As I have stated before, my father, for twenty years was a game warden for what is now known as The Texas Wildlife Commission. He taught my brother and me a lot about hunting, fishing, and tracking, although I never developed a real liking for fish.
I was fourteen years old the first time he took me on a deer hunt near the south end of Texas' Yellowhouse Canyon, not too far outside of Lubbock, Texas. A rancher friend of dad's gave permission to hunt on his two hundred plus acres.
After about two hours of hiking we finally saw one, about one hundred and fifty yards from us.
Oh, how majestic he was, about an eight-point buck. Dad handed me the 30.06 rifle. Sitting on the ground, with my elbows braced against my knees, dad said, "take the shot when you're ready, but if you wait too long, he will run!"
After it was over, and packing the rifle in its case and closing the trunk lid of the car, dad put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Son, you did well!" I never pulled the trigger. I yelled at that beautiful animal, and he took off as if he were shot out of a cannon. You see, he posed no threat to me. Looking at him through the sight I realized that all he was wanting to do was survive.
I didn't want, or need, a hat rack.
In memory of "Cecil the Lion."
copyright: richard riddle-July 30, 2015