This past Saturday I was ‘professor Kendal Hemphill,’ authoritative expert commentor on TJ Greaney’s Outdoor Zone radio program (104.9 The Horn, Austin). The Outdoor Zone should in no way be judged by that, though, because me being a professor was obviously a joke. The personna TJ gave me went well with the subject of the day, which was Sasquatch. I guess a mythical authority is qualified to expound on a mythical creature.
More specifically, we discussed the claim of one Rick Dyer of Lost Wages, Nevada, who claims to have shot and killed a Sasquatch back in September of 2012, near San Antonio, Texas. I had sent TJ a text on Friday and told him he should talk about Dyer on the show, and he said he planned to do that, and needed an expert to call in. I was evidently the only expert dumb enough to consent.
TJ and I are good friends, and I respect him a tremendous amount, for many reasons. The most prominent is his hard work and dedication in establishing Kids Outdoor Zone, which is a program TJ designed to give underpriviledged and at-risk kids a chance to hunt, fish, camp, and learn about God. Otherwise I would tell him to go fly a kite when he asks me to get up at 6 a.m. on Saturday and call in on the show. My belief is that if God had intended man to get up at 6 a.m., He would’ve made it come at 9 a.m.
But TJ was already short-handed last Saturday, since his son, Cody Ryan, was off at Lake Amistad pre-fishing for a big bass tournament that’s coming up. Cody Ryan does the pro bass circuit, and is a fine fellow, himself, but sometimes I wonder about this ‘pre-fishing’ thing. Since I’m not a bass fisherman, except as a rank amateur, I tend to regard fishing as either something you’re doing or something you’re not doing. And I figure if you’re in a boat, with a rod and reel in your hand, casting a lure into the water and retrieving it, you’re fishing.
Bass fishers, however, go to a lake sometimes several days before a tournament starts and ‘pre-fish’ it. Which, I guess, means they’re fishing, but it doesn’t count yet, or something. And I wonder if I could get away with that with Cody Hatfield, my local game warden, in regard to hunting. If he caught me hunting doves in, say, mid-August, I could tell him no, I’m not actually hunting, I’m pre-hunting. Yes, those are dead doves in my game bag, but I’m not keeping them. I plan to throw them back when I’m done.
Somehow I don’t think Cody would go for it.
Anyway, Cody Ryan usually does the Outdoor Zone radio show with TJ, and since he was off playing ‘Where’s Billy Bass’ TJ was doing the show alone. So I figured I’d get up early and help him out. The hardest part about that is sounding alert and cheerful at a time of day when I’m typically unconscious, but I did my best.
Rick Dyer calls himself the ‘master bigfoot tracker,’ which means just about nothing, in my opinion. I have, personally, tracked every Tazmanian Devil that has ever traveled through Mason County, and you don’t hear me bragging about it. I never shot one, though, which Rick claims to have done. A sasquatch, not a Taz.
The problem is that Rick claimed to have found a dead sasquatch in the woods near San Antonio back in 2010. He made a big to do about it, and when the sheet finally came down, his evidence turned out to be a rubber gorilla suit stuffed with rags. So you could say Rick’s credibility is somewhere below the salt on this bigfoot thing.
But Rick’s excuse was that ‘the government’ came and took away his sasquatch, and since he’d already booked a hall, he decided to go with the gorilla suit, which he now regrets deeply. So that clears that up.
Now, of course, things are different. He’s actually killed one, which he baited with pork ribs he bought at Wal-Mart and then rubbed with his special, secret ‘Bigfoot Pork Ribs Treatment and Paint Remover,’ or some such. Which he claims worked like a charm, and enticed not one, not two, but three sasquatches (sasquai?) close enough for him to shoot one.
Pardon me if I sound unconvinced. It’s been a slow news week, or else I would be writing about coyote calling, anyway. I was, after all, planning to do a column about the unicorn I caught last month, but he escaped. Or maybe ‘the government’ snatched him while I was eating pork ribs with Elvis.
Rick claims the sasquatch has been ‘undergoing a barrage of tests by experts,’ but is now suitably stuffed and certified, and he’s going on a tour of the country to show him off. He’ll be in the Houston area in mid-February, so you might want to go see for yourself.
Personally, I think Rick hung around outside a Wal-Mart on Loop 1604 and shot a guy I used to see there a lot, when I went to Bass Pro Shops. But I didn’t tell TJ that. Expert commentors are more professional than that. I told TJ I would compare Rick’s sasquatch to mine, when I shoot one, and get back to him.
This pre-hunting thing is going to take a while . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who once shot a Tazmanian Devil in his pajamas. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org