06 Oct A Boy Scout Trip
I was 13 years old and had joined a Boy Scout troop. All of the boys were between 13 and 15 years old. The troop owned an old school bus. The scouts would go door to door and collect newspapers until we filled the bus so full that we had to ride on the top of the stacks of newspapers. Then our troop leader would drive the bus to the recycling center. We would weigh the bus, unload it onto a conveyor belt and then weigh the bus again to determine the weight of the donated papers. The year was 1959 and we would get over $100 for a bus load of newspapers.
After a year of earning our money, we planned a trip from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to San Antonio. Our troop leader knew a man with over a thousand acres near San Antonio. The man had given us permission to hunt on his land. So to prepare for our hunting trip, we went to an outdoor shooting range to learn gun safety skills and to shoot accurately. The range had a pistol range with targets at 15 yards and 25 yards and a rifle range of 100 yards. We all had 22 rifles so we went to the rifle range. There was a man there using a pistol! Not only that he was incredibly accurate. When we observed his target, every shot had hit the mark. We found out that he worked for the FBI. He had never used his gun in his job, but if he ever did he wanted to be as good as he was capable of being. That was impressive to all of us.
Summer arrived and we departed in the school bus to San Antonio. We toured the Alamo with great reverence for the men who sacrificed their lives to achieve Texas independence from Mexico. We camped for two nights, then spent a night in an inexpensive motel so that we could all shower. Our leader had arranged for us to be tested for a merit badge and the examiner met us at the friend’s ranch. It involved using a compass and pacing off a square tract of land of a certain size. It was pretty tough and not all of us succeeded on the first try, but eventually we were all successful.
But the highlight of the trip was to be the hunt. The land abounded in wild turkeys. Each of us was surprised at how lean and bird-like the wild turkeys were compared to the Thanksgiving type turkeys we were used to. Off course they could fly also. Our guns were loaded with a type of ammunition called 22 shorts. This was the least powerful bullet that existed at the time. A group of us remained still as a flock of wild turkeys approached. Then on a silent signal, we opened fire. We saw the feathers fly off of the bodies of the birds, so we knew that we had hit our targets. However, not one turkey fell. They did not even fly away at the first volley of shots, but when we started speaking about why they were not falling, our noise scared them away. The feathers protected them from our feeble bullets. We did not eat turkey on that trip.