March/April 2013

TSJ Feature: Bucks and Boars

Story by Larry Weishuhn

A warm sun shone upon the sandy banks of the Red River. A finely dressed man sporting a fringed buckskin jacket and a slash of scarlet around his waist scanned the distant shore. He pushed high in his stirrups and peered across the muddy river flowing only a few feet away. Should he and his band move down or up river to procure the services of a ferry, or, simply ride their horses across the river.

“Red?...Doesn’t look very red to me!” said he on the bank’s edge to those following him. Then with a look both up and down the river and turning back to those who followed him he warned, “Raise high your rifle and powder, mind the quicksand, we’re crossing here! Texas awaits us on the other side!”

There are those who claim David Crockett and those who followed him from Tennessee to Texas after his historic statement to the U.S. Congress, “You may go to hell, and I will go to Texas!” crossed into what would become Texas near where the Chapman Ranch adjoins the Red River. Whether true or not, I can’t say, but as I stood on the banks of the Red River I could easily imagine ol’ Davy and his followers’ horses splashing across the river into what they hoped would be a chance at a new and exciting life!

I stood on the banks of the Red River, looked across to the southern edge of Oklahoma and then turned back toward Texas and hoped adventure awaited me as well, but caused by whitetails and possibly feral hogs. I glanced at my cameraman, Derek Harris, and motioned him to follow me to the base of a tree where I had left my portable blind only about a hundred yards from the river. Earlier, beginning mid-day, Derek and I had started scouting exactly where we hoped to set up after carefully looking over a map of the famous Chapman Ranch provided to us by our host Graham Hill, one of the ranch’s lessees. Graham had told us they had seen an extremely good and massive whitetail in the immediate area only a few days prior to our arrival. With good luck, we might just see the buck, one reputed to have extremely palmated antlers.

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