Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

November 19, 2012

COLUMN: The deer camp

— Just over a week ago while going over the obituaries, I was saddened to read of the passing of an old friend and fellow deer hunter, Henry George. Henry was a member of the Upton Hunting Club, a group of Parker County businessmen and residents who joined together for the camaraderie, as well as the excitement of the hunt, for more than a half century. Henry was one of the last of the old-time club members.

This original group of hunters, organized in the late 1920s, was made up of R. A. Wheeler, Jack Pickard, Bill Upton, H. K. Whaley, Bill White and Joe Quante. Shortly afterward, they were joined by Hall Buchanan and Jess Mahan. They leased the White Ranch near Mason in the Hill Country and remained there for about 40 years. At the time deer were almost non-existent here in Parker County. The cedar breaks of Palo Pinto County and surrounding areas had some deer, but the Hill Country provided for much better hunting.

Today, hunters gather at their leases where they have all the amenities and comforts of home. Often they have RVs or cabins on the lease. Many will have a communal kitchen, showers, cold storage lockers and toilet facilities. Consider how these earliest hunters must have fared. Can you imagine driving just under 200 miles on gravel/dirt roads in a Model T Ford, cooking over an open fire, sleeping in a tent, and heading for the brush to care for nature’s needs?

While being able to take a trophy buck is part of the thrill, getting away from the grind of work and the pressures of daily life, even for a few days, is cathartic for the soul. I suppose there are those who would brand deer hunting as a barbaric sickness, reverting to primal behavior. I would view it as cleansing of the spirit. Men were hunters long before we became psychiatrists, politicians and pundits.

I transitioned into the Upton Hunting Club quite easily because Bill Upton was my father-in-law. Although I was able to participate as a full member for only a few years because of my assignments in the Navy, I was blessed to have known this fellowship. Even during the years I was stationed far from home, I often was able to enjoy a brief hunt as a guest while on leave at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I will always treasure the memories of Orville Yates’ sourdough rolls, the nickel-dime-quarter poker games, the exaggerated stories of the BIG one that got away, and the fellowship with so many of Parker County’s finest citizens. As far as I know, Wayne Ellis, founder of Ellis Equipment, is the only one left of the original group that I knew best. Although a few latter day “youngsters” like me, Jim Duncan, Bill Parkey, Dave Deison, Don Woodruff, Harold Skiles and others are still around, the old guard is all but gone.

During the many decades of the Upton Hunting Club’s existence, it served as a model of such fellowship. For most of its operation, club rules were strictly applied, alcohol consumption was minimal, and personal conflict was almost non-existent. I was fortunate to have enjoyed such a rich legacy. I mourn Henry’s passing, and also the passing of an era.

Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy Commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to nowhearthis@pwhome.com.

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: The fox and the hound, plus Max

    Almost without exception, most farms are protected to some degree by guard animals. Dogs and cats are most commonly used to defend against intruders and nuisance pests around the farmstead. In recent years with the proliferation of coyotes, many folks are using guard donkeys or llamas to protect their livestock.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Laws can’t be ignored

    Senator Harry Reid said, “We just can’t let people ignore the law.”

    April 20, 2014

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    Not much is known about this Joseph’s life. The one thing I know for sure is that he was a very brave man.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet!

    Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Showing respect

    My sister Robbie Benton’s funeral was Friday afternoon at White’s Funeral Home. The gravesite was outside of Mineral Wells. The respect shown by the good folks of Parker County and the surrounding area was overwhelming.

    April 17, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Going on a wild goose chase

    In recent years I’ve written quite a bit about the introduction and negative consequences of non-native or invasive species. Fire ants, killer bees, English sparrows, Asian carp, feral hogs and others too numerous to list have forever changed our local ecosystem.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: TV offers

    Have you seen those TV offers where they give a price for one product and then offer a second like items for-free? All you have to do is pay a separate shipping and handling charge for the “free” items.

    April 13, 2014

  • John Paul Carter-color.jpg NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s in a name?

    Names are important. When my son, Rush, (who’s named after my father) and his wife, Vanessa, were expecting their third daughter, I gave up on having a male namesake and suggested, in jest, they call her “Johnnie Pauline.”

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: The Christian and the government

    The church in the Old Testament lived under a theocracy. That is, both the church and state were one. God anointed kings. Civil laws and religious laws were one and the same.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Getting in the chicken business

    Anyone who is my age or older has heard the famous quote, “A chicken in every pot.” It is normally attributed to Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential bid.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US