I’ve just returned from a black bear hunt in North Carolina and I’m feeling the wear from all the miles. Although I never saw a bear, except for one caught on a trail-cam at 1:30 a.m., I had an excellent trip.
There is something about watching the sun rise over the Blue Ridge Mountain, especially while sitting on top of one of the mountains and watching the golden leaves fall to earth in advance of winter. My thoughts when I woke this morning were not on my just finished bear hunt, but on years gone by. The weather had me stuck, in my mind at least, on the grand days of rabbit hunting with my friends around home.
As I write this, it is only 42 degrees this morning and a perfect rabbit hunting day. How did I lose my rabbit hunting buddies? What happened to my beagles? As if shot from a rapid-fire rifle, the questions came faster than I could answer. Of course, some of my fellow rabbit hunters have crossed the Silent River, men like Bobby Pennington, Coy Morton, and Clyde Hatton. Those guys I’ll hunt with again someday, I sure hope they have some good beagles.
Other friends like Steve Banks, Gale Dean Campbell, Leonard Fleming, Tim Baker and Wendell Hogg have just disappeared from the hunting scene. Although that is just a few of the old gang — and believe me the list could go on and on — the “good ole days” of rabbit hunting have passed.
Gone are the days of frosty mornings, listening to the beagles run, drinking hot coffee from a Thermos, telling hunting stories, and just being with friends. I miss those days and, of course, the old friends. They will never happen again, but I will let the memories that were made over a lifetime stay new in my mind’s eye forever.