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Hunting With Pop

By February 26th, 2024No Comments

By Wes Dillard

As a young boy from Alabama, I was raised up hunting by my grandfather on my mom’s side of the family. Papaw started taking me hunting as far back as I can remember. From the mid 1980s off and on until 2007 we hunted a large ranch in La Salle County, south of Cotulla. As a young a hunter I soon realized just how special hunting in South Texas was. The times that we shared as a family hunting there is something very special to me and my family.

On my first trip when I was 5 years old, Papaw loaded me up in a 1986 Chevrolet dually loaded down with Alabama homegrown watermelons. We drove out that July and spent a week on the ranch. When we left to come home we had given the ranch family the large truck load of watermelons and in return they sent us back to Alabama with a truck load of mesquite firewood for our family to cook with. I knew as young boy in 1986 that there was just something special about South Texas.

As the years have passed I have been able to work and raise my children to love hunting as much I did. In the back of my mind, I have always wanted to take them to Texas to hunt like Papaw did for me. Not only do my boys love to hunt, but they love to hunt with my dad and my wife’s dad. There is just something special about hunting with your grandfather.

We decided when my oldest son JD graduated from high school in 2022, that is what we would do.

Fast forward to last June we found a ranch about 2 hours from San Antonio and decided to schedule a hunt for JD and my dad. As the excitement built all summer and the time to leave came closer I knew it was going to be a special trip for JD.

The time finally came for my dad, JD, my brother in-law, and myself to pull out and head southwest. After eating peanuts and telling hunting tales the entire way, we arrived in town to purchase our hunting license. Then we went on out to the ranch. It was the second week of November and after a warm welcome and the first cold front of the year, we were ready to hunt.

JD has grown up hunting with my trusty old Remington .25-06 and has taken a lot of game with it. My wife and I decided to surprise him with a brand new .270 Winchester this summer to take with him on his trip. After breaking in his new rifle this fall and checking it at the ranch after the drive we were ready to go hunting!

My dad is known as Pop to all his grandchildren and a lot of other folks as well.

So JD and Pop headed out before daylight the first morning of the hunt. I will never forget getting back to breakfast that morning and listening to JD tell us about all the different bucks he and Pop had seen that morning. JD could not wait to go back out for the afternoon hunt.

That afternoon JD and Pop went back to the same stand and continued to see a lot of deer. One in particular that came in early that afternoon was a giant 10 point with a kicker off the end of his main beam. This was the oldest and largest buck that JD had ever saw. The buck was really cautious and stayed at the back of the field for a while before deciding to leave and slipped out into the brush and was gone. Pop said he thought the buck was spooky because of the rattling blind from JD shaking in his boots!

About the time JD was finally able to get his nerves back into form, low and behold here came the giant 10-point buck back out. He slowly worked his way into shooting range and JD was able to get his new rifle on him and hold his nerves together just long enough to make a great shot directly into the giant bucks shoulder. This buck was by far the largest that JD had ever seen much less to get a shot at.

After the shot, the buck jumped and ran to the edge of the field before dropping. JD and Pop couldn’t wait to go check this giant Texas buck out up close. After taking some pictures of the buck and bringing him back to the ranch house, JD told his Uncle Alan and me all about the hunt. I would have loved to be with him in the blind during this exciting hunt, but I wanted him to hunt with Pop. Like I said earlier, there is something special about hunting with your grandfather! We all had a great hunting trip and when the time came to head back home we had all taken a good buck and a few does.

On the ride back home to Alabama we were able to talk and re tell our hunting stories from the trip over and over for 800 miles. One thing I was looking forward to when we got back home was for JD to be able to tell his great grandfather, yes the same Papaw who took me hunting in Texas for the first time almost 40 years ago, about his trip.

Papaw turned 84 years old last year, but due to declining health, couldn’t make the trip with us. But to see the twinkle in his eyes as his great grandson told him about his first ever hunting trip to Texas with Pop was priceless, and something I will never forget. Papaw passed away two weeks after JD and I got back from our hunting trip. I’m thankful to have been able to spend time hunting with my grandfather. I am also so very thankful that my son was able to experience his first Texas trip hunting with Pop. God bless!