[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.biggame.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/untamed.png[/author_image] [author_info]Larry Weishuhn is a widely known writer, speaker, raconteur and world hunter. He co-hosts “DSC’s Trailing the Hunter’s Moon” on Pursuit Channel, CarbonTV and the show’s YouTube Channel.[/author_info] [/author]
“Are you working on your lessons?” Asked my younger brother, who was in sixth grade when I was a senior in high school. I remember thinking, “lessons”, does he mean “homework”? What is this “lessons” thing?
I shrugged off his query and continued reading about Jack O’Connor’s latest hunt in the most recent issue of Outdoor Life, about hunting desert bighorn sheep. A couple of minutes later I felt my brother sit down right beside me. “That doesn’t look like lessons! Don’t you have homework you’re supposed to be doing?” Before I could turn away or get up he asked, “Think you’ll ever get to hunt desert bighorns?”
I did not know how to answer. Yes, I dearly hoped and dreamed sometime in the future I would get to hunt what I considered the one grandest of all North American big game animals ranking right there with grizzly bears, elk, moose and an 8-point whitetail deer, something I had been hunting for all my entire though still young life. But, I dared not reply “Yes…” fearing my doing so would surely be the kiss of death for my ever being able to hunt desert bighorns, or for that matter the other North American big game species I dreamed nightly of hunting some day. So my best answer was “Maybe….”
“Well, if you don’t get to doing your lessons, you’ll never end up being like Jack O’Connor or any of the other big-time hunters you’re always reading. Instead, you’ll end up digging ditches or something worse.” Reprimanded he.
“Yeah, but they’ll be big wide ditches!” I retorted, then went back to reading and dreaming.
It was not until years later I started understanding the full meaning of “lessons” in the context my brother addressed likely without even realizing what he was saying.
I was finally indeed on a desert bighorn sheep hunt when the revelation occurred. During my youth, I had learned many lessons which included “study” and hard work, along with a healthy dose of patience. The “lesson of patience” was one of the toughest for me to learn.
My initial case of finally hunting desert bighorn sheep came in trying to shoot a capture dart loaded with bluetongue vaccine into as many sheep as I could, as they came to the only waterhole inside the enclosure in which the sheep lived. The sheep we “saved” by doing such eventually formed the basis for releases of desert bighorns into the arid mountains of far western Texas. Today because of our early efforts and those of numerous other wildlife biologists, as well as landowners and hunters who essentially paid for desert sheep conservation and restoration, Texas today has a healthy desert bighorn sheep population.
After those initial “shootings” of desert bighorns and praying they would walk away unscathed and survive, while also bottle raising three desert bighorns, I gained a totally new appreciation of this unique big game species.
It was not until years later I finally was able to shoot with the intent to kill a desert bighorn in the
rugged mountains of Sonora, Mexico very close to where Jack O’Connor had hunted sheep. I can assure you, a whole lot of patience was required to get to that point!
The “lesson of patience”? It is a tough and most difficult one to learn!
Regardless of what is going on in the world, there are always small things, of beauty and splendor, for us to enjoy, admire and appreciate!
Watch “DSC’s Trailing the Hunter’s Moon” TV show on our YouTube Channel, or on CarbonTV.
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