11. Tricks, pranks and surprises
A. Shooting the outhouse
Early one dove season, the guy in the green fiberglass
one-holer had caused at least one of the others to decide to give the
guy pause to consider his sins. That day a half a dozen or so people
were shooting clays 50 yards south of the outhouse. The shots could
be clearly heard inside, but not loud since the firing was aimed in
the opposite direction. The sinner sat down, meditating and cogitating
on serious matters. In a short, but adequate time, there was a startling
boom that absolutely shook the outhouse and the clatter of hundreds
of pellets hitting the thin fiberglass wall less than a foot to his
right, at body level. Under those circumstances one cannot but jump.
Fortunately not necessarily to their feet. The magnitude of the event
was quickly diminished by the laughter and hoots from outside.
This story may have happened several times. Ralph remembers doing the throwing,
at Phil. Bill remembered being the throwee with Phil the presumed thrower.
No body remembers it happening more than once. It may have been strictly between
Ralph and Bill with Phil being the intended target of one and the person to
get the undeserved blame from the other!
Well, the sinner was now the sinned against and was sure he knew the instigator.
He took a bit of folded toilet paper and, since it always rains just before
opening day, he was able to scrape a few good sized lumps of still damp, dark
mud from his boots. After a measured pause, he adjusted his clothes, held
the mud and paper in his right hand, palm up, and opened the door. Now the
whole group watching as he made exit from the can. His looked the crowd over
and Phil was backing away. Maybe this retreat was what really caused the feeling
that Phil "was responsible", an unusual choice of words to use in connection
with Phil. A couple of steps and the contents of the paper was smeared onto
Phil's chest. Phil's eyes got big. More Hoots. And hoots again as Phil and
the others realized it was mud. All in all, no harm, no foul.
B. Aging deer pellets
Everyone sees deer droppings in the woods and every hunter
would like to know when the deer left them there. Obviously, when they are
really shrunken and dried out they are old, but you do, from time, to come
the important ones, the ones that are fresh enough to cause you to think that
the deer was recently there. One of the newer guys on the lease asked how
to best age the scat to help determine deer movement. (No pun intended.) Who
can ask for a better setup for a joke than this? The answer has to give the
most desirable answer ... but at a price. Thus "If they are less that
4 hours old they still have a sweet taste! Just how bad do you want to know?"
D. That rock was not there last time
E. Don't be turnin' over those rocks!
Among the original ten members on The Price Ranch was big,
good natured, Dan. He'd hunted, shot black powder and camped for most of his
life and his dad had fostered in him a self reliance and genuine liking for
things that came natural. Some folks don't smoke or drink. Dan didn't smoke.
He enjoyed good friends, good stories, big jokes. Loud football games on TV
were natural and nothing was more natural than to yell at the top of his lungs
at the games on TV. But he did not think outhouses were natural. "A big prairie
dookie" was a natural way to commune with nature. It got to be sort of tricky
for anybody to walk near a cactus over fifty and less than a hundred yards
of the cabin. The less natural guys were able to talk him into a compromise.
It was the system that had been used on Mickey's before they started bringing
water in for the toilet and when they were away in the woods. They used a
flat rock to cover the evidence. That worked pretty well. Except that after
the agreement with Dan they needed drive a lot farther for rocks to top up
the target barrels.
F. Better communication is not always the answer ... If we'd only known then who we are now.
When we first hunted on the price Ranch EB was there almost
every day. He'd tell us abut the deer patterns and the turkey and would sit
and visit and share a beer or two. Neither Bill and EB smoked except when
Bill was at the lease. On a couple of occasions when Bill arrived without
smokes EB drove him to town for necessities, both by the pack and six-pack.
He drove us rabbit hunting some nights and we'd tear across the prairies.
Later he got a new son-in-law and the two of them came to the cabin one evening
the same weekend Bill got his first, great big, cel phone. EB's wife and daughter
were cooking dinner at the house and EB and Dick's visit at the cabin went
on for quite a while. There were good stories so good that everybody was especially
thirsty. Time slipped by and and the guests finally remembered dinner and
that they might be late. Bill suggested that memorable phrase,"EB call home".
It was probably funnier at the cabin than at the house. Now, as to facts,
the hunters never heard what was said but we do remember that being EB's last
beer with the deer hunters.
G. The easiest way to clean a deer?
Field dressing a deer is not standard protocol on some leases.
One place takes the whole animal to the barn and hangs it over a tub and everything
drops into the tub for disposal in the back forty. The carcass is rinsed with
a with a high pressure hose if necessary. Out in Coleman, several of the hunters
say to carefully skin the critter out, take the shoulders and backstraps with
a knife and the back legs off with a saw. The innards are left inside along
with the tenderloins. They do this with the deer laying on the ground using
the skin as a ground cloth. Sounds like a lot of work to me for any place
where there are trees. Most of the places use the simple method of opening
the hide and sternum, cutting free the windpipe and esophagus at the top and
the various attachments of sex and elimination at the rear and after separating
the diaphragm and connections to the ribs, rolling out the viscera and stomachs
all together. There are several details and differences in this technique,
but they are minor and just personal preference. But on most of the leases
this group hunts, a new hunter can wait until a few of the guys can go back
with him to bring in the deer and get help with the field dressing. The new
man, if coached in advance, can be certain of getting, not only the best instructions
but, a damn complete demonstration. He has only to have the presence of two
The first One: the ability to look and act totally
lost at the the prospect of cutting the deer's belly, (being able look like
he's about to cut himself is a plus). And if the second component is present,
it's a foolproof situation. The novice gets absolutely flawless incisions.
No punctures to the bladder, stomach or intestines. The liver and heart set
aside in the event he wants them for the pot. All this topped of with an inspection
of the stomach contents and the feeding details of the past day.
Component Two? Doug has to be one the hunters come
to help retrieve the deer. It starts with a concerned but exasperated, "Just
hand me the knife.
Yep, it's the easiest way to clean a deer.
H. Them's just nether parts
A few of the guys went to the grocery in Lampasas and while
going down on of the aisles met a young girl that was dressed and built along
the lines of Daisy Duke in the "Dukes of Hazard". Everybody noticed
but, other than a few surreptitious looks, nothing was said. In the store.
But when they got out side, first subject was The Girl.
Then Mike says, "Yeah, but did ya'll notice she had chigger or mosquito bites all over her
The response was, "No Kidding? Did she have ankles??"
Dove tags - toilet paper - Hunting license
J. Old wives tale ... with a stinger..
One of the guys on The Llano lease had been told,
and apparently very convincingly, that wasps and yellow jackets could
smell fear and would sting as a reaction to it. No fear, no sting. The
story got even better because supposedly if you were whistling, they
were even more pacified. Better still, like working with smoked bees,
if you moved slowly, you could take down the nest and move it to a different
location and the insects would follow docilely. He gamely gave it a
try. He did get psyched up and confident and calm and stepped into a
box stand and whistled his way to reaching up for a big nest in the
corner. Everything stopped going well immediately. Except, possibly
that the stand was on the ground and he didn't fall several feet when
he came screaming and swatting out the door. Pain apparently makes it
hard to whistle.
K. He didn't say "Drop your guns!"
Bill pulled into the Rangler convenience store at Hico and
was supprised to see Ralph and Doug dissappearing into the front door.
He thought they'd have left for the lease several hours before he had. Well,
Bill knew thst before buying the cofee or the candy bars both of those
guys would hit the john. Sure enough, as he went in the door he saw
them make the turn into the men's room. When he entered about 30 seconds
later they were the only two in sight and had their backs toward the
In a voice as deep and rough as he could muster Bill loudly said "Put
you hand up and turn around ... real slow!" They startled a bit,
looked over their shoulders and just rolled their eyes. The guy in the
stall didn't get the joke. He threw the door open and came scrambling
out, pulling up his pants. He didn't stop to wash his hands before leaving.