It was the summer of 1960 when I first met him, and our friendship has lasted for 50 years. I am speaking of my friend “Doc” Slone, then of Millstone, now of Kona.
As we sat on his porch last week, it was good to renew memories of a lifetime of hunting with him. Doc is and always has been one of the finest people I have ever known. An avid reader of Struttin’ Time, Doc was happy to relive some of his hunting trips with me.
I was thrilled to hear of his elk hunts in Montana, almost in the exact spot where I will be hunting this fall. Doc hunted in Sweetwater, which is about 12 miles from the Canadian border. I will be hunting about 30 miles southwest of there, in Santa Rita. He knows all about the area, having hunted there from 1981 thru 1989, killing three bull elks, a spike, a three-bythree, and a six-by-six
As we were reliving our years, I looked into the eyes of this old friend and could see not only the happiness in his eyes, but a light upon his face that took me back to our youth. He shared memories of a hunting trip to Texas, where he killed a mountain lion that was seven feet from tip to tip, the Aoudad that he has displayed, and of course his Corsican, which is of trophy class.
Doc has suff ered two heart attacks in recent years, leading me to ask him if he has plans to travel anymore on long hunts. After I asked the question, I could see a diff erent look come over his face, and he didn’t answer. I pressed him for an answer and got the one I feared: “No.”
I plan to make this coming Montana trip my final long distance hunt. I plan to write about my friends, their hunts, and a lifetime of memories. I loved sitting with Doc and to listening to his memories about younger days, about the hunts, and seeing him recall days that will never grow old. As I looked on his wall, I saw his turkey mounts and thought to myself what a great life we live as hunters.
If you see Doc say hello, and get him to share some stories. Both of you will be thrilled, and your life will be the better for listening.