"Let's go. Day's wasting away." It was Dad rousting me from bed. I rolled to the edge, placed my feet on the floor, opened one eye and looked at the clock on my bureau. 4:32. Unbelievable. Then consciousness flooded in. It was Monday morning and we were going hunting!
An hour later and fifty miles down the road, the Arkansas river flowing alongside the highway, we neared Cotopaxi. A few minutes more and we were at the hunting grounds of Dad's choice. We got the rifles and ammo from the car, stuffed the sandwiches Dad had made into our parka pockets. I put my hood up, tied it under my chin. The sun had broken the eastern horizon. The sky promised a clear day, but it was chilly and I don't do cold well.
We set off up a long draw, the summit we hoped to attain probably four or five hundred yards above us. That is we were going to hike probably more than a quarter mile at an angle that appeared to be almost straight up. It wasn't, though. As we trudged along I was processing the level of excitement I was experiencing, adrenaline starting to flow. Was I more excited about hunting, or was the exhilaration due to the fact that I was skipping school with Father's knowledge and approval? Any day that did not imprison a body in school was a good day.
As we neared the top of the draw Dad was perhaps ten steps ahead of me. The events in this paragraph occurred faster than you can read about them. Dad reached the summit, turned to see where I was, and by then I was right behind him. Suddenly a clatter of gravel to our right and a magnificent animal, white rump signaling its goodbye to us, took off. Dad instantly raised his rifle and was sighting in for the shot. I screamed as loudly as I could, "Don't shoot!" Startled, my father lowered the weapon and stared after the animal which was quickly out of sight. Dad turned to me and said, "Thanks, Son. You just saved me a lot of trouble. And money, too."
I had immediately identified the beast as a Big Horn sheep. We had no license to hunt sheep and the fine for shooting one was $500, nearly half year's income for Dad at that time.
Image: Creatures of the Wild Wikia