Ricky Harpole Letter

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 22, 2010


2009-’10 hunting club awards announced; bounty hunter honored

In the Mississippi Delta we hold two principles, categorized by seasons, huntin’ and fishin’. Designated by camps, and integrated by both parties in season.

Occasionally these camps are infiltrated by Yankees (usually by invitation) who require instructions on the intricacies of Southern Culture. Things like:

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1. When being called a Redneck is a compliment and not a slur, or

2. Why your first born was named after a Blue Tick hound renowned for his thieving ability, as well as his nose, etc.

These camps are not dens of iniquity, although they were iniquitous enough before our wives and girlfriends took up the guns about a generation and a half ago and started to ride herd on the festivities. It probably didn’t hurt their cause that they consistently outshoot us, occasionally outride us, and subvert our dogs to the point of being house broken. We have at least made better cooks of them, so I suppose that is progress of sort.

It is usual at these sacred gatherings to discuss matters of great importance pertaining to the hunt. Matters such as the value of rifled-slug barrels over 30/30s in heavy brush or the merits of Redbone hounds as compared to the Walkers in bayou country. (I once suffered through a 40-minute discourse on the texture and quality of Quitman County mud and was enlightened), and finally a summation of the season’s most remarkable episodes.

To qualify to speak here requires two witnesses to the event (sobriety not a requirement), or irrefutable physical evidence such as a dead hog in a deer stand, or an exploded, mud-choked shotgun barrel.

Misadventures by skunk are specifically banned except where there are multiple injuries.

It is customary at camp break on the last Saturday of the season to laud and applaud the most accomplished. These rewards are verbal and by voted acclamation. For instance:

1. Best cook of improvisation (make somethin’ edible out of whatever is left over).

2. Best improvisor of catastrophic events and excuses.

3. And last, but certainly not least, the best provider of grain spirits.

There was up until this year an award for Best All-Round Hunter, but we have decided by vote for five consecutive years on the same individual, one who never patronized the Game and Fish Commission for a license, or even graced the halls of the MOCCASIN BEND HUNTING CLUB AND CHIGGER EMPORIUM. And yet, this individual maintained a 91 percent bag rate over a five-year period with some very interesting and innovative methods.

She is a well-endowed and socially promiscuous bounty hunter from Kingsport, Tenn., who has a remarkably distractive way of catching her bag limit of fleeing felons, bond jumpers and bench runners. It has been observed that at least two members of our esteemed hunting organization have deliberately evaded arrest by conventional authorities, just for the honor of being brought to justice by her.

Having worked beside her and observed her techniques firsthand, I do hereby propose that we depart from tradition and christen the small structure with the half moon in the door, behind the main hall as the ANN GILLESE JOHNSON BUILDING.

So voted and approved by all members, as long as I provide christening wine.

Good Huntin’

–Ricky Harpole

Camp Statiscian