By Bobby Dale Welch/Staff correspondent
I’ve had a lot of fun writing these stories. That’s what it’s all about – enjoying God’s grand creation! Putting these stories together has caused me to reflect on many good times. I used to work with a man who told me, “I don’t remember the good ole days being very good.” Now, that’s funny stuff. The man explained how much better tools are today, and how much more money carpenters are paid now compared to back then. There also are many more opportunities for work.
Hunting has changed for me over the years as well. As stated in previous columns, I went hunting a pretty good bit. To be honest, I went deer hunting for years before I brought home more than just a story. But I remember it just like it happened, or at least the way I am going to tell you it happened.
My uncle invited me to his hunting club in Lee County next door to Loachapoka. There is a university located close by that plays my team at the end of each football season (ROLL TIDE!). There were a lot of deer on my uncle’s property, and he was confident that we would do well during our hunt. I was excited.
Morning came and we headed towards the “blue stand.” I could tell you the stand was named after an Indian family that settled the land nearby on Saugahatchee Creek. You also may think it was named after the landowner’s prized coon hound. The truth is, the stand was named after the color of the seat. It seems that the hunters ran out of camo cloth and used an old denim shirt to cover the seat on the homemade wooden lock-on stand.
Heading into the area, several deer jumped the road, so I knew I was going to a good spot. As daylight approached and the woods began to come alive, I sat quietly holding a borrowed rifle. Another uncle had loaned me his 30-06, and I was ready to hear it roar. Roar it did – POW! POW!
I had hit nothing and was devastated. Here I was in a good spot with good equipment, and I blew it. I remember thinking that I had let everybody down and let myself down. I considered myself quite the loser at that moment.
That feeling did not last long, however. As I enjoyed my pity party, a not-so-lucky whitetail deer was making its way into my range. I closed down the pity party and prepared my uncle’s trusty 06. I drew steady aim as the deer munched on acorns, determined not to make the same mistake and rush the shot.
POW!!! Success! A party broke out in the blue stand, and self-pity was nowhere in sight. It was celebration time! There were no horns on the deer to grab for the drag out. It was a doe, and I was a bona fide deer hunter!
I’ve been fortunate to hunt for many years, and I always make it a priority to appreciate the hunt itself, the camaraderie with my friends and family and the time to reflect on what God’s plan is for my life. If I’m fortunate to kill a deer, I’m going to celebrate and have fun, whether it is a buck or a doe, because these ARE the good days!
Bobby Dale Welch was born and raised in East Gadsden and graduated from Litchfield High School in 1988. He is the founder of and partner in BD Welch Construction and currently lives in Ashville with his wife Tracie and sons Daniel and Dawson. He may be contacted at email@example.com.