Excerpts from "Okie Tails"

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  • #26117

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    After some pictures, the chore of getting this porker back to the trucks was planned out. Josh a fairly sizable man, ran some harness straps through the hind legs and started the drag. As the rest of us carefully picked our way through the dark obstacle course by flashlight, Josh and Eric bulldozed their own path. All I could hear was the sound of breaking trees and brush as they proceeded on a more direct route.  You could probably drive a truck down the path they cleared out while dragging my beast up the side of the bluff.

    #26166

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    Supper was waiting for us by the time we got back to the lodge. Man, these guys eat good around here! A nice buck was taken earlier by one of the other lodge guests while Adam and I were waiting for the hogs to come out and play. Josh surprised me with an intact venison heart. There wasn’t much left of the one in my deer. I trimmed, cut it into steaks and put it to brine for cookin’ up tomorrow.

    Even though I didn’t get “the fever” as bad on this shoot, I was still pretty amp’d up. One shot drops with my little .30-30 two days in a row. Time for some shots of another kind and to relax a bit. After settling down some, I realized I had a few puncture wounds still containing cactus thorns in various locations on my body from retrievin’ the pig. Not sure why I didn’t feel them earlier. Maybe I’m just a little exhausted.

    #26252

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    DL, Julie, Adam and I, along with a ton of camera gear are going to load up around 06:00 and head out to the “Trailer Trash Blind” to catch up on filming we couldn’t do earlier in the week.

    Before heading out, Julie brought out some great Union Sportsmen’s Alliance swag. She presented me with a USA logo hat and outfitter’s shirt adorned with patches of Realtree camo, a pair of 8 X 42 Steiner binoculars and my favorite type of goody, a new Buck skinnin’ knife with my name laser engraved on the blade. WOW! What a beauty! I like knives!

    The reenactment filming went pretty quick and it put us back at the lodge by 9:00. I donned my new hat, shirt and knife. I looked like a true USA outfitter guide kinda’ guy (well… sorta’). Now it’s time to relax with some football and new friends until dinner time.

    #26282

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    As flames reflected off the faces from the campfire dancing in the pit, DL’s and Julie’s dogs, Cello and Banjo, enjoyed their freedom while chasing shadows and playing with each other. Bad jokes and somewhat embellished hunting stories from the past were being shared between hunters. It didn’t take much to talk DL into retrieving his guitar for some campfire entertainment. This is hunting camp at its finest, a true “brotherhood”. As the fire died down, toasts, handshakes and compliments flowed out to Brett, Josh and Eric of Western Oklahoma Trophy Outfitters. And special thanks to Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen. What a perfect finale to a perfect adventure.

    #26288

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    My dreams were filled with visions of critters dropping in their tracks. I didn’t want to get up, but needed to get packed to meet our intended departure time. I stepped outside with a cup of coffee to watch my last Oklahoma sunrise. I gazed over the vast open landscape. Every part of this great country I’ve traveled presents its own inherent beauty. This place was no different in that respect. And it will be sad to leave my new found friends behind.

    #26453

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    During my packing operation, friends of Brett showed up with a real nice buck to be processed.  Biggest one we’ve seen all week. Turns out their thirteen year old daughter had taken her first deer on her first hunt. I went out where they hung it to ask the young lady if she had smeared any of its blood on her hands and face in celebration. What I saw was her skinning away, with mom doing the same on the opposite side and dad right behind her offering helpful hints. It brought a tear of joy to my eye.

    #26587

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    It was now time to head to the airport for my flight home. With DL’s rig hitched and loaded, we said good byes to the WOTO staff and remaining guests. As we started down the dirt back toward pavement, I took one last look at the people that will remain in my heart and a place I will remember for the rest of my life.

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    #26619

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    It was tough to say good-by as we were dropped off at Lawton airport. I was still pretty much in a fog from my adventures. I didn’t want it to end. But it was now time to part company with Julie and DL and forge on with the rest of my life’s adventures. Adam and I would share the short hop back to Dallas. As the little commuter jet climbed out and over The Red River into Texas, I was hoping to catch one last glimpse of the territory we made home for the past week. The flight path was just too far east to view any of it.

    #26645

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    The lay-over in Dallas was barely long enough for us to get a bite together before  boarding for final flights toward home. Adam to Arizona, and me to Cali. The sun was just beginning to set at lift-off. With a mostly westward heading, the view of the sunset was spectacular. Ascending in the general direction of the setting sun, coupled with the aircraft’s speed provided a near perpetual sunset. The red glow lasted most of an hour. I couldn’t fight the urge (or need) for sleep any longer. Hunt memories filled my dreams.

    #26661

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    I pulled up to the homestead around 8:30. I was pretty spent. It felt like I was still on Oklahoma time. This was one hell of an adventure, but I missed my wife. It was good to be home. I decided to unpack and de-brief in the morning. I did dig out all the cool USA swag I was given and my “trophy” rack for show and tell before heading to bed with plans on sleeping in some. I’d scheduled one more day off from work for recovery time so I needn’t get up at my normal 4 am. It was a good call.

    #26754

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    Gonna’ fast forward some to the day after New Year. This was the day for my backstory interview. Since I wanted to involve my mom, the location was set for her house. Tony Reyes managed to find his way from Tennessee to the little country town of Wilton, CA. After an intro to my family in attendance and a quick tour of the layout, tony unloaded his gear and immediately set up in the best locations for filming.

    #26938

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    I fired up the grill for lunch before the interviews. Iron skillet fried up a mess of frog legs, grilled some marinated Canada goose breasts and tri-tip steaks. Kinda’ like surf and turf, only more like pond and pasture. There were lots of other home cooked fixin’s to go along. It was very special for us all to gather ‘round the table with Tony for vittles and candid conversation, during which, mention was made how much he resembled a young Donny Osmond. This was Tony’s first ever frog leg feast. I’m not sure he was thrilled, but he did consume one without complaint.

    #27100

    Clayton Bolton
    Participant

    As Tony began to interview my wife, I felt it would be considerably less disruptive if I stepped outside. Donna, a little (a lot) nervous, kept looking at me instead of the camera. No problem. There was cold beer and a cigar out on the deck. My mom said she tear’d up a little by some of the comments. Maybe it was good I missed it. But now I’ll have to wait until the show to hear what she said.

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