When John and I sold “Los Cuernos” Ranch in South Texas we settled in the Texas Hill Country. We named our place “Chital Ridge” after the local Axis deer who share the ranch. John took his resume in to Clint Schroeder, owner of the local West Kerr Current because he wanted to keep writing. Clint said he couldn’t afford him and John replied that he didn’t ask to be paid! Between October of 2003 and 2013 John wrote over 400 stories. I am thrilled to share some of them here.
John said these weekly columns were some of his most enjoyable work. No pressure, no one dictating what he wrote about, just fun stories about what was on his mind and in his heart. ENJOY! Jeanne Wootters January 2019
Sep 27, 2007
Hunting guides see a lot of shots at game. Mostly, they keep their opinions to themselves, perhaps permitting themselves a mumbled “Good show” or “Well done”. In my 40 years of guided hunting, I’ve been pleased to receive many compliments on my shooting, ranging from a slap on the back to a heartfelt “Good shot!”
Sep 20, 2007
We’d all be better off if we were not only deer hunters, but also deerwatchers, in the same sense that some of us are birdwatchers. We watch birds to enjoy their beauty, grace and sprightliness. There is pleasure to be had from watching whitetail deer going about their daily lives, too, aside from looking for antlers.
Aug 2, 2007
The bobwhite quail is a gentleman. He’s polite; he goes by the rules and plays fair. The scaled quail (AKA “blue quail” or “cottontop”) of south Texas doesn‘t know the word “fair;” his keyword is “survive,” and he’ll do anything to accomplish that.
Jul 19, 2007
It's funny how an odor, a sound, or the ghost of a flavor can instantly transport one back to some earlier, fondly-remembered time. A few bars of some popular song from your highschool days can suddenly bring rushing back all the emotions, hopes, and sensations of your dating days.
Jun 21, 2007
He was born in 1875 in Houston County, Texas, the son of a circuit-riding Methodist preacher. He was named Robert Joseph Spence, but everybody except family called him “Mister Bob.” Sometime during the first World War, he was elected sheriff of Houston County, an office he held into the socalled Roaring Twenties.
May 31, 2007
We have no idea where she came from or how she found us, but a wild turkey hen simply walked into the yard of our ranch house in the brushlands of Webb County one day and adopted us. I named this bird “Mahonia.” I don’t recall why; that’s the scientific name of a prickly shrub common here in the Hill Country called “agarita.”
May 3, 2007
Of all the game birds in North America, the only one with which I have a real love-hate relationship is the Common (or Wilson’s) snipe, often called “jacksnipe.” Snipe are devious, unscrupulous little birds, and they don’t play fair. When you flush one from his marshy playground, does he fly smooth and straight like any honest bird?
Apr 5, 2007
An aspect of African hunting you’ve probably never heard of is the so-called little antelopes. When you see the word Africa, you rightly enough expect lions and leopards, buffalo and elephants, or maybe the big, glamorous antelopes – kudu, sable, oryx and such.
Mar 15, 2007
Gzing upon the athetic wreckage fa full-grown moose surrounded by giant paw prints in the snow, the quotation, "What manner of beast do I pursue?" ran through my thoughts. It was April, springtime in the brooding, eerie, icy Bendeleben Mountains 50 miles north of Nome, Alaska.
Jan 25, 2007
No African safari could get very far without native trackers. These men are proud professionals, indispensable to the Professional Hunters (PH) they assist, and their talents are admired even among their own people. They are the elite of the safari crew.