Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time

Remembering departed hunting buddies

This week, I want to devote my column to the remembrance of two friends of a lifetime, Clyde Hatton and Edd Caudill Sr.

The year was 1996 and Tim Baker had a plan. Several of us hunting buddies were going to make our own black powder rifles. Tim provided each of us with a stock of maple wood and little else. Mr. Caudill, as I called him, loved to work with wood and had a little shop. I took him the piece of wood and he set out to help me make a gun.

Mr. Caudill was a soft spoken man, one that anybody would be proud to call friend. As the hours turned into weeks, weeks into months, I learned about his burning desire to prospect the Pine Mountain range. He had a firm notion that gems and gold had to be on that mountain, but he had grown to old too try. Six months after we started making the rifle, it was finished. Mr. Caudill told me it ended up being the hardest project he had ever done. I still have the rifle, and with me it will stay until I get the chance to see him again.

Clyde Hatton was an old hunting buddy of mine. I have loved beagles all my life, but nobody loved beagles like Clyde. He even had the road leading to his house named Beagle Road when the E-911 addresses were being handed out. Clyde was a small man, but what he lacked in size he made up for in heart. Clyde was as active a hunter as I have ever seen and I spent lots of time with him in the field.

I have many funny stories about Clyde, like the time we were hunting on Sherwood Ison’s farm and his dogs were wide open while mine were silent. Clyde looked at me and said, “What’s up with your dogs?” “Must not be a rabbit,” I replied. Clyde smiled and said, “My dogs won’t run trash, straight rabbit,” just as a big bobcat came over the top of the ridge. Clyde, who was never down, said the bobcat must have been sitting there and just jumped in front of the dogs. He never missed a beat as his dogs went the same way as the cat.

I can still see Clyde with his dog box in the back of his old pickup pulling into my driveway, smile on his face and frost on the ground. “You ready to go?” he would ask. He often called me to come up to his house, where I would sit with him and his lovely wife, Oma, while he petted on their Pug.

Both Mr. Caudill and Clyde Hatton have left this old hunter, as many have before. I read in The Eagle the other day where a writer said he had died three times and God brought him back. Please don’t say any prayers to bring me back, because I want to get out of here and see some of my old hunting buddies again.

Is that the lights of home I see? It sure is a welcome sight. Clyde, save me a good pup. I’ll train it myself.

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