As a mere lad growing up in the wilds of west Alabama. Living way back down a dirt road that would “stick a school bus” in the winter. Deer hunting was a simple and cherished event. Neighbors hunted on each others property without discussion or concern. If you saw your neighbor, most of which were also a relative of some sort, on your property, or they saw you on theirs’. The greeting was genuine, warm and often we joined ranks for short “man drives” to bust the deer out of any cover along hedgerows or brier patches and the hunt was even better because we got to share a good time.
Didn’t matter who it was, black, white, poor, or little better off (we knew no rich people) we enjoyed the hunt, shared the bounty and used every bit of it. The guns were old single shot style shotguns whatever gauge you just happen to have gotten from a relative in the generation before. A lucky few had “high powered rifles” as we called them back in the middle of the last century. These were not much compared to the modern rifles of today, in fact, most were war relics that our veteran relatives brought home.Old British 303 rifles, Browning WWII rifles, M1 carbines or old Winchester lever action guns. Nobody had a scope on any of them! All of the rifles had open sights, tang sites, peep style sites, but I never saw a scope on a rifle until my later teen years!
I hunted for the first 12 years of my life with an Iver Johnson Champion 12 gauge single shot that was a hand-me -down gun and the barrel had been “hammered down” to straighten it from a near blowout my brother had when he was just starting out and went under a fence too fast and got dirt in the barrel but, did not know it until the rabbit came by he was trying to cut off from the beagles. Or at least that was how the barrel deformity was explained to me by my dad, who was the barrel beater after that episode. He got out his brazing torch and ”cherryed” up the barrel (heated it cherry red) and hammered the bulge out. How many parents today, would even allow a kid to shoot a gun with a defective barrel? Not too many! Most of us now would get rid of that gun in a recycle bin, or had our gun smith to, and bought a new gun for our kids.
Now days, we take no shortcuts, spare no expenses, we buy the best guns, best gear, new clothes, latest camouflage patterns, latest “scent blocker” fabrics, Snake proof, no scent, super grip, 1200 gram thinsulate boots with electric socks! And it don’t even get cold as it used to! Now we drive to the woods in a $50,000. dollar, 4 wheel drive truck but, so we don’t scratch it, we are pulling a trailer loaded with a $12,000. dollar all electric “UTV” and our kid has a $8,000. four wheeler in case we need to “retrieve a deer from a bad spot” that the big UTV can’t get. We have a camper set up at our club that we parked in August that had a $45,000. price tag before we added the flat screen and the “dish”. So we can watch the football game at mid-day or after dark. We got $400. dollar “yeti” coolers to pack in the beer and pack out the deer! That is if we still feel like cleaning the critter our-self. If not we just run it down to the local deer processor, who for a $100. will skin it, gut it and cut it for us so we can take it home in “supermarket” style wrappers to freezer burn at home until next fall, when we have a “clean the freezer out day” and get ready for the next season!
Compare that to the old days where we hunted as a group and shared the deer, that day and usually had it consumed before it ever required freezing. Heck! most of us did not even have a freezer back then anyway!
We hunted from a 52 Chevy truck that was a 6 cylinder, 2 wheel drive with a suspect heater and AC was not even thought of back then. There were some mornings us “boys” used some old army blankets or cotton quilts to wrap up with and we would ride in the back of the truck down to Sumter or Greene County to hunt deer or rabbits and were thrilled to be invited! We snuggled up to each other and to the dogs that shared the back of the truck and considered it all so very normal! Wonder what my boys would have thought of that deal? Our hunting clothes were what ever we had, blue jeans, red flannel shirts, no insulated clothes, you just “layered up” with a couple of shirts and pants over the other and two pair of white socks with your keds tennis shoes or “hand me down” “brogans”. Scent cover? Never considered it! Camo clothes with a face mask? a orange hat? Wow! how did we ever kill any deer back then? But we did! Although I must admit the hunting dogs played a very large part in our success at deer hunting in the 1960s. I miss those days and my redneck ways, just a little every now and then. How about you?
Bow season starts in 17 days! Are you ready? This old red neck hunter is ready to get on out there for another memorable season in our GREAT CENTRAL ALABAMA OUTDOORS!