Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time:

On friendships and hunting trips

Here it is the first week in November and another year is almost over. Has it been a good year for you?

As my mind wanders back to March of this year, my friend Donnie Mullins of Elkhart, Indiana, and I are heading to Florida for our spring turkey and wild boar hunt. Our first stop is always with God’s Country Outfitters of Mateo, Florida for wild boar hunting. Although Donnie had taken a nice boar with a knife, I had always chosen the safer way — with a rifle.

On this trip the guide and Donnie had chosen for me to kill a wild boar with a knife. I got that project over with, although my family has canceled my hunts with them forever. No more knife-hunting wild boar — the end of an era hunting with those guys.

Our next stop was with our friend Kate Boulos, our turkeyhunting outfitter from Archer, Florida. She owns and operates Watermelon Pond Plantation, one of my favorite outfitters and a place we just about always tag out. Miss Kate is in her seventies now, but just as spry as the first time I met her more than 20 years ago. I tagged out with two shots within two seconds of each other. This was the first year you could take two turkeys in one day in Florida, a law that I love.

Then it was goodbye to Donnie and hello to my friend Rick Hardy, my next-door neighbor. We were off to Kansas and other points west Rick had never traveled to before, so seeing things like the Arch in St. Louis was a thrill to him. I bet Rick took a hundred pictures of that trip. Rick was amazed at how well the guide, Bill Anderson, and his wife Sandie of Little Creek Ranch liked me. Those are the types of friendships you build over 20-plus years.

Then there were the outfitters Tom and Vonda Palmer. What a lovely lodge they have, and again the friendship we have made throughout the years is top shelf. Rick got his two Rio wild turkeys, while I shot up a lead mine and killed nothing but time. We stayed an extra couple of days, which did away with our trip on west.

After that it was north to Ohio to hunt with my friends Dan Carte and his beautiful wife Nina. Rick and I both got turkeys and headed back to Kentucky for our opening hunt. Within the two days I had tagged out, one being the prettiest turkey I had ever killed — a nice long beard that was white. I am having him mounted.

Then came the fishing trips to Lake Cumberland, again with my friends Dan and Nina. We went twice and both times we caught trophy-sized stripers. I had one mounted and look at it every day. Then it was on to Tennessee to fish with my lifelong friend Jim Bentley. It was a day for the history books, as I caught a 22-plus inch smallmouth. It is also being mounted.

Rick Hardy and I than headed north again in search of Sika deer. Sika is a deer imported from Asia. There are more here now than in Asia, with the biggest herds in Texas. Thirty-four states now have them.

With the Sika deer down, I have now settled into my last hunts of the year, close to home. I never got to hunt all the hunts I wanted to this year — maybe next — but man what a year.

See you again next week when we will talk about the deer season in Kentucky.

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