As I have told you this special father/son hunt goes on for three day’s and did so for almost two decades. Each year you would see the progression as the fathers got older and the boy’s grew into young men. As Work School, and Marriage take their toll on the number of participants able to attend the annual hunt; a few new guests are added. These guest were usually business associates, friends or school chums of the participants.
Men being Men; over the years special awards were given out at the closing ceremony for special and not so special happenings that occurred during that years hunt. The winner from the past year held the title all year and would bring it back to be awarded the next year. Some of the categories were: Deer with most points( largest rack); a cut of cedar with a large rack shed found in the pasture screwed to it.  Largest Doe killed (by weight after field dressed); a cedar cut with a long doe’s tail mounted on it.  Ghost Buck (the Biggest Racked Buck seen but disappeared before a shot was fired); a cut of pine with nothing on it but the title.  The Empty Clip ( one that forgot to chamber a shell in the stand before trying to shoot or shot the most not hitting the deer or left their bullets at the Lodge); a barn board with a thermometer and shell casing on it saying Buck Fever.  The Slasher (hunter who wasn’t able to hold down their last meal while field dressing their kill); a barn board with grass on it with a fake rubber pile of vomit! All of the awards had a paper on the back that was signed and dated as to who and when they were won. Tradition!
One other event that showed it’s head from time to time was the piratical joke. The huntmaster C III had staged a major joke at least three times over the last twenty years. They would be planed, casted, and directed by the huntmaster; as to whom this dastardly deed would be performed on as well as who had a need to know when it was going down. In the early 1990’s I made my first of many trips on the hunt. I was to take the lead in his next production, the joke to end all jokes———
THE STING !!!!!!! The Patsy’s have been picked, the Players are told the plan, and the timing is set! I arrive at the Lodge at 8:30am Saturday morning, to run a practice trial on a partner of Dr. Bob in the teeth busness.The Plan was for me to ride with the huntmaster as he made pickups of hunters on his route for lunch break. I would at the Dr. partners stand check him out for all the law requires. Here I stand in full costume ready to make an arrest. I am wearing my dress Fire Chief shirt with blue work pants and jacket, a Chief’s gold badge (plainly stated in view), a holstered 30 cal. pistol (not loaded), and a hand-held radio on my hip( on scan so police chatter could be heard). I place my camo baseball cap on and I then walk up to the stand where the hunter sits and watches as I approach. I greet him and introduce myself as officer Rollins and I state”unload your weapon and come down out of the stand. I need to see your licence”! He climbs down and pulls his bill-fold to seek his licence. It could not be found; to his surprise! I told him he was breaking the law and could be arrested. We walk back to the truck as he is telling me he had just bought the licence Friday morning to go on this hunt; I agreed to let him check his truck when we got back to the Lodge. [ I already know his wife had lifted it from his wallet and given it to Dr.Bob before he had left home.] We arrive back at the Lodge. He goes to his truck and begins to move everything inside in search of the missing licence, but has no luck. As other hunter aid him in his search they begin to tell him of his pending doom; as they tell him they were here the last tine I checked them and had hauled two off to jail. He now gives up after calling his wife to see if he left it at home; she tells him she saw him put it in his bill-fold. He now faces his fate! Dr. Bob walks up and introduces me as his friend and tells him he has just been Stung! The trial had worked, it’s now time to setup the big one, the main event is tonight!
The main event will involve two student, away at school, who have been invited by C IV the son of the huntmaster. One of the young men is the nephew of BP, a close friend of C III and the other is a school mate of C IV, a US Senator’s son, in school near D.C. who plans on flying back home on a afternoon flight on Sunday. I had left before they arrived to the Lodge as to remain unknown to the two young men.
I sit on a hill out of site but in view of the lodge. I am driving a red chevy II blazer with revolving red emergency lights on the roof, dressed as I was that morning. The trucks leave to take the hunters to the stands for the last chance of the hunt weekend. CA, the property caretaker, is taking the students to their stands that is in an area he fells will give them a chance for a big buck. This would be their only hunt for this weekend. I drive to the Lodge for final instructions as the other special guest arrive for the last meal and the closing ceremony. Dusk is falling as the radio crackles the message from the caretaker, several shots have been fired from the area the students were placed they should have a deer.
We leave the lodge with six or seven cars in tow. I set up on the cross road to do my road block check of the young hunters as the other car park behind a thicket and come to hide near my location to watch the sting unfold. After some chatter over the news of the kills, I fire off the red lights and prepare for my check point,as the others hide. Here they come, was the cry as I move out in the head lights to be seen by the on coming truck and hunters. The truck arrives, it’s show time! I walk up to the window and tell CA I need to see everyone’s licence and any game killed. CA hands me a master card I look at it and hand it back with a polite thanks. C IV gives me a library card, I return it in the same manor. I turn to check our patsy’s in the back when a CLICK comes from the stack of guns between the front seat; this was my reminder to check the guns, as a loaded gun was against the rules of the hunt if you are on the ground. I check and find one gun with a clip in it loaded. I ask who’s gun id this? A weak voice answers; that the one I was using, I know I removed the clip. Well how did it get loaded again.? No answer came. I stated the gun was now impounded and let me see your licence. Neither student could find their licenses. They looked very bewildered! I checked the two big bucks killed and each young man clamed their kill. I then ask them to exit the truck and that they were going to the jail in Hamilton.They climbed into the back set of the blazer (after removing the baby seat and putting in the back). I told them their charges; the senators son–having no hunting licence and having a loaded gun on the ground; the nephew for not having a licence and killing a large 12 point. After loading the gun in the blazer we leave to go to Hamilton.[ I take the long way around to allow the others hiding to get their rides and head to the cooler where I would wind up after about a ten minute ride with the boys]. As I drive around killing time( the boys don’t know the property) I tell the boys it will be Monday before a judge can set bail, they would stay in jail till then! They talk among themselves quietly, then they asked if they could call home when they get there. I told them they could if the lines were repaired from being cut by a backhoe earlier this afternoon, but it may be Monday before the phone people get there. The senators son tell me he must be on the plane in Atlanta by 3pm Sunday. I said” I’m sorry but the judge must rule” it’s out of my hands. Another sigh comes from the back seat!
I cut back toward the cooler, telling them I must check the day’s kill before we leave. We arrive at the cooler and meet a crowed of hunters and guest viewing the weekends kill. They all turn and walk up as I park the Blazer and get out with the boys still inside. I get out and ask” who is the responsible adult here in charge of these young men?” As the boys looked out wide eyed no one answered! After a few moments, C III and BP walked to the car and opened the door. The boys stepped out of the car C III told them they had been Stung! He then introduced me to them and told them to use this as a lesson; look closely at all officers and read their badge and ask for an ID. They read my badge. FIRE CHIEF?? Aw Man!!
The Sting was over and also the Gathering and Hunt for this year! Dinner and the closing ceremony left to do then there is next year!
The final toast to the hunt has been made for this Father/son Hunt! It’s tradition still lives on as hunts are still held at different locations fragmented off from the group as the fathers are older,the sons are now fathers themselves scattered all over this great country. Somewhere as the season closes, a toast was made to the kill, a young boy grows toward manhood, and the memories of past hunts will live on in the minds of men and boys!!
Thanks Ron Rollins