Hill Country Awakening

I had hunted my entire life in the Piney woods and river bottoms of East Texas.  I had never hunted anywhere else and the only exposure I had to other places was through a 3 foot tall stack of old hunting magazines that a family friend had thrown out and I had rescued.  Some of these magazines went back to the late 60’s and early 70’s. This didn’t matter too much as they were all new to me.
I read adventures of safari hunts in Africa and Elk hunts in the mountains.  Both were places I never expected to make it in my life.  But what I didn’t know is that I did not need to travel thousands of miles to have great adventures.  My own state of Texas held some adventures as exciting as any in Africa or mountainous state had to offer. From abundant whitetails to dozens of species of exotics the Hill Country has much to offer.
I was sitting at my desk in Tenaha Highschool when the lady in the office came over the loudspeaker saying that I was needed in the office.  Being as how I spent quite a bit of time in the Principals office it came as no shocker to be summoned there.  When I reached the office my dad was standing there and I must say I got a bit weak in the knees.  The only reason my dad ever came to school was when the principal had called him or we had a death in the close family.  Either way it was never good.  My dad said only 3 words. “Get your stuff” and he turned and walked out.  I knew I was done for.  I had already started having thoughts of either planning my funeral or how life as a hobo was going to be.
As I walked out of the school doors I saw my uncle Larry’s Suburban and it was packed full of gear.  I was not told what was going on.  I was left in total darkness.  We drove for ever it seemed then pulled into an old barn where we slept a few hours. Ay 4am I was rousted from my uncomfortable slumber and told to get my hunting clothes on.  I did so and we had a few twinkies and a soda then climbed in an old beat up truck and deposited on stands.  At daybreak the world came alive and it was like waking up in a dream instead of from one. Mesquite trees and Prickly Pears were everywhere. Deer started moving all around me. I had never seen so many deer.  Literally hundreds of deer could be seen. Some a mile away on some distant plateau and some eating grass at the leg of my stand. 
This sent me into a fever. I was armed with my 22 Hornet.  I only had 2 rifles. One was my grandfathers ww2 vintage M1 carbine with open sights and pistol caliber.  The other was my 22 Hornet.  A beauty of a bolt action Savage with a 3×9 scope.  Not a knockdown king but you could thread a needle with it out to 150 yards.  I saw so many deer and finally took a doe at less than 50 yards with a neck shot.
I was hooked on the Hill Country.  For many years my uncle and I hunted Llano and Mason counties and we made many adventures and misadventures together.  We forged some of the greatest memories in my life together in the Hill Country.  We hunted exotic African game and game from all over the world and all right here in Texas
Jeff Stewart

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