles, jumping up and down on my frozen toes, and other woodland calisthenics, I was able to keep myself from becoming a plaid popsicle.
     It was a long cold time until noon when my Uncle showed up and by then I couldn’t have cared less about hunting. I was cold and shivering.
     Seeing my wandering tracks in the snow Uncle Max asked if I was cold. Through my blue and quivering lips, I told him I was. He smiled an understanding smile at me and said the rest of the guys have a fire going and are waiting for us.
     It was about a twenty-minute walk back to the spot where the two cavities had built a warm fire and were waiting with a whole new repertoire of insults and put downs for me. All in the name of good-natured fun.
     Now I can take insult and kidding as well as the next guy, but the two cavities were just cruel. “You look cold boy.” “You should have dressed warmer.” “I bet you didn’t stay in your spot did ya?” And on and on they went. Nothing I could do was right and all I wanted was to get warm.
     Half way through my cold and flattened bologna sandwich there was a shot. It came from very close by. Just over a small ridge by our fire spot. It wasn’t more than a couple of seconds a small herd of deer ran into our view and were close enough to almost shake hands with.
     My Uncle and the two brother cavities picked up their guns and waited for the opportunity of a buck to show up. I however froze. Not wanting to scare the deer for the rest of the crew, knowing that my gun was out of my easy reach and to attempt a retrieval would most certainly spook the herd into a speedy retreat.
     That did it. After the deer had passed by, I took the verbal abuse. “Why didn’t you get your gun?” “You’ll never be a hunter like that.” “You didn’t even try to get your gun.” On and on the verbal abuse went well into the time Dad came out to pick me up and take me home later in the evening. I remember it being a long silent ride home.
     Years went by and for some reason I continued to go to camp for the first day rituals and even looked forward to it. I had grown into my twenty’s and each year the verbal torment continued. But by then I learned to ignore the two rectal cavities and even gave them my share of verbal torment in retaliation. But I never out grew the stigma of being the youngest and newest member of camp and I never would. So, the tasks of water, wood, and beers, and anything else the cavities wanted, were expected for me to fulfill.
It was the season of 1983. The year I got my sweet revenge. I showed up at camp not with rifle but with a handgun. A .44 Magnum Ruger Redhawk. Now the rectal cavities had new fodder for ridicule. (You see, up until and including that point in time, I hadn’t gotten a decent shot at a buck and had never sent in for an antlerless license or “doe tag”. I was always very firm about making a swift kill and to this day, I will not take a shot unless I know the animal will not endure undue suffering.)
     “You haven’t even got a buck with a rifle! How you ever going to get one with a pistol?” “You’ll never get a deer with that.” Again, on and on went the ridicule and continued into breakfast the next day. I was just about to tell the two rectal cavities to perform an act of impossible contortion when I decided to just finish eating and go hunting.
     I was walking to my stand along the banks of Bear Creek in Elk County. I was about a few hundred yards from my spot on a clear and open foot path. Something caught my eye to the right and I froze. A nice six-point buck was making his way down the hill side and was unaware of my presents. With head down, he was sneaking my way about twenty yards or so ahead.
     I managed to unholster my Redhawk and cocked the hammer quietly as the buck snuck further down the hill. I slowly raised the gun up and got it in the general vicinity I thought the deer would cross.
     As soon as he got to the open pathway, he stopped broadside to me and stared right at me. It was a text book stance and I knew if I didn’t hurry and take the shot he would be gone.
     The gun roared and recoiled. The deer dropped and never moved. I had my first buck! I shot him with a handgun with open sights and my own handloaded cartridge.
     I approached the deer with caution to make sure he was dead. He was. I had made a perfect heart/lung shot. Seeing the spray of blood on the snow I felt a small twinge of remorse for the majestic creature and hoped he hadn’t suffered. And as I’ve done with every deer since, I took a minute to thank “The Keepers” for allowing me the harvest before setting off to tagging and field dressing my kill.
     It took me several hours to get the deer back to my truck and back to camp by dark where I learned I had been the only one at camp to get a deer.
     I spoke just three words to each of the two rectal cavities. “Where’s your deer?” My Uncle and my Dad just smiled. The rectal cavities didn’t.
     I continued to go to camp for several more years after that and harvested a few more deer until my Uncle passed away. But I did learn from those Bubba’s and Rectal Cavities and I taught my wife and children the right way to shoot and hunt. With patience and without ridicule and with respect for the life of the animal. I stand in the shadow of my Father and do my best to make him proud.
     (The Bubba’s and Rectal Cavities in this story are true and now long gone. If I have offended anyone. I don’t care. If you’re not a Bubba or Rectal Cavity, then you will not be offended.)

Hang in there.
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Posted: November 25 2018 at 7:23am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

This is one of the reasons I like and do hunt alone. I also don't like most public ranges and do most of my shooting on my own place, however, the one public range nearby I had been going to and still do is very friendly and all the RSOs there have always been very mentoring to new and inexperienced shooters.

Truth be told, I was never one of these types that needed a lot of human company and the older I get, the more I enjoy my solitude. I don't think I'd classify myself as anti social, but it's good to be selective about who you have in your life.

"The secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage."
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Posted: November 25 2018 at 8:25am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater


List of guns/ calibers I own.
Pithy quote.
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Posted: November 25 2018 at 8:34am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

This is why I have to wonder when I read all the stuff about "deer camp". I did 24 years in the Army and spent an un Godly amount of time in the field over the years. Why the hell would I want to go hang out in an austere setting with a bunch of rowdy guys now?

Opening day of the firearms season has become an almost spiritual experience for me, won't be able to this year, but there is something so surreal about sneaking through the woods to my favorite stand in the dark and usually dead silent calm of Winter, dropping below the ridgeline and climbing the tree to watch the sun come up over the lake, then the anticipation that a deer will almost certainly come sneaking through in the next half hour or so, usually close enough and unalarmed enough that I can hear its footsteps before I see it. I have to strain from that location to see the top of the grain co-op silo in the town on the other side of the lake, other than that, can't see a sign of humanity anywhere. Love it and wouldn't share that experience with anyone.

"The secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage."
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Posted: November 25 2018 at 8:55am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Sometimes I hunt with my brother. He hasn't quite grasped the sit quietly part of hunting 100%, but I won't trade those times for a deer, ever. A few times I've hunted with the wife. She gets cold quicker than I, but again, I wouldn't trade those experiences either.

I get what you mean about it being a spiritual experience, though, and about the solitude. Most of my hunting is done solo and for me, it creates a different sort of feeling. Don't think I have the words to quite explain it.

List of guns/ calibers I own.
Pithy quote.
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Alan McDaniel
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Posted: November 25 2018 at 6:50pm | IP Logged Quote Alan McDaniel

I was very fortunate that I leaned to shoot and hunt and do all things
outdoors and otherwise from my grandfathers and father. They made sure
that I knew the difference between right and wrong and that I was taught

They made sure I knew safety and that I learned to shoot well and long
before I ever hunted anything. None of us had anything to prove. It was
supposed to be fun. When it came to going out in the cold, they were not in
charge of that. Grandmothers and mom made sure I was warm and fed well.

I've hunted with friends and at the first sign of unsafe practices, it was the
last time I went hunting with them.

There have been some rowdy times at hunting camp, but it was always after
the guns were put away and the day was done. It didn't take me long to
outgrow much of that. Currently and for the past 20 years I have hunted
only with family.

Before that I ran a hunting lease. I became more than sick and tired of
dealing with things exactly like the OP and even much worse. I finally ran
them all off and we got civilized again.

Some of the men (and use that term in the most general way) who I would
have thought would be the most refined sportsmen turned out to be some of
the most rough and uncouth people I have ever encountered. Glad I don't
have to have them around any more. I wish nobody had to have them
around. But, South Texas is full of them this time of year.

Opening weekend was Nov. 5.   I still haven't gone.

But, I did load 20 of the 45/70 rounds that my new Henry seems to like and
I'm going to try and get my boys together for a weekend or a few days at the
ranch, just like the good old days. I tried to bring them on like my dad and
grandfathers did me.

I had more fun hunting with them than I ever did hunting alone or with
anyone else.

One year when I was about 16 or 17, my maternal grandfather set up a
dove hunt in the Valley and it was the only time I ever hunted with both
grandfathers and my dad. I didn't fully realize how important that was until
much later. That grandfather died when I was 18 and that window was

Teach young people well and bring them up right.


Edited by Alan McDaniel on November 26 2018 at 11:39am

Don't settle for less!

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Posted: November 27 2018 at 6:22pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

I find the cold gets to me as I get older.
Only went deer hunting for deer 2 days this year.
My wife went and took a ride in the Tahoe while I was hunting and some how fell on her back and head in the drive way....
So I'm not letting her drive anymore after she damaged
the 2004 325i beamer pulling out of a parking space..
Poor hunting up where we hunt. Only 1 buck, a spike taken between the 4 of us.
Now if they let me shoot a doe, that would have happened
easy but no crying over spilled milk.

NRA Life Benefactor Member
USN MCPO Ret. 1960-1992
Si vis pacem, Para Bellum!
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