Tag Archives: Hunting

A Hunting Trip with My Dad Part 1

2 Feb

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

I grew up at a time, and in a place (the southwest), where hunting was a given.  My folks, having been survivors of the Great Depression era, were hunters out of necessity, so it was only natural that I would grow up to be a hunter too.  Our family needed the meat from their annual deer and antelope hunts to supplement their meager income.  In addition to the yearly deer or antelope hunts, my dad would usually hunt wild turkeys or some type of game birds, when his work schedule permitted.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

When I was younger my dad had taken me on fishing trips in the New Mexico Mountain streams.  I loved the outdoors, the camping out with my dad, the thrill of catching those fighting fish, and then eating the delicious Rainbow Trout he would cook over an open fire that night.  

As I grew older, my dad taught me how to shoot his deer rifle and how best to stalk white-tailed deer, antelope, and wild turkeys (he made his own turkey callers out of certain turkey bones and taught me how to use them to call the turkeys).

Photo Credit: //www.arkansasonline.com/news/turkey-hunt/

Every year my dad and mother would buy a New Mexico resident deer license ($5.00 each) that was good for any area in the state open to deer hunting.  Many of the farmers and ranchers in our area had to deal with free-range white-tailed deer and antelope roaming their area feeding on their crops. 

Most years there was some place in the state where the farmers were being over-run by white-tail deer and ask the state for help.  The state would issue a ‘Special Deer Tag’ which allowed the licensed hunter to take an additional buck or doe in that designed area.  

Sample Deer License Photo Credit: https://new-mexico-hunting-fishing-licenses

My mother was a good hunter and went with my dad as often as she could.  However, because my sister and I were still in school, she ended up being a stay-at-home mom, and wasn’t able to go hunting with my dad as often as she would have liked.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

The year I was 14, we bought one regular license for my dad, one for my mom, and one for me ($7.50 each by 1954), and one ‘Special Deer Tag’ for each of us.  We were set for a possible 6-deer taking for the year of hunting.  That was the year my dad took me on my first deer hunt in the northern mountains of New Mexico.  To say I was excited, about the prospects of that first deer hunt, would be what I would call an understatement.  I could hardly wait.

Sample “Special” Deer Tag Photo Credit: https://new-mexico-hunting-fishing-licenses/

As it happened, that year, my mother had started a new job and wasn’t able to go with us.  So, I used my mother’s Remington 30-30 caliber pump-action rifle.  It was lighter and I felt more comfortable using it than I did my dad’s converted 30-06 sport rifle.  Besides that, I could fire 3-shots with the pump-action rifle to every one-shot dad could fire with his bolt-action rifle.  I saw that as an advantage, he didn’t.

My dad was the State Sunday School Secretary for New Mexico, and traveled a lot, setting up and monitoring Sunday Schools at churches around the state.  He had made a lot of deer hunting friends in most areas of the state over the years.  So, when deer hunting season rolled around, our family was almost always invited to stay at a pastor’s home, in the mountains, somewhere in the state where deer hunting was allowed.  If an invitation did not come, dad always knew of a good mountain area where we could pitch our tent, and rough it, while we hunted.


—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Family Treasures~Part 6

10 Jul


Judy Wills


There are some family treasures that are treasures to me, but I don’t have them with me. But I would like to tell you about them.

I’ve mentioned before that my Dad worked in church work (Southern Baptist) all his working career. Looking at some of those in the “religious” field these days, you might get the idea that all pastors (my Dad was not a pastor) and church workers are rolling in the bucks. Let me tell you – it is NOT so!!

Consequently, being the farm boy he was in the beginning of his life, he would go deer hunting every season to bring his family meat to eat. We really ate well. Occasionally, Mom would go with him and they would bag two deer – we REALLY ate well those years.


And then, when my brother, Bill, was old enough to hunt with Daddy, he would go along, and they usually bagged two deer, again. I’ve used these pictures in other musings, but they bear repeating for this posting.



One thing I’ve failed to mention is that Daddy eventually began butchering his kill. Albuquerque is cold in the winter, so Daddy would hang the deer in the garage, skin it, then butcher it. He didn’t always do that. At first, he would take the deer to a local butcher and have it done there. But somewhere along the way, Daddy discovered that he was not getting “his” meat back. Don’t know who was getting it, but it wasn’t us. So one year he set a test – he put a straw under the tongue of the deer. And guess what? The straw wasn’t there when he went to pick up his meat. That was the last time he let anyone else butcher his meat.


One little footnote here – if you have ever wanted to cook venison, the recipe usually calls for soaking it in milk or something else overnight before cooking. Well, let me tell you…New Mexico deer eat only the “good stuff” in the mountains – pine nuts, etc.   So there is no “gamey” taste to the venison. Mother would make roasts, steaks, and the best chili I’ve ever had, out of that venison!! After butchering, the meat was wrapped and stored in our freezer until she was ready to cook it. Yum..

I know that in previous musings I mentioned that one year Daddy bagged an elk. Those things are HUGE!! Lots of good meat for our freezer that year.

What I’ve not mentioned is that Daddy had a stuffed deer head on our dining room wall. I don’t know why – except it was always just “there” – part of the woodwork of growing up in that house. It may have been the first deer Daddy ever bagged – I’m not sure. What irritates me is that, after looking through ALL the pictures and slides from my growing up, I cannot find one single picture of that deer head!


What’s kind of funny is that there is a deer head in every Cracker Barrel we’ve ever been in. And the one in the restaurant near our house had one that could have been hanging on our wall! Here’s a picture of it………see the “ripple” on it’s neck? That is exactly like our deer head had! (I took this picture are our Cracker Barrel!) None of the deer heads in the other Cracker Barrel’s we’ve been to has the “ripple.” This one reminds me of the one I grew up with.

So, even though I don’t have the picture of our actual deer head, this one will do. This one is an 8-point buck, just like the one at our house.   Who knows – perhaps Cracker Barrel acquired theirs from my family. Stranger things have happened.











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