Hide, Horn, Fish, and Fowl
Texas Hunting and Fishing Lore
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of North Texas Press
Title Page, Copyright
Some people seem to be born hunters. I recall a story F. E. Abernethy told me one time about his grandson, Jack, who accompanied Ab on a trip to the woods one day as he was readying his lease for hunting season. As they were walking along, Jack suddenly turned to his grandfather and said, with...
The Hunting Drive and its Place in Our Lore
GONE A’ HUNTING
That’s likely not the way it was written, but that’s the way I remember the lullaby sung by my mother—and the only one I tried to sing to my kids. Fortunately, they were too young to remember how badly I sang. I probably remember my mother singing it to my sister, five years younger; surely I wouldn’t...
MAKING A DRIVE IN BOTSWANA
Making a drive has been a hunting custom as long as man has been a man—and even before. When a community’s survival depended upon a successful hunt it was important that early man hunted for game in the most efficient way. One way was to form a long line of hunters spaced ten or twenty feet apart....
THE DECLINE OF THE POACHER AS FOLK HERO IN TEXAS
Either poaching develops good hunters or else great hunters make good poachers, but the two fit together exceptionally well. However, one cannot be both a poacher and a sportsman. Certainly, trespassing on private property to take game and fish is best done by the slob hunter, someone who thinks only in terms of himself, neither caring for the future of wildlife...
The “afternoon” was only slightly half-over and already that day’s sun, which could only be described as weak, waning, and indifferent, was seen scurrying over the southwestern horizon. Hiding in the lengthening shadows, the cold-weather gods, with little to fear, boldly strode forward, announcing...
FISHING TEXAS: A PASSION PASSED ON BY MY DAD
In any one genre of Texas fishing, I’m going to come up short, lacking in enthusiasm and skills to hold any fishing records. Say, large mouth bass fishing in tournament-quality lakes. I’ve done some of it over the years, and even been in the same boat with professional fishermen piloting bass boats...
THE ANGELINA CAT AND COON HUNTING ASSOCIATION: A SORT OF MEMOIR
In 1966, I had just reached my 23rd birthday. Contrary to the expectations of a good many of my high school teachers, I had completed an M.A. degree and had been gainfully employed as a psychologist at a state residential mental health facility in deep East Texas. Life was good. The future...
DENTISTRY, DEHORNING, AND MORE: SOUTH TEXAS WOMEN’S HUNTING STORIES
Traditionally, hunting has been the domain of men who hunted to put food on the table. As late as the 1950s drought, when life was especially difficult for ranchers in South Texas, my dad and his family ate more venison than beef. After the drought, until the day he died, my dad refused to eat any...
THE LORE OF HUNTING — DEER, HOGS, COONS, AND EVEN FOXES
I’m not sure of the first time I went to the deer lease; probably it was in 1970, when I turned nine years old. It seemed that it was just always there. Early on, I called it “deer leaves” because that’s what I thought the grown-ups were saying....
“NOW, DON’T THAT BEAT ALL!”
A morning deer hunt is usually over around ten o’clock. Even the most patient of hunters is ready to come off his stand and go back to the camp by that time, particularly if he has not seen a hair. I carry coffee, a pork chop, and a Snickers bar, so I can last a little longer, if I have a mind to. Under the best of circumstances, somebody has stayed at the camp and cooked...
HINKEL SHILLINGS AND THE RED RANGER
On April 21, 1941, terrible news passed through the crowd of three thousand at the annual state field trial of the Texas Fox and Wolf Hunters Association near Crockett. The nocturnal hunters of fox and coyote—“hilltoppers,” “moonlighters,” or just “plain old forks-of-the-creek fox hunters”—had assembled...
THE LORE OF WILD HOG HUNTING IN WEST TEXAS
In many parts of West Texas on Friday and Saturday nights when there are neither football nor basketball games, chronological or psychological adolescents and others—male and female, from ages about fourteen through sixty or way beyond—delight in roaring around farm and ranch lands after dusk in high-powered...
HUNTING JAVELINA HOGS IN SOUTH TEXAS
I learned to hunt with my father. My dad, Franklin F. Kelly, was born the grandson of Irish immigrants in 1892, and raised in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. At that time Ft. Smith was just across the Arkansas River from what was then Indian Territory, later to become Oklahoma. Ft. Smith was the last Army outpost, the...
JESS’S FIRST COON HUNT
When I was in high school in Hondo, Texas, I hunted for varmints all winter long. Furs were bringing good prices, and I could make some good spending money from selling them. Even though I was after anything with fur that I could sell, we always just called it “coon hunting.” There were three ways that we hunted back then....
FISHING LORE IN TEXAS
SKILLS OF THE RIVERMEN: WAYS AND MEANS OF MARKET FISHERMEN
Traveling down the path from our past is the only way into the future. With that in mind, let us look back down the path from whence we came....
THE BIG FISH THAT DIDN’T GET AWAY
In 1938, when I was eleven years old, my family moved from Arizona back to Oklahoma to Lake West, a community about ten miles south of Boswell and three miles north of the Red River. While we were in Arizona for three-and-a-half years, my brothers and father used the irrigation system...
OUR FAMILY FISHING TRIPS
One of my fondest memories of my Coney family is the fishing trips. Fishing was one of the activities the Coney boys loved. The “boys” were the four sons of Leon Josephus Coney and Ida Augusta Hawkins Coney. Their farm was located about five miles southeast of Ladonia, Texas. Not only...
FISHING FROM INDIANOLA TO BOCACHICA AND WATERS IN BETWEEN
In the early 1900s, on the banks of the San Antonio River near the little town of Choate in Karnes County, Texas, Dewey Lafayette Granberry discovered that it was fun to catch fish. Not only that, but fish added variety to the diet of a large family experiencing hard times. After his father died at the age...
Port Aransas, that island town off the Texas mainland, is, of course, surrounded by water. But even that is not enough for some people. They want to go farther than the edge. They want to go to the very end. And to those who do, the jetty is their route, a mile-long, twelve-foot wide stretch of old cement first...
YOU HUNT WHAT?! UNUSUAL PREY AND OTHER THINGS WE CHASE
JACKRABBIT DRIVES (AND OTHER TYPES OF RABBIT HUNTING) IN THE PLEASANT VALLEY COMMUNITY, FISHER COUNTY, TEXAS
Jackrabbit drives were conducted in Fisher County as early as 1920 and continued until after World War II. In The Picture Book of Fisher County, compiled by The Fisher County Historical Commission, page 192, there are two pictures of groups of men with guns that were labeled “Rabbit Drive, 1920” and...
RATTLESNAKE AT THE ANTS IN THE PANTS
In his book Rattlesnakes, J. Frank Dobie discusses with his good friend, Texas naturalist Roy Bedichek, the diamondback rattlesnake’s profound attraction to birds. I have come to the conclusion they were correct in their assessment, since most...
My cousin Bunk had a fine hunting dog that couldn’t be distracted off point. One day when Bunk went hunting with the dog, she disappeared from Bunk’s sight and he went looking and calling for her. He searched tirelessly, but he did not find the dog, and he subsequently looked for her each time...
MAN HOUNDS AND DOG SERGEANTS
In 2007, retired Texas Department of Criminal Justice dog sergeant Paul Whitmire tried to console himself with Beagles chasing rabbits, but the thrill was not the same. The little hounds made fine dog music in the hunt, but Whitmire missed running people, the ultimate quarry that he had pursued professionally...
THIS IS FOR THE BIRDS
My wife Georgia and I were bird watchers, or “birders,” as folks frequently called bird watchers. It is in this sense that we hunted wild birds. We also hunted for wildflowers, which led to hunting for arboretums and botanical gardens. Different species of trees also held our interests....
HUNTING THE ELUSIVE LOST MINES AND BURIED TREASURES OF TEXAS
The current and growing fascination with lost mines and buried treasures has been manifested in movies, television specials and reality shows, and has triggered the dramatic increase in the sales of metal detectors and expedition gear. In addition, books about lost mines and buried treasures have reached best-seller status and are in demand more than ever....
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY (OR SHOULD HAVE): ANECDOTES AND FUNNY STORIES
One time, while we were building our house on the land in Tarpley and still living in a rent house in Bandera, something crazy happened. We had been working in my shop—probably making things to take to an arts and crafts show to sell. This was in the “downsizing and reorienting” phase of our life, which...
I can see Grandpa, Adron Alford, sitting on the porch, reared back in his favorite hide-seat straight chair. He has on dusty field boots, frayed-at-the-hem jeans, and is bare chested because he took off his heavy denim jumper to cool off. There is a ring of sweat around his head from his hat. My sister and I, at most...
DELIVERANCE II: THE TALE OF A STRANGE ENCOUNTER IN THE BIG THICKET
When I met Jim twenty some-odd years ago, he was vice-president of an insurance company. That evening I had dinner with him and another fellow. Over drinks before dinner, he got to telling us about a strange encounter he had experienced in the Big Thicket that was reminiscent of the James Dickey...
A THANKSGIVING CATFISH
Harley and Hazel Wilson had a passel of kids. Well, just three to be exact. There was Lucille and Arlene, and Harley Jr. They lived on a run-down, no-count piece of land over in Panola County on the Sabine (pronounced “Say Being” by locals) Slough. Why, that piece of land was so poor and run-down...
PRANKS IN HUNTING CAMP; OR, THE PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF ANCIENT RITES PRACTICED IN BUCOLIC AND FRATERNAL SETTINGS
For reasons yet to be explained, God and the Supreme Court placed hunting season during the shortest days of the year. For those who venture into nature to collect something edible rather than to escape TV, that means a lot of non-hunting time in hunting camp. Some hunters fill those...
FISHING FOR WHOPPERS
Whoppers come in many forms, everything from a hamburger to a big fish, but I happen to be particularly fond of the kind that are measured not by taste or size but in the telling, such as the stories that can be heard around a table on a lazy afternoon in a country tavern—or at a fish camp like the one at Indianola that the old fisherman Ed Bell operated for many years....
ROPING A DEER
I had this idea that I was going to rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there...
TEXAS MENU 1835: VENISON AND HONEY, PRAIRIE CHICKEN, OR BAKED FISH
The autobiography of Gideon Lincecum, my great-great-great grandfather, contains some remarkable accounts of hunting and fishing in unspoiled areas of Texas in 1835. Lincecum’s six-month exploration of Texas came about after a good many citizens of Columbus, Mississippi, where he resided and practiced medicine, became interested in migrating...
FISHERMAN’S PARADISE: “HIS CAP NEVER GOT WET”
The Williams family took many an overnight trip to public and private camping areas within driving distance of our home in Arlington, Texas. A college professor’s salary didn’t afford luxurious accommodations. So, camping out was our usual mode....
When the call came from the Texas Folklore Society for papers about hunting and fishing lore, I immediately dismissed it. I never hunted and haven’t fished in years. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized what an important hand fishing took in developing my attitude toward life and people....
CANEY CREEK NIGHT HUNTING: A SAGA OFDIRE SITUATIONS AND SCARED PRAYERS
One of the most memorable coon hunts I ever remember going on got underway late one Saturday evening in 1957. It was early autumn, and the day was clear, cool, and damp—the kind of dampness that a coon dog can really work a trail on....