57 Chapters
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Medium 9781574413205

Porch Hunting

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

7978-ch05.pdf

10/6/11

8:17 AM

Page 281

PORCH HUNTING by Sue Friday

I can see Grandpa, Adron Alford, sitting on the porch, reared back in his favorite hide-seat straight chair. He has on dusty field boots, frayed-at-the-hem jeans, and is bare chested because he took off his heavy denim jumper to cool off. There is a ring of sweat around his head from his hat. My sister and I, at most 3rd or 4th graders, are fighting over the swing although it is big enough for both of us.

Grandpa gives us “the look” and we settle down. For amusement all summer we either read, go to church, help with light farm work, or listen to Grandpa tell stories—always about hunting or fishing or the animals involved.

Today’s story is about an ol’ boy being chased by a wildcat.

“And that ol’ boy ran and ran until he couldn’t run anymore and fell out on the ground!” Grandpa says, “and the old cat hops up on a log . . .” and Grandpa’s hand and arm make the arc of the wildcat jumping onto the log . . . “and looks with his yellow eyes at the ol’ boy laying there, gasping for breath, and says . . . .” And here I lose the story. I can see my grandpa clearly, see from his eyes that this will be funny, can hear his voice—and then I can’t.

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Fishing from Indianola to Boca Chica and Waters in Between

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

7978-ch03.pdf

10/6/11

8:16 AM

Page 189

FISHING FROM INDIANOLA TO BOCA

CHICA AND WATERS IN BETWEEN by Jean Granberry Schnitz

In the early 1900s, on the banks of the San Antonio River near the little town of Choate in Karnes County, Texas, Dewey Lafayette

Granberry discovered that it was fun to catch fish. Not only that, but fish added variety to the diet of a large family experiencing hard times. After his father died at the age of twenty-eight, when

Dewey was only two years old, his mother and two brothers went to live with his grandparents in Karnes County. Dewey, my father, joined the United States Navy in 1917, when he was eighteen years old. He did a pretty good job of seeing the world during World

War I, but that love of fishing endured throughout his lifetime, providing my family with many exciting adventures.

Dad’s fishing trips spelled something different for each member of my family, but for me they spelled “fun.” My brother, Billy

Granberry, actually fished with Dad, but Mama used the time for beachcombing or what we now call “birding.” Grandpapa was an avid fishing buddy for Dad, but Grandmama spent the time writing letters or joining Mama and me in exploring the area near where the fishing was going on. The rule for me was to “stay in sight,” but that left plenty of opportunity to explore. I could swim, climb trees, dig in the sand, pick up shells, or any of dozens of other activities— so long as I could be seen by the fishermen or by Mama.

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Man Hounds and Dog Sergeants

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

7978-ch04.pdf

10/6/11

8:16 AM

Page 223

MAN HOUNDS AND DOG SERGEANTS by Thad Sitton

In 2007, retired Texas Department of Criminal Justice dog sergeant

Paul Whitmire tried to console himself with Beagles chasing rabbits, but the thrill was not the same. The little hounds made fine dog music in the hunt, but Whitmire missed running people, the ultimate quarry that he had pursued professionally for over twenty years. As Whitmire told me, when you hunted a man with hounds you moved into an entirely new dimension of the chase, “because you’re running something that thinks.”1 Foxes, coyotes, and deer also thought in their own limited ways, but they played most of their tricks by instinct. What they did often could be predicted— unlike what a man might do.

Like most older TDCJ dog sergeants, Whitmire had grown up steeped in East Texas dog culture. His family at San Jacinto

County often ran trailing hounds after foxes and coyotes, and Paul had spent many weekend nights in his early years standing near a fire listening to the hounds run their game across the thousands of acres of national forest land around the county seat of Coldspring.

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Part Two Day 4

Geraldine Ellis Watson University of North Texas Press PDF

Reflections on the Neches

shack was usually a tent on the last crib. When the raft hit land in the bend of the river, she saw that it was beginning to break apart and pile up, so she dived into the water and swam clear. That must have been an awesome sight: those great logs piling up like match sticks. She always told I. C. that if the river ever got low enough to expose the logs, he should pull them out, for they were virgin longleaf pine logs and would be as good as new due to submersion in the water. The year Saul Aronow, Ranger David McHugh, and

I canoed the upper Neches, it was lower than I had ever seen it and that was the year I. C. pulled out a good portion of the logs. The fence around his house on Highway 92 was made of hand-rived pales from these logs.

The river was the only way they could transport timber from the Neches watershed to the big lumber mills in Beaumont. Loggers would kill the trees by girdling them, wait a year for them to dry standing up, then cut them down with axes and two-man crosscut saws. Oxen and mules dragged the logs to the sloughs, then, when the winter floods came and water rose, the logs were floated. The main routes in the flooded bottomlands had the trees along them cut while the water was down, and they were called float roads. The logs were fastened with wooden pegs into cribs, or small rafts, and the cribs were connected by chains or ropes to make a long raft. The end of each log was struck with a sledge hammer that had a raised letter on it, thus branding the logs so the receiving mills would know to whom the logs should be credited. Perhaps the owner suspected some enterprising loggers might decide to sell a few logs on their own and pocket the proceeds.

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Skills of the Rivermen: Ways and Means of Market Fishermen

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

7978-ch03.pdf

10/6/11

8:16 AM

Page 167

SKILLS OF THE RIVERMEN: WAYS AND

MEANS OF MARKET FISHERMEN by Wildwood Dean Price

Traveling down the path from our past is the only way into the future. With that in mind, let us look back down the path from whence we came.

If you are a native American—not an immigrant—and were born west of the Rockies, you more than likely descended from

“River People.” The purchase of the Louisiana Territory from

France began a great migration into the American West. The Red

River and other rivers, such as the Missouri, the Mississippi, and the Arkansas, provided the highways into the interior, and settlers took up residence along their banks.

The people that settled along the rivers made a living farming and ranching in the fertile bottomlands. With the taming of the

Wild Frontier came other occupations: clearing timber, punching cattle, market hunting, and commercial fishing to name a few.

Throughout our history, ways of making a living have changed with the needs of a growing nation. Every so often there comes along an occupation that seems to be the panacea: offering a getrich-quick scheme, high adventure, or a glorified way of life. The market fishing that had its start during the Depression offered none of those things; it lasted only a few short years, was more adaptable to the lazy rather than the hard-working, and, like the occupations before it, gave only temporary riches. The one thing market fishing did offer was dependable work in the face of starvation.

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Our Family Fishing Trips

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

7978-ch03.pdf

10/6/11

8:16 AM

Page 183

OUR FAMILY FISHING TRIPS by L. R. McCormack

One of my fondest memories of my Coney family is the fishing trips. Fishing was one of the activities the Coney boys loved. The

“boys” were the four sons of Leon Josephus Coney and Ida

Augusta Hawkins Coney. Their farm was located about five miles southeast of Ladonia, Texas. Not only was fishing their favorite sport, but it also provided some good meals. Their fishing was not done with a rod and reel. They used seines, and “grabbled” for the fish. My dad, Lowell (Sheep), and his brother Roy Leon (Buster) were the only two of the boys who could swim. Being the two youngest boys, they had developed a close bond through the years.

Dad could hold his breath under water so very long that they sometimes wondered if he had drowned. Buster could dive deeper than Dad. between the two of them, they checked out each fishing hole for suitable fish—as well as for water moccasins that were living in those holes—and selected the holes they would fish. They had several places that they visited regularly.

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Fisherman's Luck

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

7978-ch03.pdf

10/6/11

8:16 AM

Page 186

186 Fishing Lore in Texas water’s surface to check the holes in the sides and bottom of the creek where fish stayed. The murky water in the creek made it difficult to see very far. They had seen several nice fish in the water, when all of a sudden Buster disturbed a water moccasin. It bit him on his leg just a few inches above his ankle. He shot to the top of the water and yelled, “Snake bite.” Dad had seen the action under the water and came up right behind Buster. Hurriedly they got on the bank.

Dad had Buster lie down with his head higher than his feet so that his blood would flow slower to his heart. Dad grabbed his sharpened pocket-knife, cut two deep X’s over the fang marks, and began sucking out the blood and poison, then spitting it on the ground. The women and children were horrified. We cried, prayed, wrung our hands, and paced back and forth while this was taking place.

All the while, Grandpa Coney was begging Dad not to do it.

“Lowell, if you’ve got an open cut in your mouth, that poison will go right to your brain and kill you. Let’s take Buster to the doctor.” Dad didn’t even pause to answer; he just continued sucking out that poison and spitting it out. He knew that the snake was very large with a lot of venom. He also knew it would take at least half an hour to get to the nearest hospital. By that time, Buster could be dead. Dad continued the treatment for about fifteen minutes until he was satisfied that he had removed all of the poison that he could. Then Buster’s leg was bandaged. Everyone began loading the cars with whatever they had brought, and we all returned home, emotionally exhausted. We caught no fish that day! But the main thing was that Buster was alive, thanks to an oldtime folk remedy.

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Making a Drive in Botswana

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

7978-ch01.pdf

10/6/11

8:14 AM

Page 25

MAKING A DRIVE IN BOTSWANA by Francis Edward Abernethy

Making a drive has been a hunting custom as long as man has been a man—and even before. When a community’s survival depended upon a successful hunt it was important that early man hunted for game in the most efficient way. One way was to form a long line of hunters spaced ten or twenty feet apart. They moved forward, side by side, making a drive and flushing and killing any game that started in front of them.

Men still make drives. Quail, pheasant, and grouse hunters line up and seine the grasslands, shooting the birds that rise in front of them. Sometimes four or five men will space themselves in a line a hollering distance apart and make a drive to flush deer out of their brushy hiding places.

The point is that making a drive is a contemporary hunting custom among humans that is steeped in antiquity, and I believe that it is also a much older instinct. After a trip to the Okavango

Delta in Africa in June of 1996, I wrote Thad Sitton the following letter (dated 11/26/08), in which I discussed my views on the genetics of hunters:

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Medium 9781574413205

Deliverance II: The Tale of a Strange Encounter in the Big Thicket

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

7978-ch05.pdf

10/6/11

8:17 AM

Page 289

DELIVERANCE II: THE TALE OF A STRANGE

ENCOUNTER IN THE BIG THICKET by Robert J. (Jack) Duncan

When I met Jim twenty some-odd years ago, he was vice-president of an insurance company. That evening I had dinner with him and another fellow. Over drinks before dinner, he got to telling us about a strange encounter he had experienced in the Big Thicket that was reminiscent of the James Dickey book—and the Burt

Reynolds film—Deliverance.

The encounter had occurred several years earlier. At the time

Jim had lived in Dallas. He wanted to get away from the stress of his job for a few days, to get off by himself in the woods and hunt deer. During deer season, Jim drove to a small town in the Thicket.

It was a cold night. He stopped at a hamburger joint to ask directions. The cook insisted that Jim buy at least a burger or two before he would tell him anything.

As Jim was eating, the cook introduced him to another customer, Frank, who was a local hunter. Frank said that he was camped out with some of his kinfolks and invited Jim to join them.

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Part Two Day 2

Geraldine Ellis Watson University of North Texas Press PDF

Part Two, Day 1

Part Two

Day 2

SECOND DAY

River Mile 89.5

That second morning simply could not have been surpassed for beauty. Where everything turns a rich, rosy gold at evening, the mornings are silver and pearl. Mist covers the river and the sun, rising into an opalescent sky, strikes the dew drops that cover every leaf, twig, and branch, and turns them to flashing diamonds. It is interesting to know that dew neither “falls” nor “rises.”

During the day, the sun heats the earth. At night, the air cools and the earth radiates heat back into the atmosphere, condensing water in the air one molecule at a time on objects that have a lower temperature than the air. There is no dew underneath objects, as even a leaf can prevent the radiant heat from rising.

There were no fresh animal tracks on the sandbar that morning. After the crows advertised my presence the evening before, all the forest knew that

MAN was on the sandbar and avoided it. This is a good reason for barring camping on sandbars except in designated areas.

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Part III

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781574413205

Part IV

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781574413205

Jackrabbit Drives (and Other Types of Rabbit Hunting) in the Pleasant Valley Community, Fisher County, Texas

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

7978-ch04.pdf

10/6/11

8:16 AM

Page 209

JACKRABBIT DRIVES (AND OTHER

TYPES OF RABBIT HUNTING) IN THE

PLEASANT VALLEY COMMUNITY,

FISHER COUNTY, TEXAS by Ruth Cleveland Riddels

Jackrabbit drives were conducted in Fisher County as early as 1920 and continued until after World War II. In The Picture Book of

Fisher County, compiled by The Fisher County Historical Commission, page 192, there are two pictures of groups of men with guns that were labeled “Rabbit Drive, 1920” and “Rabbit Drive, 1941.”

During those years the jackrabbit population had increased to plague proportions, “eating everything in sight.” Rabbits will not only eat plants above the ground but will then dig up the roots.

Rabbits also will eat the bark off young trees, and large jackrabbits standing on their hind legs can eat a lot of bark. I don’t know what the conditions were that caused the increase of the jackrabbit population to the extent that the jackrabbits were a menace to all edible plants and the livelihood of rural families, nor do I know why the jackrabbit population has never increased to the point of being such a menace again. They certainly were not hunted to extinction, as plenty of them can still be found in west Texas.

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The Lore of Wild Hog Hunting in Texas

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

7978-ch02.pdf

10/6/11

8:15 AM

Page 139

THE LORE OF WILD HOG

HUNTING IN WEST TEXAS by Kenneth W. Davis

In many parts of West Texas on Friday and Saturday nights when there are neither football nor basketball games, chronological or psychological adolescents and others—male and female, from ages about fourteen through sixty or way beyond—delight in roaring around farm and ranch lands after dusk in high-powered all-wheel drive vehicles—mostly pickups equipped with strong spot lights.

These vigorous people are armed with 30.06s and similar weapons.

In a single four-wheel-drive pickup there is usually enough ammunition to quell a moderate-sized insurrection or flying saucer invasion. The presence of intrepid hunters is welcomed by owners of the land over which these Nimrods ramble frantically in search of what is considered a dangerous creature found almost everywhere in Texas: the wild hog. These hogs are a nuisance, a pestilence, threats to man and beast, and, of course, they smell bad, have ticks, and are ugly. In most species the very young are at least somewhat cute. Not so with wild hogs I have seen up close in West Texas.

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Part Three Day 1

Geraldine Ellis Watson University of North Texas Press PDF

Part Three, Day 1

Part Three

Day 1

EVADALE

Part Three, Day l 9:00

AM

After a night of rest and revictualing, I took to the river again. The TV weatherman had warned about rain and thunderstorms, but I dismissed the possibility with the confidence born of the experience of seeing many a TV weather prediction come to naught. Regina drove my pickup home. We did not leave a vehicle at the landing site as I had the Park Service radio to notify her of my arrival at my destination. There was a good current, the sky was sunny, and my heart was light.

Shortly after leaving the Highway 96 bridge, I came to the site of the old highway. Its span over the stream has been removed, but the railroad bridge, picturesque with its framework of iron girders, is still in use. I remember when the old highway bridge was built around 1931! It was the first bridge to span the Neches River and its presence was the finish to the steamboat era.

On the bluff, where the riverboats discharged and took on cargo, there were docks built of great pilings and large planks of virgin longleaf pine. One of my earliest recollections was going down to the wharves to see the steamboats.

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