156 Chapters
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Jess's First Coon Hunt

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

7978-ch02.pdf

10/6/11

8:15 AM

Page 155

JESS’S FIRST COON HUNT by Lee Haile

When I was in high school in Hondo, Texas, I hunted for varmints all winter long. Furs were bringing good prices, and I could make some good spending money from selling them. Even though I was after anything with fur that I could sell, we always just called it

“coon hunting.” There were three ways that we hunted back then.

First, and my favorite, was walking the creeks at night with my dogs and letting them tree the varmints. My dogs were not noisy hounds, but rather quiet Border Collies that would only bark if they had something treed, and even then, they did not bark a lot. I trained them to be quiet so as not to scare off the rest of the critters along the creek. Also, I didn’t always have permission to hunt on all the places along the creeks where I walked. Back then, nobody really cared about me hunting for coons along the creeks.

That changed a few years later when fur prices got really high. I did this type of hunting by myself, and when I was most serious about the hunt.

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Dentistry, Dehorning, and More: South Texas Women's Hunting Stories

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

7978-ch01.pdf

10/6/11

8:14 AM

Page 71

DENTISTRY, DEHORNING, AND MORE:

SOUTH TEXAS WOMEN’S

HUNTING STORIES by Mary Margaret Dougherty Campbell

Traditionally, hunting has been the domain of men who hunted to put food on the table. As late as the 1950s drought, when life was especially difficult for ranchers in South Texas, my dad and his family ate more venison than beef. After the drought, until the day he died, my dad refused to eat any more deer meat—except for the occasional piece of fried backstrap. He gave away the meat when he or any of us kids shot a deer so it wouldn’t go to waste. Even though he didn’t enjoy eating the meat, Dad nevertheless enjoyed the hunt, which was a tradition in his family. Everybody hunted, even his mother. However, hunting remains an activity dominated by men, who now hunt more for sport than for survival. Their sport has its procedures, rules, and rituals the men take for granted, even when they initiate women—wives, girlfriends, daughters—into the rites of hunting. When family members participate in the tradition, the folk culture, they are strengthening family bonds that today’s society tests daily.

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Chapter 15. A Pecos Pilgrim’s Pilgrimage

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

T

he vast, rough stretches of the Pecos River region epitomize West Texas to many people. Despite its being sometimes labeled “the graveyard of many a cowman’s dreams” because of its droughts, it has produced a number of distinctive individuals. Paul Patterson is the son of this trans-Pecos region and knows its rough landscape, thorny flora, outlaw fauna, and strong and colorful people firsthand. Although perhaps best known as a cowboy poet and oral storyteller, Paul Patterson has produced a number of informative and humorous prose pieces detailing life in West Texas from early days to the present. Some of these tales deal with his experience with cowboys and livestock, but others are classic tales adapted to the West Texas scene.

Patterson’s prose efforts to communicate the life he has studied are marked by a distinct style. His quick wit and skillful use of double entendre and innuendo for comic effect rank alongside his use of outrageous comparison and hyperbole. His interjections are among his best comic devices. The rhythm and pattern of repetition of his speech growing out of his remarkable gift in oral language are as evident in the patterns of prose as they are in his poetry.

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Chapter 13. Paul Patterson

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

I

am pleased to have a part in a well-justified tribute to Paul

Patterson. My friendship with him goes back more than sixty years, to his arrival in my hometown, Crane, Texas.

I grew up on the McElroy Ranch near Crane. My father, Buck

Kelton, was the foreman, and Paul’s brother John was a cowboy there. Paul had been teaching school in Sanderson and signed up to teach in the Crane school system beginning in the fall of 1939.

He came a bit early, so to earn a little extra money, and to while away the time, he day-worked for Dad until school started.

It was at the time of the late-summer roundup. Dad always timed the branding for the last week or so of August to get the free use of us kids just before school closed in on us. I had known John for a long time, so I felt comfortable with his younger brother. I knew him first as Paul the cowboy, just one of the bunch. That lasted perhaps two weeks.

Then suddenly, he was Mr. Patterson, one of my teachers. His clothes and his situation made a drastic change. So did my attitude, out of necessity.

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Part I

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

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