We had dinner at a favorite Tyler restaurant and were about to get in the truck and head home.
I looked at where I had parked the truck, and nothing computed. My mind said I was looking at a different truck because something didn't look right.
I looked again and noticed the tailgate was open, something I never do. Then I looked another time and realized what was wrong — the giant, two-dog aluminum box was gone.
My first thought was disbelief. Then I immediately said to myself they cut the cable. A half-inch cable with a lock that had secured the box to the truck was indeed cut.
Who brings bolt cutters to supper?
Before the night was over I would go through a range of emotions starting at mad and going to combustible. While waiting for the police to arrive I must have walked outside a half dozen times into the cold night air just to calm down. I walked back inside even madder.
I hadn't had the box that long. I bought it last summer when I became a two-dog owner. Until Friday, it had moved up the list to one of my favorite outdoor-related purchases ever. It might be considered an extravagance, but it made life so much easier to haul dogs, their gear and mine.
I would guess the people who stole it plan to use it to haul around hog dogs if it wasn't a case of greed and it was taken to be sold. I just can't imagine some old quail hunters lifting it in the dark of the night.
The case is in the hands of the Tyler Police and I can only hope they find who stole it. I realize a missing dog box probably isn't a high priority case, but when it was something you owned it is hard to think of anything more important.
As bad as this felt at the moment, I later realized it could have been worse. A lot worse. This is hunting season and there was other gear in my truck worth more than the dog box. The tool box was full of arrows, hunting boots and a tripod. There were binoculars, a rangefinder and camouflage clothing in the cab. Used, they may not have had a lot of value, but to replace everything I could have been looking at $2,000-plus real quick.
Fortunately, my truck wasn't hit. It was the next in line. But that was the last time I have ever left guns in a vehicle overnight anywhere.
To be honest, I don't even like leaving them in the truck when parked on a secluded ranch, and while I carry clothing and other gear in a toolbox while traveling, the guns are never stored there in case I stop for meals or something.
The first time I lost hunting gear was the worst. It was a home burglary and all my guns and hunting clothes were taken.
It is not what they took, but where they took it from. Having something taken from your car is bad. A home burglary is on a whole different level.
A lot of hunters are going to wait until the end of hunting season to unload their truck. My advice is don't. Do it now before you too become a statistic.
Also, think about what you have at your home and how easy it is to access. I was looking recently and realized a gun safe costs the same as a rifle and scope or an over/under shotgun.
Get your gear out of sight in the garage where it is easy pickings.
And for fishermen who think they are immune, police in Corpus Christi recently said one of the top items stolen in that city is fishing gear. Easier to carry than a television and a lot less noticeable, fishing rods are impossible to trace and can bring a few dollars.
Of course the warning for fishermen goes beyond the house to the boat and boathouse where it is convenient to leave gear, making it easy for both the fisherman and thieves to get to.
I still don't get taking bolt cutters to supper.
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