Hunting – July 29, 2011

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

I don’t kill anything anymore, well flies in the house but you regular readers know how dangerous that can be for Paul From Alabama and if you haven’t read this thrilling tale of daring do similar to the hunting tales of Ernest Hemingway’s great white hunters, stories of the tiger hunts of the Maharajahs of Old India or the famous big name safari hunters and guides of the late 19th century, early 20th century Africa who killed anything and everything that moved or twitched in the “Dark Continent”…..well here it is fellow gardeners for you reading enjoyment. (Members of the SPCA, Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals be warned, theres’ a slaughter going on in these stories) and you’ll be happy to know that the animal that nearly got slaughtered, was ME……:-)

Now for those of you that are interested in an alternative, prejudicial, biased, out right lying account of the same story you may want to read my wife’s version, but be warned this is the same woman who told me late one night after a couple of Screwdrivers (vodka and tonics) that she would do anything I asked her to do for the rest of our lives and I know how that promise turned out…….:-) So read her version if you can believe a single word this woman says…….:-)

But back to Hunting……. I was a kid from the city and when I moved to Piedmont I’d never fired a gun, touched a gun or even seen a gun, at least not at our house. I’d seen them on TV though and I loved that silver pair of revolvers that Hop-along Casiddy carried around with him. He must have shot a thousand men while I was sitting on the floor in front of the TV drinking chocolate milk and eating cookies, but nobody ever died when Hop–along Cassidy shot them. I never could figure out if he was just a bad shot or he was using blanks but when you’re 6 or 7 years old who cares as long he got the bad guys in the end……:-)

But when I got 14 or so my grandfather bought me a gun. A 20 gauge shotgun with real bullets too, the kind that hurt if you got hit by one, unlike Hop-along Cassidy’s ammo……:-) And so a hunter was born. Now I don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes, especially about Jews as I’m a Jew myself. But I’ve know lots of Jewish lawyers, doctors, salesman, entrepreneurs  but I’m the only Jewish hunter I ever knew or even heard of…….:-) But by gawd when I became a hunter I became a hunter. When deer season opened as far as I was concerned my parents store, The Fair Store, the way my parents made a living, the way I got money for ammo too come to think of it…..:-) Well it might as well have closed up when deer season was open cause I was in the woods…:-)

I killed my first deer up on Howard Davis mountain on some rock outcrops, a pretty place and I dragged that deer out of the woods, put it on a buddy’s Jeep and road it around town on the hood of that Jeep so long waving at everybody and telling them how I killed that deer that the meat of that poor deer was somewhere between medium rare and medium, I rode that deer around town so for so long on the hood of that Jeep. I bet I circled the Dairy King so many times with that deer on the hood of that Jeep that Dot Grissom might have thought of putting a bullet in that deer herself or in one of the tires of our Jeep if we didn’t quit circling the Dairy King with a then kind of smelly deer on the hood……;-) Poor Mrs. Grissom, how she put up with some of us I’ll never know, talk about the patience of Jobl Dot Grissom, every time I think of her I smile.

Now I want to tell you about my good friend Doc Purdy. He’d been going hunting since the Civil War and never, I mean never (at the time I’m talking about) killed a deer. And he was a good hunter, patient, persistent and a good shot but he never could kill a deer. And here I was fresh off the boat from Atlanta and coming from a long line of Jewish hunters……:-) and about the first time I tried deer hunting, I killed one. It drove Doc Purdy over the edge…….:-) I really loved Doc Purdy but it seemed the more deer I killed the madder it made old Doc Purdy…….:-) One caveat before I continue with this tale of blood and guts, I never killed anything, well one thing, that I didn’t clean and eat or try to eat anyways……To kill something and not eat it or make sure somebody ate is to me is a sin and well just not Kosher.

The one thing I didn’t eat was this Great Horned Owl and I’ll tell you why they call them the Great Horned Owls. Did you ever see the Japanese monster movie called “Rodan”? Well it was about this bird who got too close to some radioactive stuff and got big as a 747 jet plane and harassed all the good people of Japan for nearly two hours, the length of the movie before they figured out how to kill that monster. Well that Great Horned Owl? It was my “Rodan the Monster”, it came swooping down on me one day in the field and I got scared and shot it right out of the sky. To tell truth I don’t really know if it was swooping down right at me or just near me but whatever it’s now sitting on the piano in my old room stuffed and dusty after being on the piano all these years……:-)

And now how my hunting career came to an abrupt end. It’s a true story, as true as the fact that I haven’t killed anything since that day I’m going to tell you about except all the glasses of ice cold peach tea I swill everyday out in garden. I was over at the back water at Weiss Lake at my grandfathers house then and I was walking around the edge of the lake in the winter time just fooling around really but I had my gun with me……I entered some woods on a little peninsula that jutted out in the lake and sat down against a tree and opened a little thing of hot chocolate I carried with me. I downed that hot chocolate and fell right to sleep against that tree. And for some reason, the passing of time, fate, whatever I awoke. And standing not 4 feet from me, maybe a little farther was a red fox. Sitting on hits haunches from what I remember and was just looking at me. Now I don’t how long it had been sitting there looking at me but you can be sure I looked right back at him……:-)

My first instinct was to try to shoot it. I admit It, back then I shot anything that moved that didn’t shoot me first. But for some reason I just kept looking at the fox and that darn fox just kept looking at me. Now it wasn’t rabid or anything or even looked like it was. It was just as curious about me as I was about it. It had these black eyes, I can see it’s eyes even now. It’s beautiful coat of of red and white hair. Well it kinda more orange than red it my memory serves me. But it was it’s eyes and the way it looked at me that I was amazed at. And finally it just strolled off on its way and left me sitting there with my hands on my gun and my finger on the trigger. I never shot another living thing the rest of my life until today. And I won’t either. Not because I hate hunting now or anything like that. It just ain’t for me anymore. I just don’t want to or care to kill anything ever again. Now if I have to kill something to keep myself or my loved ones from starving, well then all the animals in this area better run and hide but that eventuality aside, I’ll never shoot another living thing as long as I live.

Paul From Alabama

Addendum:

My friend Doc Purdy died here awhile back. I miss him bunches. He always made you feel like he was glad to see you at the same time he loved to aggravate you. Not aggravate you in a bad way but aggravate you in a way that made you laugh and that you knew you were liked by him. I reckon if Doc Purdy didn’t aggravate you he didn’t like you…..:-)

Like I said, I miss him and whenever I think of what a good, responsible, hunter and outdoorsman is, well I think of Doc Purdy. He was the best.

Paul From Alabama

The comments below were transferred from my “old” blog as was the little story above with the date of the story as shown.

Friday, July 29, 2011

2 Comments 
Anonymous
Paul….
enjoyed the story and the headline sent me into a time spin…..and a faint notion of something that I had forgotten for years. Somehow, I have it in my head that as a youngster I remember you having the distinction of killing a three legged deer. Am I remembering correctly??? as it seemed to cause quite a stir among the hunters of the community. Also, did Doc Purdy ever harvest a deer before he passed away?? Still remember that old jeep that he used to drive when he went hunting.
Friday, July 29, 2011 – 07:45 PM
@Anonymous, You have a better memory than me, I remember the deer and you’re right. I shot the deer maybe a hundred yards away maybe less. When I got to it I saw it only had 3 legs, well 3 1/2 legs, it had been shot off I guess and healed up. When I told folks about it they acted like I shot a disabled person getting out of their car……:-)  I can tell you one thing, it was on the run when I shot it and it looked like it was moving just fine. But I’ll tell you the truth, it kinda bothered me too……I shot the deer and ate it and shared the meat with some other folks but that it only had 3 legs did bother me, weird huh?……And yes Doc finally killed a deer or more than one I think. I loved that old Jeep he had. He hunted with old fashioned guns too. Cap and ball guns or whatever you call them.
Friday, July 29, 2011 – 08:27 PM

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