Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Memoir Monday: Recollections of Hunting

First let me explain a few things so my readers do not condemn me out of hand! Back in the era I am writing about (1950-65 mainly) hunting in the southwest and many parts of the country was totally acceptable by most of the society. My family did not ever "trophy hunt" because our purpose for hunting big game was for food. When "any deer/elk/pronghorn" permits became common, we never killed females although that was allowed. Like with domestic livestock, one male can breed several females so taking one or two males from a herd will not jeopardize its continuity. And finally,on our ranch we raised horses, mules and burros--and they are not meat animals! We might have done well to raise some chickens, rabbits, a pig or fatten a calf but did not for a variety of reasons. Thus meat in the freezer was a high priority for our family's welfare.

Okay that sets the stage. I first hunted in 1955 after turning twelve the spring of that year. I shot a
small buck and helpd my dd field dress it, load it onto one of our mules and bring it home. It was fairly young and the meat was very good. Over the next several years I shot a deer most seasons. Dad went elk hunting more and also sometimes pronghorns (called "antelope" incorrectly) but I seldom did.

A couple of times we brought down a good sized mule deer (this is a southwestern species of deer with long 'mulish' ears that is also called Blacktails.) They are frequently found not in timber country but the chaparral vegetation zone of brush and very small trees like juniper and pinon pine. At least twice we could not pick it up and get the whole carcass onto a horse or mule so cut it in half and put half on each of two of our mounts. That usually meant a long walk
down the hills to where we had left the horse trailer and Jeep truck or even clear home if we had ridden out from there.

There were some scary times. Once, Dad's shot broke a deer's hind leg. Sometimes you get a bullet deflected by a limb or bush or maybe just make a bad shot. Anyway, we trailed this deer for quite a ways as we were very adamant about not leaving an animal to suffer and die. Finally we saw it down in a canyon and headed down to finish it off.  While Dad kept his rifle on the deer--which appeared to be dead or exhausted, I hiked over on foot with just my handgun. I came up under the deer at the start of the upslope. All at once it got up and charged at me! By now I was too close to being between Dad and the deer and he did not dare to shoot. I pulled out my handgun--I think it was an old .32 revolver at that time--and emptied it at the deer, aiming for the head! A final shot did penetrate right between the eyes and it fell with an antler barely touching the toe of my boot!That was about the scariest thing that ever happened to me while hunting.

I have a lot of good memories of those adventures. As the oldest kid in the family I went with my dad for several years before my first brother was old enough and even before the second one was born! Do I miss it? Yes and no, mostly no. Now I would never go out with the specific goal of shooting and killing an animal unless there was a real need to do so for food. That's not likely. So I 'hunt" with a camera or just my two eyes to enjoy seeing wildlife.

Like the Native Americans who thanked the Great Spirit and the spirit of the animal they had slain, I gave thanks for the creatures who gave their life so we could eat healthy meat. but I do not have that need now.  I get meat at the super market--but contrary to one clearly naive person's notion--that meat is not created by some mysterious cloning or duplication process but comes from animals that were once alive and were raised and then killed for that purpose!  I could hardly believe this was for real!!

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