Snapshots from the woods and fields
A. Ray Lee
The young student pastor had grown up in the city but he was serving our rural church. At the time it was a small congregation with Sunday services only. His responsibilities were not great allowing him to spend the week at college and then drive to the church field on Saturday afternoon. After the Sunday night service concluded he drove back to be ready for classes on Monday morning.
Sometimes he heard men of the church talk about coon hunting. He thought if he could hunt with some of them it would help in relationships. Hunting on Sunday may have still been against the law in 1943. It certainly was frowned upon by church people. He talked to J. J. and they devised a plan whereby they would sit up until midnight and hit the woods at 12:01 Monday morning.
After stumbling through briars and brush for hours chasing the howling dogs, he was more than ready to come out of the woods to a warm breakfast and hurry back to the order of a classroom. It had been his hunt for a lifetime.
Flint Creek floods occasionally out on Lee Road. At which times it covers the bottom land up to the cotton fields. In the days of my youth before the coyote invasion, there was an abundance of rabbits which were hunted not as much for sport as food. One year when I was about eight years old the backwaters were high, and neighbors got together to hunt the barren cotton fields where the rabbits had congregated. After the hunt was over each family had a rabbit or two for supper. I can still remember what a welcome change from pork fat-back those crispy fried rabbits provided.
Years later in 1954, I had come home for a few days at Christmas from Chattanooga where I was a freshman in college. The creek had overflowed its banks just enough to provide pools of water in the bottoms. One such spot was in a cornfield adjacent to the woods. Before dawn a friend and I concealed ourselves on a high spot behind a screen of reeds and waited for the ducks to fly into gun range. When they began to settle in the water we fired and downed several. Then it dawned on us we did not have a boat or waders in which to collect our game. The chill of chest-deep December water was forgotten when we sat down to a Christmas duck dinner.
Many wives can tell you that deer hunting can become addictive. All family activities must be planned around scheduled hunts. A daughter had accepted a proposal from her beau and announced her choice of date for the wedding. She had to change it because it coincided with the final hunt of the season at the Post Oak club where her father was a member.
A young deacon in pursuit of a big buck had been fortunate enough to draw a hunting pass to a highly protected game preserve for its annual three-day hunt. He had planned to hunt Friday and Saturday before driving back to his responsibilities in church on Sunday. But temptation got the best of him. Not having seen a deer he decided to stay over and hunt on Sunday for a final chance to score. As luck would have it, about church time he shot and knocked down a big eight-point buck. In his excitement, he laid down his gun and reached to turn his prize over to get a better look at its rack. To his dismay, the buck jumped up and ran away. When he related the story to his pastor he said, “I knew I should not have been hunting on Sunday.”
The public attitude against hunting has drastically changed over the years. To those who abhor the hunting tradition let me remind you it dates back to the creation. In the early chapters of Genesis, we find Nimrod about whom it was said he was a great hunter. Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, is also remembered for his hunting skills and his ability to prepare a tasty dish of venison