I hope everyone is as full of turkey and dressing as I am. I await the results of the youth rabbit hunt, and a full report from a friend to whom I gave a wild turkey breast that was a direct result of my last hunt to Kansas. I hope everyone had a great Christmas.
This week we are heading to the town of Hemphill. I will introduce you to a couple young hunters, who put a lot of us to shame this year. The first is Caden Billiter, son of Randy. Caden is in the first grade and, from what he tells me, has been there for a while, since the first of the school year. To some young people this can be a lifetime.
Randy loaded Caden up and off to Lawrence County, where they have a few hundred acres to hunt on. The next morning an excited Caden was out of bed in a flash. Randy was hoping just to get him out of bed, let alone getting him into the woods.
They chose to hunt from a blind, and once inside it didn’t take Randy long to take a catnap. Ka-boom was the sound Randy awoke to, and there beside him was Caden with a grin as big as the Montana sky.
“Dad, I just killed the biggest deer you ever saw.”
Randy, not even asking him a question, looked out the blind, and there he laid, a buck that was a monster. I hope Caden many more hunts like this one, and that Randy has plenty of coffee to see the whole thing next time.
I want to tell you next of my little buddy, Joseph Ellish. His granddaddy Joe and myself were lifetime friends. Joe passed away a few years ago. His other papaw, Jimmy Hampton, and myself have been friends since we came over on the Mayflower together. Jimmy and I hunted together for years, I’m still not sure what happened, but that is no longer the case, although we remain friends.
I don’t worry about the future of hunting when there are the little Josephs still around. Jimmy has three grandsons, all three hunt, and are very good at what they do.
Jimmy owns a hunting camp in Carter County, and that is where Joseph downed his big deer this year. Seems that his uncle, Tommy Hampton, who could take some tips from not only Joseph, but also his son, Cody, was along for the trip, when Joseph connected with a nice five-point buck. Jimmy is still laughing, I’m sure.
I was on the first hunting trip that Tommy went on. He was six years old, and now his baby is almost that old. How time flies.
To Tommy and Jimmy, keep up the good work, and thanks for the memories.
Next week we will explore the life of the coolest old man I have ever known, and I’ve known a lot, Bill Blair of Hemphill. Till then, do something good for somebody who’s not a family member, give someone hope, and give a child a hug. Take a child hunting, the future of our sport depends on it.