Road trips: Family makes hunting and fishing more fun

Published on Thursday, 19 June 2014 09:23 - Written by By STEVE KNIGHT, outdoor@tylerpaper.com

I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal because after all you can’t beat Mother Nature.

It was Father’s Day and my sons Tristan and Thomas, along with daughter-in-law Mary, had planned to go to Cooper Lake and fish for hybrid striped bass with guide Tony Parker. It was kind of the completion of a circle as both of the boys first trip with a guide was with Parker years ago.

Unfortunately the wind was howling at sunrise and was supposed to peak around 25 miles per hour by afternoon when we were to get on the lake. Parker called and said he and a client had one hybrid and one white bass in the boat that morning.

We ate Mexican food at Margarita’s instead. It was nice, but not the same.

The boys, I guess they should be called men, are grown now. Both has a job, thank goodness, and have a life that doesn’t depend on dad taking them hunting or fishing.

But man did we have a good run of it when they were growing up.

Getting to take them from time to time was one of the perks of this job. I hope we would have gone anyway. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed their more structured events like soccer, Little League and school activities, but it was the hunting and fishing trips that were always the most fun. Maybe it was because at the end of the day it didn’t matter the outcome, we were still going to enjoy ourselves.

I still drive by or go to some of the same places we went when they were younger. It is amazing how a roadside park along a desolate West Texas highway, a curve in a road on a ranch or a spot on a lake can bring back memories; memories of an emergency pit stop, a successful shot at a deer or a big bass.

I was fortunate that my kids liked going hunting and fishing. They may have like it too much. A favorite family story is about the time Thomas, the youngest, stayed home from elementary school with a stomach ache. During the day I get a call asking if he could watch a Disney movie. It sounded innocent enough.

A couple of hours later I got home and asked about the movie, only to be told he hadn’t watched it yet. It seems the crows were flying over the pasture next door so he slipped out the back door and took a few shots.

That of course prompted a new house rule that said if you stayed home sick you couldn’t go hunting.

Tristan might have missed a few days of school to go hunting as well. I will never forget the first time he went with me. He wasn’t old enough to shoot, but he was old enough to walk along and watch during a visit to a hunting preserve for an afternoon hunt.

Things were going along great. The dogs pointed well, the birds flew and I hit some shots. One in particular was a ring-necked pheasant I blew the head off. Instead of falling dead to the ground it landed with its feet down and took off running.

I turned and looked at Tristan and immediately imaged the story he would tell at school the next day and the reaction it would get from the other first or second graders.

Like a judge at a jury trial, I told him to disregard that portion of the hunt and not to bring it up again.

As they grew up we continued to go. We fished the coast along with area lakes and ponds. We would make side trips on the way to or from soccer tournaments to hunt dove. We hunted turkeys in the snow one spring. There were deer hunts here and there.

There were few rules other than the guns weren’t play toys and don’t disrespect the land, the livestock or the wildlife. Eat what you want, get as dirty as you want and let’s go root around and make an adventure of it.

As they have gotten older there have not been as many trips where it has been the three of us. It has been more going with one or the other, which isn’t all that bad.

But I do kind of miss the adventures and misadventures of hunting with the two, watching them kid each other and pick on each other. Watching one of them hit something or catch a fish and the other be silently jealous and proud of their brother at the same time.

The Mexican food was still good. Fishing would have been better.

 

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