As age creeps up on a person you tend to dwell on the past more and more. It’s those memories that make us who we are and offer some future to look forward to. It’s because the book of what will be is now compact.
I was thinking of old, now-departed hunting partners as I leaned back against an old and now-decrepit locust post that has grown as hard as steel over the past year. Are we that much different? We had better be like that post, hard and tough as we try to do those things we used to do.
The new license year has started, and it finds me back out in my favorite field, which is why I’m leaning on the post thinking of the past. The hay has been mowed from the field and it is either in the barn or lying in some field packed in a round bale form and appearing like giant marshmallows. That is the dinner that the cows will feast on this winter.
It is natural that, while I’m waiting and watching my field, my thoughts drift to the many shots I have taken across this field during deer season. It has to number in the 100s because I have shot at deer more than 100 times.
I wonder how many bullets I have thrown at my other favorite target, the grouchy hairy beast living in this same field. While a buck has antlers and is glorified, the groundhog just goes about his business eating whatever greenery he can get to and digging the many destructive holes that make up his home.
I really don’t know who the first person was that decided this was a varmint that does damage to crops and should be hunted in this manner. I’d like to thank him or her. It offers the summertime hunter a target and usually a long- range target. Some unusual stories come to mind, so bear with me as I reminisce about a few of the better ones with you my reader.
I am thinking about a shot I once made in this very field. We had been shooting groundhogs all day and one particular groundhog had been standing out there just munching away. He was so far away we never took a shot at him. Finally, at the end of the day I just decided to take a chance. I shot at that far-out groundhog and, goodnight groundhog. Of course, no one could believe I hit him, including me, so two of us walked out to see. My friend picked him up and said, “George, you hit him in the left eye.” I aimed at his right one, I said. I was joking. In reality, I couldn’t say at that range where I might hit.
Then there was the one that was lying near an old abandoned barn. He was a little off to one side of the dilapidated building. The shot was clean, and I scored. Suddenly, much to our surprise, a couple ran out of the old barn with a blanket. I have to say we were all a bit surprised that day. At least one of us scored.
One time a buddy of mine laid down to take a shot in this field, right on top of a black snake. He was so excited to take the shot it took a minute to register. Then he got even more excited as he jumped up. Nobody got hurt – the snake or the guy – but boy did we laugh.
One time I took a shot at a fairly close groundhog and missed. Darn if he didn’t turn and come back at us after the shot. My buddy looked, scratched his head and said we better run because the groundhogs are starting to revolt.