As I sat down to write this Struttin’ Time, my friend Mathew Caudill, who likes to hunt as much as I do, contacted me. He had filmed a big black bear — it looked to be around 400 pounds — that was looking at him while he hunted a wild turkey in Letcher County. That is probably the same bear I hunted for last week as I ventured on my once-in-a-lifetime hunt.
I attempted to take a black bear, a deer, and a turkey, all on the same day, on the same property, with a bow. I have never hunted so hard in my life, and I came up empty.
It wasn’t because I didn’t try. I was determined, focused, and at a trim down weight of 225 pounds, ready.
My day started at three in the morning. I had done some things with family in Lexington on Friday night, so I had to change my plans of coming into Letcher County on Friday. Remember, family time is very important. Spend all the time you can with them, life is much too short not to.
I pulled into one of my best friend’s driveway at 6:15 am, just as planned. She has been my friend a lifetime, and I have hunted her property for more years than I can count. I love her whole family, and best of all they love me. Isn’t that the way life should be, love one another?
I was headed into the woods by 6:25, still dark, but other than windy, a lot windy, it seemed like an almost perfect morning. I felt good about my chances of getting my mission done. A hundred or so friends had contacted me, telling me I could do it and wishing me luck.
As I took the hour to walk to the top of her mountain, I thought about how much I loved being alone with just the night creatures, the wind, and the stars. Man, I have a rough life, don’t I? Family, friends, and the “Great Spirit of Life” have smiled on me, I am humbled.
I hunted as hard, as long, and as well as I ever have hunted in my life, but as the hawk sang his mournful song to me that evening, telling me he had also hunted all day, and came up short, I knew I would be free to hunt black bear again on Sunday, that the limit on them had not been met. When I called to make sure, my thinking was right on. I checked in with my friends at the Whitesburg Motel and went to bed after a shower, and a apple.
Sunday morning came and the wind had left me to just my skill, and the animals I was hunting. But the “Great Spirit of Harvest” was kind to the animals, and I left the mountain on Sunday a better hunter than I had been on Saturday.
At least I still had gotten my American buffalo, where I had hunted the same week in South Dakota with my friends, the Rosebud Indians.
That hunt next week. Look for my picture with my prize this week.