The Writer's Corner
2 - The Hunt
Written by Frank Charles aka weinerdawgy
the ladies were busy cooking a huge supper in the lodge while
Sam and some of the men talked over business at the bar. Steaks
were ready to grill as soon as the fence crew got back from the
range. The lodge was proving to be one grand idea. It gave the
entire operation a family atmosphere and made it easy to share
the meals. Some of the men had families to go home to and on
occasion brought them to the lodge for supper. Since before the
wedding there were a number of guests and it was easier to
continue having group meals at the lodge. Vanessa looked forward
to a time though when things would settle down and she could
concentrate on her own household.
It was starting to get dark, Sam put most of the steaks on the
grill and held some to the side for Lucas and the bunch upon
their arrival. Vanessa came out to join him as the sweet smell
of sizzling beef surrounded them.
“I had forgotten just how good the smell of grilling meat was
Sam. I’m so glad to be back here with you. All of this time away
has dulled my senses. I’m so sorry.”
“Not to worry my dear. I like to think we both needed time to
sort things out. Now we can get along without you missing your
family so much and I have a new appreciation for having you here
with me.” Sam put his arm around her and kissed her on the
“I’m looking forward to the time when we can relax and enjoy
some alone time. Does the excitement ever end around here?”
“Only in the evenings I’m afraid. There’s much to do right now.
The guests are set to be here a while longer I reckon. Lucas
says he may ask them to stay for another wedding.”
“Yes, I understand that. I suppose once that is over with,
things can settle down.”
“I hope you realize that the partnership was my idea at first
and that it has been a great thing for all of us to spend time
“Of course dear, I understand. It’s just new to me. I like it
this way for your sake. It’s good to see you so enthused over
your work and friends. And Ann seems so happy. Will is just what
she needed. Maybe they can be more comfortable in the log house
“The original idea was for Lucas and me to be able to sneak off
and hide there, but things have changed a great deal since then.
Lucas stands to do a lot of traveling with Masterson and the
ladies will no doubt go with them. We haven’t talked about what
Lucas wants to do once he comes back from that. His ranch house
will be a better place most of the time. The lodge can house
guests after that I suppose. We can even build another house in
the future. We do have plenty of room.”
“I guess it’s just the impatient mother syndrome coming out.
Don’t worry about a thing Sam. I feel better just talking about
it. Promise me we’ll always be able to talk.”
“I promise Vanessa. And I’m sorry if I sometimes get lost in my
work. It was that way before. I let you slip away and I don’t
blame you for going home. I hope it did you good. As you can
see, Ann and I have done well here. Lucas and Mark kept us
“I was so worried that Ann was going to be an old maid. We can’t
always understand what makes children do what they do. I can see
now that her waiting for Will was a good thing. That story about
Jack is troubling though. Does your taking Walt on as a partner
mean Jack will be coming back here?”
“At this point, I won’t encourage it. Walt can keep him to his
own place if that should be the case. He still has to survive
prison before he can think about coming home. Walt isn’t pleased
with him to say the least. After what happened in the shoot out,
I don’t reckon Jack will be coming anywhere near Ann ever
“My little girl, she has sure grown up. Speaking of the
darlings, I think I see them riding up. We should have the meal
ready, better put their steaks on.”
Sam started placing the meat that was grilling to the side in
order to put the rest of the steaks over the fire. Before he
knew it, a host of hungry ranchers were upon him and eager to
join the feast.
Talk of a hunting trip dominated as the evening wore on. Sam
wished he could join them, but he knew it was better to stay
home with his nesting wife at this point. Ruth, Sarah, and Emma
would need the company anyhow. The rest of the clan decided that
they would take off on Monday morning and hoped to return by
Thursday. The weekend would be spent making preparations. Once
that was settled, Lucas asked Aubrey to stand with him as he
made the official announcement.
“As all of you know, this ranch girl and I intend to marry. I
have asked everyone if they could stay if we were able to decide
within a reasonable time.” Lucas looked at Aubrey with wide eyes
and she all but melted in his arms. “Aubrey Canton, I’m going to
ask you once again before everyone here, will you marry me?”
“Yes! Lucas, Yes! I feel so much a part of this wonderful
family. I know we are ready.” Aubrey looked over at Mark, who
was all smiles. “Are you ready……Son?”
“Ready! Ma! Pa! Oh that sounds so good! Yes, I’m ready for my Pa
to be happy!”
“Alright then, I have to alert my Daniel and his family, perhaps
a few friends in Santa Fe, but I’m sure we can do this soon.
They know to be expecting an announcement. And maybe some of you
can come join us in a grand Santa Fe style party one day too.”
Aubrey kicked up her heals almost like Annie Oakley would do.
Alright then, we’ll see about having the wedding in three to
four weeks from now. We have this hunt and a target shoot to
deal with. I hope it can all work together to be as great a time
as the last wedding. We’ll know more in a few days before we
take off on the hunt.” Lucas grabbed Mark and hugged him close
to Aubrey as everyone cheered and drank a toast.
The hunting trip was to be a short one. Most times in the past,
Lucas and Mark went alone and stayed out for weeks at a time.
Stocking meat for the winter or hard times was usually the
purpose. This time was more of a social event to get out in the
country and have everyone together. If they did mange to find
some deer, all the better, but Lucas knew the chances would be
slim. Most of the animals were in the high country this time of
year where the vegetation was not so dry. Animals that wondered
downhill usually wound up eaten by a cougar.
Thoughts of a long ago incident over a cougar came to Lucas as
they made their way into the hills. He had a habit of keeping a
look out for signs of cats as well as rattle snakes. Never again
would he be caught off guard by such dangers. Mark knew this was
on his father’s mind. When he was younger he was almost attacked
from behind by a cougar as he was waiting for his Pa along a
trail. Lucas fired and missed causing the cat to run off, but it
was a close call. Ever since then, all they had to do was look
at each other and nod. The message was loud and clear. Keep a
keen eye out at all times. Lucas was confident about his aim
these days after so much target practice and his proven rifles.
The danger was unlikely with so many in the group and the
cougars would also be in the higher hunting grounds.
Aubrey and Ann were in the buckboard while the men rode fresh
young horses. It was hot and not wise to take the older horses
on such a grueling ride. With this many along, water was a very
important thing to keep an eye on. Lucas knew not to lead them
into any difficult terrain with the wagon loaded with supplies,
so they decided to set up camp in a lower spot and then take the
horses further into the hills later. This was also a safety
factor, if there were to be an emergency they would need to get
back to town quickly. It took most of the first day to ride out
and set up camp. Once they were settled, Lucas and Bat decided
to take a scout ride up the nearby hill and look over to the
“I’ve got something to show you Bat, when we get up to the top
in a few minutes there is a spot where we can see all over. Mark
and I would camp up there many times. There should be enough
light left for us to see a great distance.”
“I can’t get over how rugged the terrain is. Reminds me of
places in Arizona, hot and dry! Do you know of any water holes?
That is where we’ll find a deer I’d wager”
“Lucas nodded yes and motioned ahead to a clearing. “The break
in those trees ahead is not far from where I’m taking you and
there is a spring. Sometimes it’s still running in the summer.
Let’s slow down and be alert, never know when something might be
Sure enough, Lucas saw a young mule deer buck taking a drink.
Bat was amazed. They came to a stop and dismounted, taking their
rifles out quietly. The slight breeze was blowing in their
direction and the buck suspected nothing. Lucas nudged Bat
encouraging him to take a shot. They edged just a bit closer and
Bat took aim. The shot rang out and the buck was hit. He bounded
off into some brush with Lucas running up to see if he could
tell where. Bat came along and they thrashed their way into the
cover looking for signs of blood. It crossed Lucas’ mind that if
there were any cougars around this is when they should be most
careful. Then he heard a shout from Bat, he found the buck down
among some rocks still kicking his hind legs. They got closer
and finished off the deed.
“What do you know Lucas! Thanks for giving me first shot!”
“My pleasure Bat. Looks like we’re eating good tonight. I didn’t
expect this. You can have the honors of the first dress too!”
Bat whipped out his trusty knife and went to work cleaning the
buck and getting it ready to haul back to camp. Lucas went to
bring the horses closer and tied them off. He looked out to keep
watch while Bat was bent over dealing with the entrails. The sun
was getting low and he knew they should work fast. He got out
his rope and helped Bat tie the feet together to make it easier
to drag up to the trail. They hoisted the carcass onto the back
of Bat’s horse and off they rode.
“Never did get to look around Lucas!”
“Guess we can try that again in the morning. That was some
stroke of luck. I wonder what they’re thinking back at camp?
They must have heard the shots.”
“I think they will have a fire going and I hope the boys will be
ready to skin this guy!”
“I know Will and Dillon will wish they had come along now! I
just wanted us to have a quick look up there and maybe talk a
“Was there something you wanted to say to me? Anything wrong?”
“Oh no, just wanted to know if you and Emma are comfortable and
if my wedding fits well into your plans. I know you must be
itching to get back on the road.”
“Not at all Lucas, we have plenty of time and when the fall
comes, maybe we can take our show on to Denver with Emma for a
good start. Would you and Aubrey enjoy a honeymoon in Denver?”
“That sounds very interesting indeed. I’ll bring it up to her
soon. I know that she may want to do something in Santa Fe, but
maybe that can happen before we leave for Denver.”
“I figure to be heading north by September, before the snow
storms get bad. Emma is set to perform near the end of the month
at the Palace Theater. It will be grand my friend. We have
plenty of time for everything. Santa Fe is not so far.”
“Good, no hurries then. July promises to be a busy month though.
I’m glad for the partnership with Sam. He’s willing to oversee
things when I’m gone. This gives Will and Ann time to travel
also. I hope my wedding fits into their schedule. Will seems to
think that it will. But Ann has a great deal to do for her
riding competitions. They need to go to Dallas as well. I want
to do things so everyone is thought of.”
“I can understand your concerns Lucas. Think no more of it as
far as Emma and I go. She loves this entire visit and is
starting to feel quite at home.”
“I’m glad Bat. I can see the relaxed look in her face. And when
is the last time you stayed this long on a ranch, or anywhere
else for that matter?”
“I really can’t tell ya, probably in Denver well over a year
ago. And many years since I’ve been a regular on a ranch. I took
jobs as trail boss most of the time. We probably crossed paths
in the old days.”
“I know we have. We were both driving cattle in the same years.
There had to be a time between Fort Worth and Kansas City. And I
spent some times in Denver too. I guess we were both handy with
a rifle back then. Only yours’ was a Sharpe’s.”
The secret of my success with the buffalo. I know you don’t like
what happened back then. But it was my profession, me and a host
of others. I’m not proud of the results, but all we can do is
try to make it up to the Indian somehow. Hunting and driving
cattle have fed a nation, but it also brought one down.”
“I understand Bat. We all took part somehow. I’ve eaten plenty
of buffalo. It’s very good when cooked right. For now, I’m
looking forward to a piece of the backstrap from this deer!”
“Ah, my favorite part too. I can see the fire up ahead. Sure am
hungry now. We better help them skin this one.
It was planned to have ham for supper and the preparations were
underway. But once the gunshot was heard, hopes were up for a
venison treat. The sun was just setting as the first sections of
meat hit the fire. The ham would be good anytime. The home
smoked pork was a popular staple on the McCain ranch. Mark
thought back about chasing pigs and slopping the huge hogs. This
summer on the ranch was really working on him as he contemplated
returning to school.
“Reckon ya don’t miss doing your homework in camp, do ya son?”
Lucas smiled as he bit into his roast.
“Did ya have to remind me Pa? I’m already thinkin’ on that!
“Sorry son. I’m glad you’re here and able to enjoy some
“Sure is peaceful. I guess this buck didn’t even hear ya coming.
“It was a perfect moment with the breeze coming our way off the
hilltop. He had no idea what hit him.”
“And a perfect size and age, meat’s real tender. I think we’ll
eat most all of it tonight.”
“Looks that way. This is so good. I hope to get my fill. There
won’t be much chance of this on the road after the wedding. The
only break I got from beef and pork was the Codfish in New
“What is that like Pa. Anything like trout?”
“I have never eaten anything like it. The meat is so tender and
melts in your mouth. Trout is heavier tasting, most freshwater
fish are I reckon.”
“Hard to imagine something that big being tender. I sure hope we
can go there together someday”
“We’ll sure try son. Maybe your schoolwork can take you in that
direction in the coming years.”
“Could be, the best schools are back east. It does cross my
mind. But so does staying near this ranch. I miss it so Pa.”
“And I miss you too. I was away for long times also. It’s not
easy, never was. At least now we know it’s in good hands while
“I know, and it will still be here when we’re ready. But the
years are mostly still ahead of us. I remember when all we
thought of was my growing up so I could work alongside ya. Now
we’re both leaving for new pastures. Even New York would not be
too far away for me to come back here in the summer.”
“It was a long way son. Even Fort Worth is a long way. Things
will change as time goes by. What happens if you go off and get
elected President or some such thing?”
“Don’t go saying that now Pa! I’m looking to become something
that I can come back home to do.”
“I don’t blame ya for that boy, just never sell yourself short.
Things will always be here for us.”
Will had been quiet up to this point. “That’s right Mark. You
keep your goals set high. The ranch will never go away. And if
you find the right thing to come home with, all the better. I
never dreamed of being where I am right now. I have everyone
here to thank for that. A year from now, you may very well find
yourself in an entirely different place than what you think
“I know that can be true. I’m just starting out on this path of
higher education. History does show that things can change fast.
What happens if we have another big war?”
“I don’t see that happening any time soon son. We’re still
smarting from the last one!”
“I think the thing we have to worry about most is something
happening in a foreign land, something that forces America to
respond. I don’t know what that can be, but it’s bound to happen
one day.” Bat added. “We are learning to communicate further and
faster all the time. Trains are changing even the most remote
places now. I say America will be well off for a long time. You
will find a prosperous career young man. Do not limit yourself
to what we know as a settled life right now. Not by any means!”
“Yes sir Bat! I realize you guys know what you’re talking about.
I’m just homesick when I’m away. It’ll grow out of me as time
goes on I have to reckon. But ya’ll ain’t getting’ rid of me
“Mark, you’re getting the best of both worlds!” Dillon added.
“And we’re darn glad to be able to give it to you. Before you’re
through learnin’, you’ll be missing Oklahoma too!”
“You’re right Uncle Dillon. I must say that I’m sprouting some
roots there also. I was too young when we left before. Sure is a
luxury to have all of these places to ponder on, huh Pa?”
“When I was your age, I had no idea what the future held in
store. And I may not have wanted to go if I had. But times are
certainly different for you now. I’m no fortune teller, but I
predict great things from you. The challenge is for you to
expect great things from yourself.”
“Well put Lucas, here, here!” Bat exclaimed. Where we have been
soldiers of fortune in our day Mark, you shall be the soldier of
the future. Look beyond what you know of today. Many times I
look at what others are doing and wish I had taken higher roads.
Maybe I could have been President!” Bat rapped his cane on the
ground and laughed heartily.”
“And I could have been a General and a Senator!” Lucas chuckled.
“That’s no joke Lucas! You could have written your own ticket if
you were of a mind. You’re just as good as that to the folks
around here.” Will couldn’t help making this comment.
“Thank you Will. I’m honored to be thought well of in my home
town. I’ve been asked to run for office, but as with so many
other opportunities, I didn’t want to do something that would
take me way from Mark. Maybe I have to look further into the
future for some of those possibilities in my later life. It’s
the same for all of us. When we hear a calling, we are either
ready to answer or we’re not. My calling was to be a good father
“We can all see that Pa. You have nothing to regret. I’ll make
“Keep that promise son. I’m countin’ on ya!”
They got on the move early in the morning. No breakfast, they
ate jerky on the trail. Everybody came along and had a rifle.
After a brief lookout at the hilltop spring, it was decided that
Will and Dillon would take the boys down the hill ahead of the
rest and they would work their way across the far hillside on a
scout and flush. Lucas, Bat, and the ladies would follow quietly
a few hundred yards behind looking for any deer that would bolt
into the open. They knew to be cautious and keep a keen eye out
for the flushers if they had a shot. Bright colored shirts were
worn by all. Dillon explained that it was important to look for
signs and be quiet to start. If they saw something promising
they could then turn to making some noise to hopefully get a
deer to run forward from their position. It was not easy to show
their position because of the trees and heavy brush. It was
crucial to stay close to where they told the others they would
be to avoid being shot at. This is why the most experienced
shooters went first as the follow up party. Although it was hot,
water was running in the creek and there was plenty of shade as
they worked their way through the trees. It was most likely they
would come across a muley buck in this region. The does and
fawns usually stayed in the cooler high country on towards
Colorado until the fall. This was not a great time to be looking
for deer, but adding a little game to the meat supply would be a
help. Just getting to see the hills was the main objective. It
was most likely that they would flush an unsuspecting buck early
but even the shots ringing out last evening may have scared any
others away. The teams worked several hillsides with no luck.
The afternoon sun was starting to get to them and the horses had
just about enough energy to get back to camp. The ham was
starting to look good by the time they arrived. Lucas had
another location figured for tomorrow. For tonight, it was going
to be some sippin’ whiskey and relaxing by the fire.
The sun was bearing down early as the hunters made their way to
the west and into the higher country along the mountain range.
Lucas knew that if they were going to find any deer it would
have to be in these parts. The trails were rough and the terrain
rocky. The trees and brush were not as thick and water wasn’t as
easy to find. Once they did come upon a water fall and creek
they decided to break up into the same two teams and take
opposite sides of the creek. They agreed that nobody could fire
across the water. The lead on each side would stay in view as
best they could so neither team would get far ahead of the
other. It was slow going, uphill most of the time. It was hard
to be quiet as there were many twigs and rocks to step on.
Halfway through the day the boys wanted to go ahead with Will
and Dillon. Maybe they could flush a deer downhill towards the
others. Lucas told them they would have to be very careful and
that only he or Bat would take a shot if they thought there was
any chance at a kill. Aubrey and Ann stayed behind on the trail
in case a deer got by them and to stay close to the horses.
The heat was not so bad but the uphill hike was taking its toll.
They weren’t out to set any records and they wanted to get back
to camp before sundown. Lucas was about to whistle to let the
boys know it was time to head back when he heard a whistle from
above. A buck had been flushed and was coming his way. He waved
to Bat and then heard the buck as he was getting close. Lucas
tried to get a shot off but he was late and held off. Bat was
next in line and fired, just missing. As the buck ran downhill
another shot was fired. Ann got the hit! With Aubrey they rushed
over to find the large beast dead from a head shot. Lucas and
Bat came running down to meet them and eased up as they saw the
prize. Lucas let out with a loud whistle, three times which
meant there was a kill. Then he whistled twice to tell them to
come back. Before a reply to the whistle could be heard there
was a flurry of gunfire! Five shots at first, then two more.
Three whistles followed and Lucas knew they had met with success
“Looks like we have some work ahead of us before we can go home.
It will start to get dark in a couple of hours and I want us to
get back downhill before it gets too cold.”
“Right you are Lucas.” Bat replied. “I’ll stay here with the
girls and dress this one. You go uphill and see what happened.
They’ll need more help. I think we can get this one down to the
horses on our own if we have to.”
“I’ll come back before then and let you know what’s going on.
Nice shootin’ there girls. This muley was coming downhill fast!”
“Ann got him quick and clean!” Aubrey added
“Aw thanks guys, all in a day’s work for this cowgirl! Bat, let
me see that knife.” Ann went to dressing the buck. Aubrey
brought out her folding knife and gave her a hand.
“Ok Bat, I reckon we have at least one more. That was quite a
few shots we heard from above. Lucas took off uphill, following
the creek. He let out another whistle and got one back in reply.
Mark was beyond excited as he came upon his big buck. Will came
along with him to survey the scene. Meanwhile, Dillon and his
boys tracked down a third buck that made it further uphill
before it fell. Mark heard Lucas approaching and couldn’t hold
back any further.
“Pa, Pa! Look here, I got one! There must have been five of them
all together. We managed to spook the first one down towards you
and then we saw the others! It was amazing! Just look at him
“He’s huge! Great hunting son! Ann shot the one coming our way.
He was moving too fast for Bat or me to get a good shot off.
They’re dressing him and waiting for us. Better get to work
dressing this one. We have a lot of work to get these big boys
downhill before dark.”
“It will be a struggle to get over some of these rocks. I bet
they’ll need more help than us up ahead.” Will added
“I’ll go see what they’re up to and give them a hand if needed.
If I’m not back in less than half an hour, one of you go see how
Bat and the girls are doing. We’ll probably need some more rope
from the horses while you’re at it. I’ll whistle when I get to
them. I’m impressed son, you bagged a good sized muley there!”
“Thanks Pa. We’re gonna bring home a mess of venison now!”
“Sure are, it took all day, but it paid off. We have this water
in the creek to thank for them being here. Good fortune to say
the least! Have at it boys…. I’ll get back as soon as I can.”
Lucas hiked uphill further sending out another whistle and
getting one back from ahead. He was getting a bit concerned for
being able to bring these bucks down off the hill in time to
make it back to camp.
Lucas came upon Dillon dressing a third buck with the boys
standing watch. “Well, well, what have we here?”
“Hey Lucas! I’m trying to get this one taken care of quick. I
know we don’t have much time. What a stroke of luck, huh!”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen three bucks taken at once like
this. I hope we can get them over the rocks below. I better let
the others know we’re alright.” Lucas let out two very loud
whistles. Will gave him two in return and then Bat did the same.
“I reckon we’ll need some rope and a few things from the horses
below. Perhaps I better go back and see that we have what we
need. You’ll be a while with this. Maybe you guys can get him
downhill a bit before I get back. This is a great day men!”
“Sure is Uncle Lucas. Dad hit this one with two shots, right
after Mark got his. We were hiking along thinking the day was
coming to an end when all of a sudden we surprised this group of
five or so bucks. They bolted in several directions and we got
two! We heard shots from below, what happened there?” Kyle was
very enthusiastic about what was going on.
“Ann shot one coming down hill. We have three bucks in all,
which means we have to work fast and get them downhill before
sundown. You boys keep a sharp lookout for cougars or a bear
while your father gets the buck ready. I’ll be back as soon as I
“Thanks Lucas, we’ll have him down to at least the rocks when
you get back.” Dillon replied.
Lucas stopped to let Will and Mark know he was going for more
rope and to maybe find a few branches to use in carrying the
bucks. He told them to stay together and watch for cougars or
bears. When he got down to Bat and the ladies they had already
began dragging their buck with the one rope they had with them.
He joined in and helped them get the buck to the horses. Lucas
told Bat that he would be needed to help bring the other two
bucks down. On the way up they selected two straight branches
that looked strong enough to carry a carcass. They left one with
Will and Mark and then met with Dillon and the boys near some
big rocks. They could drag it no further. Once the feet were
tied together the branch gave them the leverage they needed to
heft the animal down and get him to where Will and Mark had
managed to carry their buck to a point where the rocks made it
too difficult to continue. Kyle and Andrew were told to join the
ladies at the horses and let them finish carrying the bucks down
the hill. This turned out to be a good idea because they dropped
the first buck when they tried to get it down a ledge that
dropped off just a little too far. The buck slid a distance down
the hillside leaving Lucas and Dillon falling backwards in the
process. The second buck was supported carefully with more rope
and three men in front to keep a steadier hold down the ledge.
It was best that the boys weren’t there to possibly get hurt.
It took more time than they wanted, but eventually they managed
to get down the hill. They took a brief rest before lifting the
bucks onto the horses. Each horse with a buck tied on also had
to carry one of the boys and Ann rode with the third. They went
slow as the horses had quite a burden. In the rough spots they
walked the horses until they reached easier terrain. Lucas was
concerned as the light was fading fast. They had no way to make
light and they would not be able to see well enough to continue
once the darkness took hold. The only thing they could do was to
make a primitive camp and stay by the fire until morning. They
had several blankets, but they had left without bedrolls or any
“I think we have a little too far to go before dark guys,
there’s still some rough trail before we could get back to camp.
What do you say we stop soon and make a small camp for the
“Two of us could go back and get some supplies from the wagon.”
“That’s not a bad idea. We could use the bedrolls and a few
things to cook some meat. Why don’t you and Dillon do that and
we will start a fire close to the trail.” Lucas got down and
looked the ground over and made sure they could gather firewood.
“This is good as anyplace I reckon. You two take off, there’s
not much light left. Make yourself a torch or two if you can.”
Bat and Dillon took off at a fast pace while the others made
ready for a good sized fire. This was all part of the adventure
and what better time than now to rough it? Before long, spots
were made ready to place bedrolls and rocks were placed to
fashion a pit. Lucas put Mark and his cousins to work skinning
some of the meat for dinner while the ladies made ready to cook.
“Mark, we have a lot of meat here. I want you guys to keep a
close watch for critters tonight. I’m more concerned for a bear
than anything else. They are sure to smell this if they are
anywhere nearby. We’ll keep the fire stoked well and one of us
awake at all times.”
“You got it Pa. We’re ready for anything. We best be getting’
more wood while there’s still light.”
“Keep your rifle close at all times. I’ll try to watch, but you
just never know. As long as we make noise and keep the fire
going, we should be alright.” Lucas went to chopping some of the
branches into logs while the boys kept them coming from the many
It was dark by the time Bat and Dillon returned with supplies.
The meat was almost ready. Bat brought a fry pan and flour, he
wanted some of that liver cooked his favorite way. This third
night turned out to be the most fun. Nothing beats the
satisfaction of bagging three bucks at one time! They would have
plenty of meat to share when they got back to the ranch. The
going was slow so they wasted no time getting started the next
day. By the time the ranch came into view they were dog tired.
Sam and a couple of hands helped them wrestle the bucks down
from the horses and set about completing the butchering process.
Lucas went right into the lodge and laid down for a spell.
Aubrey brought him some water and a damp towel to put over his
head. Emma did about the same for Bat. The other men took care
of the horses then took a seat around a table in the lodge. They
did their best not to move. Mark was even spent from the long
ride home in the hot sun with a heavy load. Sam and the men
finished caring for the horses and the meat. There would be a
wonderful night at the grill tomorrow, but for now food was not
a concern. Sam put some of the meat in the smokehouse and made a
brine to soak what would be served the next day.
Despite the heat, the hunting trip was a much needed break from
the daily ranch life. It gave Lucas some time to think about the
many changes coming upon him and the demands there would be for
his time. The boys wanted to get out on the trail and the
experience of bagging those muleys was priceless. Dillon got to
see more of the countryside and that made his trip. Now the real
excitement was about to ensue, target shooting in North Fork!
The Rifleman's Serenade — Decision
This is a story based on the TV
series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
around The McCain Ranch