Bidding 2008 Farewell, and Welcoming 2009

Happy New Year

Image by Jessica Bee via Flickr

2008 has been an interesting, challenging, and rewarding year.  I have met so many new friends through this very blog.  I have been introduced to the world of blogging, and have caught the the fever.  I find it hard to believe that just a few months back, in May, I started this blog.  I really knew nothing about blogging, other than a few previous experiences with blogs on Yahoo and Windows Live Spaces.   I had my other blog, Chihuatude, but was just feeling my way through the blogosphere.


I start off 2009 with a very large list of friends, that I can not imagine doing without.  It’s interesting just how we seem to get to know each other, and share moments of triumph and tragedy with each other.  Not that long ago, I would have never dreamed of sharing many of the things I have on this blog.  Now I can’t imagine not having the support of my blog friends.  The relationships I have found mean so much to me.


To all my blogging friends,  and all those family, acquaintances, and compatriots who read my blog, I wish all of you a wonderful, rewarding, and prosperous New Year.  I hope you all enjoy your New Years Eve parties, and hope you all have a safe and joyous celebration.  Some of you, have already had your New Years, like those of you down under in the land of OZ.  I hope you enjoyed your celebration, and are recovering safely. 


I have no real new year tradition.  For so many years, I always worked on New Years Eve, and day.  So I will welcome 2009 with a simple bottle of Shinner Bock or two, and watch the Times Square celebration on television.  I know, not very interesting or exciting, but just my style. 


If you would like a really fun New Years Resolutions post, pay a visit to Lilly’s Life and read her article Last Minute of 2008.  It is the funniest one I’ve read yet.

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Joining The Struggle

Rascal, The blog dog

Image by Schweerchichi via Flickr

The Struggling Blogger, authored by an amazing man, Roy, who is struggling in more ways than one.  You see not only is he unemployed, but also carrying out the dual duty of being a widower father.  He has been trying to support his children by blogging, a very difficult chore indeed.  I can only imagine the daily struggles he goes through. 


Roy has secured his own domain name,, but now needs a domain host.  Well perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel, for you see Technology Talks is hosting a contest, that will reward the winner with free domain hosting for one year.  In order for Roy to win Free Domain Hosting, he needs our help.  It really is quite simple, the more bloggers who write a post supporting his effort, the better chance he has of winning free domain hosting for one year.  


I support Roy of  The Struggling Blogger, and hope he can win the   Free Domain Hosting contest at Technology Talks.  It may be one of those little things that could make all the difference for one struggling blogger who simply needs to blog.

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Vision of a Lifetime

Male and female Mule deer

Image via Wikipedia

I had an absolutely wonderful breathtaking weekend.  Everyone knows how much I enjoy a beautiful sunrise, but Sunday morning I had an added bonus to the experience.  One of those things a person is lucky to see once in a lifetime.  Just about any deer hunter will know what I mean.  There is always the dream buck.  The chances of actually seeing one is about as close as winning the lottery.  Sunday morning, I was the lucky winner of a lottery that has no monetary value, only spiritual reward.


We arrived at camp late Thursday night, actually Friday Morning, too tired to do much more than unload our bags and equipment.  It was a very warm morning, we didn’t even have to run the heater for the very few hours of sleep before waking at 5:00 AM.  The morning hunt was uneventful for me, other than enjoying yet another sunrise, I saw no game what so ever.  J.J. and I spent the rest of the day checking feeders, and making sure things were set for the rest of the weekend.   There really is quite a bit of work involved in keeping the hunting interesting and productive.  The advantage is that it is all enjoyable work with a positive prospects.


Friday evening, I was treated to a special moment.  While sitting in the blind, patiently waiting for the deer to start moving, I caught a slight movement in my peripheral vision.  As I gazed down the trail, focusing on what I believed to be movement, I noticed it once more.  Lifting my binoculars slowly and focusing them on the location, I saw a Bobcat.  The stealthy predator was in search of a lone quail or other unsuspecting little creature.  Moving with determined measure, slowly proceeding then pausing while looking around.  I was amazed by the lithe, effortless advance.  The Bobcat was so intent on looking under every bush and tree, he did not notice a silent spectator high above him in that strange looking box.  The movements of the cat mesmerized me, and held my attention in rapt fascination.  There is a certain quality to the sleek purposeful efforts of a cat on the prowl, especially a wild cat.  Lord only knows how many other animals I missed while watching this beautiful Bobcat on a hunt of it's own.


I enjoyed a very colorful sunset, and brought some of that back to share with you.  The video will be at the bottom of the post, the quality is not very good, but what do you expect from an amateur like me.  If I had any sense at all, I would have videoed the Bobcat, but it didn’t even cross my mind until the moment was over.


Saturday morning welcomed us with a brutal wind, and moderate temperatures.  I saw only a few deer, and they were all very jump and unsure of the noises being caused by the wind.  Returning to the camper, we had a nice lunch of leftovers from J.J.’s Christmas meal.    While J.J. took a long nap, I sat down at the lap top and wrote a post that I may publish later in the week. Before I knew it, it was time to go back out for the evening hunt.  I choose to sit a blind I haven’t used all year.  It’s a tripod blind, mostly used for bow hunting.  There is no protection from the elements, and very little cover to prevent being seen by the deer.  I was welcomed by 15 doe, and a half dozen yearlings.  Such an amazing sight in itself, and providing the opportunity to take the doe I needed.  It’s important to balance the population, and if one takes only bucks, there will be a resulting overpopulation, causing strife and hunger among the herd.


Sunday morning was bitter cold, 22 degrees, but luckily there was little to no wind.  I sat a different blind once again, one with a heater, I’m not a complete fool.  The wait for mornings gray light seemed longer than normal.  As the sky lightened, and shadows started to take shape, I began scanning the tree lines and field.  Many times the changing shadows will play tricks on you, so I was not surprised to see something moving far back in the trees.  I focused the binoculars on the area, and was welcomed with the form of a deer moving slowly through the trees.  I could tell it was a mature buck, and I was excited to see more activity. 


I had already filled my tags, so this was simply a sight seeing hunt.  As the deer got closer and closer, and the sky lighter, I could tell it was a big bodied buck.  I could not see the antlers clearly yet, so I did not know the amazing majesty that was moving before my very eyes.  The Buck walked slowly grazing as he went, pausing seldom.  He was making quick progress on his route, and obviously had some purposeful intent to his route.  As he got closer, I could just start seeing the glint of light off his antlers.  They seemed large, but again unclear as yet.  My anticipation was growing, and I grabbed the video camera.  Trying to focus in on the animal, I discovered that it was simply too dark for the camera to work.  I was going to have to watch, and have no way to share what I was about to see.  The buck walked along, not 20 yards from where I sat.  I could tell his antlers were very tall, taller than any I had seen.  When he got  beside the blind, he looked right at me and shook his head, almost as if laughing.  What stood before me was the buck of a lifetime.  He was a spectacular 8 point with G2 tines that were at least 14 inches tall.  My pulse was already racing, breath held in check by my excitement.   What was most spectacular about him was the width of his majestic rack.  He had to be no less than 25 inches wide.  This would be a buck that many a hunter would love to shoot, yet I could only watch and bow to his royal beauty, as he walked by.  It was as if he had decided to grace me with his presence, and I was truly grateful for the experience.



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Saturday at Peace

Sunrise over the south beach of Jamaica.

Image via Wikipedia

While your reading this, I will be out in the woods, enjoying the wonders of Mother Nature that have come to mean so much to me.  I am setting this to publish on Saturday morning at 7:00 AM.  That is the time the sun is usually making its first appearance near the horizon.  I thought in some way I may be able to share that spectacular moment with you so you might be able to enjoy the feelings of peace and solitude I so love. 


My day will start with a brisk awakening, shocking my system into the reality of early morning.  There will be nearly no moon visible as it is a new moon.  The weather says that it’s going to be partly cloudy and windy with a low of 29 and a high of 50.  Perfect hunting weather in other words.  It’s going to be fairly chilly in the morning, so that means a brisk walk to the blind.  There should be any number of creatures moving around and possibly following my progress as I make that early morning  jaunt.  


Once in the blind I will cheat and light the heater, no sense freezing my temperature sensitive toes off, while I enjoy the beauty that is yet to come.  Then it’s just a matter of sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the sounds around me.  Using those few precious moments to reminisce and think of all that I could do or have done.  Just waiting for the show to begin.  It’s just the opposite of a movie theater, instead of the lights dimming, they will slowly brighten.  The sky changing hues and shades, adding color to the graying sky.  That is one of the things I love about a sunrise.  Everything goes from a grey scale to a varied spectrum of colors that seems to mesmerize and entrance the mind.  The colors becoming more and more vibrant and vivid as the sun gets closer to cresting the horizon.


There will be a rustling of leaves, and a scampering of small animals, all moving around ad starting their early morning routine.  The birds will start singing and chirping.  The coyotes will begin their soulful, mystical howls and yips, sending shivers down my spine.  Slowly cautiously the deer will begin their morning rounds.  Grazing, ever watchful for predators and unknown dangers.  Their movements graceful yet with singular purpose. As the sun crests the horizon and bathes those who watch with its warming glow, I will be but a spectator.


Some wonder why I love the outdoors, this is just a sampling of the reasons.  If you have joined me this fine early morning, and the sun has not yet crested the horizon.  Step outside and look to the east, join me in welcoming a new day.

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Christmas Wish

Collage of various Christmas images, made from...
Image via Wikipedia
On this beautiful sunny and warm Christmas morning, I wanted to wish all of my on-line friends a happy and joyous Christmas. My wish for you all is that your getting to spend this time enjoying the company and spirit of your families and friends. The greatest gift you can give is that of your presence. If you can’t be there yourself, give them a call and say hello. As Alexys says over at Soul Meets World says, The Best Gift is your presence.

There is one other thing I have been thinking of. There are a lot of people who can not be with their family and friends this Christmas. Because they have dedicated themselves to serving their countries and protecting the ideals that represent those countries. I wish for them a quiet and peaceful holiday season, one that has no need of their services. Please take a moment and think of the sacrifice they have given, and send some good thoughts their way.

I hope everyone has a happy and wondrous holiday season, and great new year.

P.S. I'll be gone for the next few days, doing what I love. So I'll get back to you all on my return.

PPS.  Join me Saturday morning at 7:00 AM Blogger time.  I'll have a special treat for you.

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[zany life + crazy faith]: A Mountain Boy's Christmas Memory ~ Guest Post By Eric Schweer

[zany life + crazy faith]: A Mountain Boy's Christmas Memory ~ Guest Post By Eric Schweer

Hey every body. I know a few of you have asked me to do a guest post. Well I finally did one, and it is up over at Zany Life + Crazy Faith. Judi JLO has been doing different guest posts through the month, and will be doing some more next month all about those wonderful, obnoxious New Years Resolutions.

The Simple Pleasures are Always Best

Wood-burning fireplace with burning log.

Image via Wikipedia

Back in the mountains, we had an extended winter.  That was a simple fact of life, due to our altitude, 9,96? feet.  Of course we always told everyone it was 10,000 feet above sea level.  I heated my house all year long with a wood burning stove.   I took it to the extreme of never allowing the electric furnace to kick on.  Being that our winter lasted about 9 months, I burned on average of 8 to 9 cords of wood a year.  I very seldom purchased firewood, choosing rather to go foraging for it during the summer months.   This meant many a weekend dedicated to cutting up and splitting wood. 


There had always been a comforting feeling in sitting next to a warm fireplace, watching the flames flicker and dance along the logs.  The soft crackling with an occasional “POP” was music to my ears.  After working all day out in the cold, I was always comforted to return home and stir up the fire once again.  I very seldom had to light a new one, for I would bank the fire with long burning pitch pine, and turn the stove way down before leaving.  I had three wood stoves in the house, but only burned one most times. 


One time, after an extended stay in Denver, Holiday shopping, we returned to a terribly frigid house.  I had forgotten to turn on the electric furnace prior to leaving.  It was about 25 degrees below zero outside, and probably 0 inside.  Thinking I could quickly heat up the house by lighting all three stoves, I set to the task.  Carefully crumpling up papers, and setting the kindling just right.  I had my own method, and refused to let anyone talk me out of it.  Lighting one then moving on to another, I lit the kindling.  By the time I got the last one lit, it was time to go back to the first and set a few logs on it carefully to guarantee a good flow of air through the logs.


In no time at all, I had a pleasant warmth encompassing our house.   We went about our chores, and unloaded the car.  As I was working along, I noticed it getting warmer and warmer.  Pretty soon I was stripping off layers of insulting clothing.   After about 30 minutes, I finally figured out that perhaps three stoves was not such a good idea.  It had warmed the house very quickly, but I do believe I did too good a job of laying the fires.  It was so hot in our house, we ended up having to open both the front and back door, and a few windows.


No real harm was done, but I did heat the outdoors for about an hour and a half before two of the stoves burned out and it started to cool off inside the house.


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Christmas Is Almost Upon Us

to save me from tears

Image by boyghost via Flickr

We have had some unusual weather down here. For me it’s a little strange to deal with 26 degree weather one day, and 77 degree weather the next day, one week before Christmas. Back home, even on the hottest day of summer, I can not remember it ever getting above 80 Degrees. It simply does not feel like Christmas unless the temperatures dip below 0 at least a couple of times. The other thing I miss ever so much is the snow. I never thought I would hear myself say that, but I do. I even miss shoveling the driveway.

My Grandmother believed in a white Christmas so much she even had a white tree. All of her decorations were red. When we visited on Christmas we were always greeted by that wonderful white tree with all red ornaments and lights. The rest of the house was done up in red and white garland and tinsel. It’s funny, but the simple beauty of that tree is one of the things that sticks in my mind.

Our tree was always done in the multi colored lights with the big bulbs. There was always a lighted angel sitting on the top. I never realized how much effort went into those trees until I got my own home. The first year was not all that bad, because all the lights and ornaments were new. The following year though, let me tell you I think the Christmas light manufactures make their lights intentionally so that one bulb will not work more than one year. The hours I spent plugging the strands of lights in, and one by one checking each bulb until you found the one that was blown, and changing it. I wonder what ever happened to those old fashioned lights that worked even with a blown bulb. All you had to do was plug it in and change the one that did not work.

After about five years, I had enough lights to do the four trees in the front yard, fairly large trees, all the eaves of the house and garage, the windows, and put designs on the fence. One time, my house even made it into the local paper for its lights. I have to admit, when I sold the house and moved down here, I made a gift to the new owners of all my wonderful lights, thank goodness. I know, I know, not very Christmasy am I. I don’t know what was worse, getting all those lights working and up, or taking them back down. One year I cheated, and coiled them in a large 55 gallon trash can as I took them down. They filled the trash can almost to the top. Of course I regretted it the next year. In theory all I should have had to do was locate the end of the lights, and pull them out as I put them up. Oh no, some how during the year a gremlin had gotten into that can and managed to tie knots in all those strings and weave them together so they all would come out in a few big wads.

Now that we don’t have any kids at the house, there is no real reason to go all out decorating, so we don’t. Life is much simpler now, and I have never once regretted leaving my much loved NOT lights to the new owners of my house.

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Absent, not Missing

Sunrise over the Bristol Channel taken from th...

Image via Wikipedia

Some of you may have been wondering where I have been.  Well it’s kind of hard to explain, but I have been withdrawn for a short time.  That’s the only way I can think of to describe it.  At times, I find myself in a dark mood, and have to restructure my thoughts to get past it.  I don’t understand it, nor do I try any longer.  I just didn’t want to post any dark maybe depressing articles, so I have refrained from blogging for a week.  I think it’s part of my introverted personality, I’m such a loner.


I spent an enjoyable three days out in the woods, and managed to get my sparks a glowing once again.  It always amazes me just how much the simplicity of country life can rejuvenate my soul and spirit.  When there is naught to do but sit back and enjoy the beauty of mother nature, it’s hard to stay down.  One of the things that always brings a smile to my face is the unmatched beauty of a sunrise or sunset. 


The night sky was lit brightly by the moons magical glow of silver light.  Stars shone and flickered  in their mystical formations.  My mind trying diligently to trace lines between them as if they were a connect the dot game.  Dreaming up different pictures and meaning for each one.  Slowly the grey of dawn proceeded, turning a soft vibrant purple.  The clouds absorbing the suns rays, and turning shades of orange then red and yellow.  It looked as if a fire had been lit just above the horizon.  The sun slowly rising, bringing with it the warmth and security of a new day.  Shinning its light upon the beauty of the countryside. 

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Mother Natures Majestic Bounty

White-tailed deer

Image via Wikipedia

Monday once again. This year has been going by at high speed.  It’s as if you blink your eyes and you miss the most momentous occasion or adventure.  Ah but such is life, yet we always seem to disregard some of the important things.  Is it not possible for us to be able to take in everything of momentous value.  I suppose not, for we would find ourselves battered and run-down from lack of sleep. I believe I’ll just stick with focusing my attention of my favorite thing this time of year, Mother Nature and her beautiful bounty of marvels and majesty.  I will continue Monday;s Writers of the Web after hunting season is over.


We went to the deer lease once again this weekend.  Unfortunately I only get to spend a few weekends out there this year.  I plan to make the most of them, and enjoy the wondrous perspicacious sights, sounds, and experiences.  When we get the opportunity to go, it is almost always late in the evening.   The drive is an tenuous three and a half hours on a good evening.  This allows us to arive at camp in the middle of the night.  There is an advantage to this believe it or not.  You get the first taste of the clear brisk night air, and a tantalizing view of the luminous night sky.  The stars are always more clear and bright when there is no artificial light.  we can regularly see the Milky Way and many of the astrological formations.    I always enjoy gazing upon the heavens, and attempting to place as many formations as possible.  The moon in all it’s amazing glory, so bright and seemingly translucent.   Such a wondrous way to end the day.


One of the reasons I enjoy the walk in to the blind in the mornings is because all my senses come alive.  I seem to be able to hear more clearly, see so vividly, feel with such stimulative acuity.  I even seem to taste the atmosphere around me. The brisk walk opens my thoughts and feeling to that which is around me. Allowing myself a moment of pure serenity. 


Tomorrow I’ll take you along on another trip through the woods.



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The Mountains, Get in Your Blood

Picture 144

Image by Schweerchichi via Flickr

Many people don’t understand my love of the mountains.  It takes a kindred spirit to comprehend what the mountains can do for your own mental well being.  I have met a few, like Allison of Pinetown’s First Lady Living Life in Lassen County in the White House.  Then today, I met another kindred spirit, in person.  Another mountain person transplanted to the flatlands of Texas.


It was kind of funny how we got on the subject.  I was installing a new kitchen faucet for them, and we got to talking about their Chihuahua.   Of course I had to show them Chihuatude, from there I showed them this blog.  They told me they were from the mountains of New Mexico, and had lived in a small town near the Taos area.  Well of course I had to say that my Mother lived in Questa, and the look on their face was wonderful.  They had lived not far away, in an area just the other side of Red River, at the base of Bob Cat Pass. 


We got to talking about Colorado, and all the places they had been.  Then of course we had to discuss how much we all missed the mountains.  There is something completely comforting about having the majestic mountains surrounding you.  It’s hard to explain, but there is that subconscious security blanket, at least for me, in the mountains.  The fresh clean, somewhat thin, air that seems to rejuvenate my spirit.  The absolutely beautiful scenery, and breathtaking vistas.  Even the deceptively severe cold is something I miss.


I wish it were possible to go visit more often, but it has been so long, nearly 2 years since I have been to New Mexico, and it seems a little longer since I went back to Colorado.  With the slow economy, I have to be careful about my spending, just like everybody else.  I guess one of these days, I’m just going to have to figure out how to save up the money for a week long trip.  That way I can go back home, and come back through New Mexico.


For now I will just have to keep dreaming of my mountains, and letting my memories take me home.

Quote of the Day:
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
--Kahlil Gibran

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A Weekend at Peace With the Myself


I spent the last three and a half days out at the deer lease.  A perfect ending to a blissfully quiet Thanksgiving holiday.  These days one of the more enjoyable things about Thanksgiving weekend, is the chance to spend an extended weekend out in the country, enjoying myself.  Totally selfish, I know, but I’ll take every chance I get for a little extra time relishing the benefits of Mother Nature.   The days were cool and pleasant, not too cold, but chilly.  Luckily I have little heaters in the blinds, because Friday morning was very cold. I thought I might take you along to enjoy one of the days with me.


5:00 Am came quickly.  My shocked system, so used to late nights - not early mornings, was not happy with me.  I lethargically awoke, trying hard to get all the morning duties out of the way.  Slowly allowing the early morning cold and damp to soak into my consciousness, trying with some effort to energize myself. We had a nice rain off and on over the night, that left a fresh morning dew covering everything.  That smell of freshness right after a rain is one of the simple pleasures of life.  After dressing in plenty of layers, and getting my day pack loaded up with snacks and drinks, we set off toward the hunting pasture. 


From where we park, it’s a short walk, a little less than a mile to the blinds.  With the fresh covering of morning dew, and the overcast sky, it was a little more of a querulous walk.  The heavy darkness held the landscape hidden in an unnerving  suspenseful embrace.  There was no light at all from the night sky, so we had to use flashlights intermittently to find our way, and not spook too many critters.   Of course they did not have the same consideration, moving around in the bushes and fallen leaves.  The unsettling sounds, frightfully loud in the night.  By the time I reached the blind, the hair on the back of my neck was standing on end.  My heart doing summersaults in my chest.  I was fully awake and aware, let alone ready to get into the blind. 


1129081503The wait for days light to appear, taking a little longer than normal.  I was able to let my mind travel through distant thoughts and enjoy some special memories.  It’s amazing how that darkness before dawn can induce some of the most interesting thoughts and ideas.  The morning started to turn a series of progressing shades of grey, casting strange new shadows at different places.  These shadows causing me to scrutinize many a harmless twig or branch.  Once the morning light was upon us, the birds and small critters moved freely around the bushes.  A frequent rustling of leaves, or breaking branches competing for my attention. 


Slowly cautiously, a young spike buck appeared in the tree line.  They are called the grey ghost for a reason, one moment you see them then they are gone, only to appear a little farther down the clearing.  He move with slow precise grace, out into the clearing grazing as he went.  Ever watchful, he ate and moved, raising his head and twitching his tail at each noise.  Before long, he was joined by three doe, nervously moving around the clearing.  There was  something making them uncomfortable and jumpy.  Suddenly I heard a snorting and growling coming from the trees to the left.  The deer jumped and ran in the other direction, leaving the clearing as barren and vacant as they had found it.


Feral Hogs, Image via Wikipedia

Snorting and grunting, a group of Feral hogs came out of the tree line to the north.   Fighting amongst themselves, they moved out into the center of the clearing.  More aggressive than normal, they were obviously not our standard feral hog. They were smaller, only about 100 pounds, and far more quarrelsome than the hogs we usually see.   After watching them for some time, I realized they had some characteristics of the smaller Javelina.  Their heads and snouts were smaller, and the hair on their neck, stood up more pronounced .   The Javelina has been seen around these parts, but not in any large numbers.  They are a very aggressive, vicious animal, who will attack rather than run. I finally decided these hogs must be some kind of cross breed.  


Javelina, Image via WikipediaI was in need of some pork, so I selected the most aggressive of all the hogs.  Taking careful aim, right behind the head for a quick kill.   A hogs skull is thick enough that a bullet can bounce off it.  Slowly taking a breath,  holding it,  I squeezed the trigger.  The rifle bucked against my shoulder, and a small puff of smoke issued from the barrel.   The hog dropped right where he stood, and the rest ran for trees.  After waiting 15 to 20 minutes to be sure it was deceased I climbed down, and cautiously approached it.  Watching closely for the other hogs, I drug it to the base of the blind, and continued my hunt. 


After sitting for the rest of the morning, and not seeing anything else, I went back to the truck and met with my brother in law.  We drove up to the blind, and loaded the hog.  After taking it to town and showing it to the landowner, my suspicions were confirmed.  This was indeed a cross between the local feral hogs, and a Javelina.


It was not only an enjoyable weekend, but a productive one also.  Beside’s the Hog/Javelina (I wonder if it would be a Hogelina, or a Javehog), I took a turkey and a nice large 6 pound catfish.

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