By Dr. Johnnie Rosenauer
As best I can recall, my deer hunting adventures began in the fall of 1957 as a six-year-old. I had been pestering my dad and grandfather to let me go with them since I was about four. The first trip was a Saturday afternoon, sitting with my dad in a brush pile overlooking the edge of thick brush and a newly-cleared piece of land destined to become farmland. It was cold and I could not keep still. Net result… banished as my dad’s hunting “partner” for two years!
In fairness, Johnnie Sr. was working 60-hour weeks with an invalid wife confined to a wheelchair due to polio and two little kids. It was easier for me to comprehend later that “the woods” represented his mental hygiene sessions and he did not need a squirming kid messing up that rare and precious time.
I hunted mostly with my grandfather during those years, and he sure did teach me a whole lot. After age 12 or so I was on my own and recall my first buck vividly. Especially the part where dad and granddad said, “You killed it, you clean it”!
If my math is right, 2017 totals the 60th year out in La Brasada for me. Every year that has passed represents significant time working and hunting the land. Here lately something happened on a trip that was a new experience for me and worth telling about.
In our little neck of the woods once all my fingers have counted off the first ten days of December, it is time to start hunting for rutting bucks. On December 16th I was able to rattle and grunt up two mature bucks and then three smaller ones in the span of about an hour from two different locations. The younger bucks came out within about five minutes of each other and were standing around trying to figure out where “the fight” was.
All of a sudden three sets of eyes and ears became focused on one spot. Then they high tailed it out of the country like something big and mean was headed towards them! I got all ready, thinking either some hogs or another big old buck was coming to my horns and grunts.
When our cattle tenant moved his animals off this particular ranch in the late summer, he discovered one small calf was accidentally left. He asked and of course I agreed for him to take the cow back to save the baby. That day and a half or so abandonment made this little guy very attached to his momma and we hardly ever saw them apart.
Well the monster that was coming to my horn rattling and buck grunting happened to be that calf, now weighing upwards of 400 pounds. He came out of the thicket bawling and raising a big ruckus, thinking my calling was for him and from his mother.
I did not see one more game animal after that, even after things settled down for a couple of hours. In retrospect there may be some more new and wonderful sights and experiences yet to come for this old Aggie out in La Brasada. But I do not think any of them will surprise me more than “rattling up a bawling calf”!
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