Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hunting traditions.....

The following article was written by my good friend and outdoor writer Ken Cook.  The article appeared in my hometown paper in November of 2009.  Hope you enjoy!

Hunting Traditions Run Deep in the Luckie Family.

Nothing ignites a conversation better or faster than the subject of our hunting heritage and family traditions surrounding it. This occasion was no exception. It was hard to get a word in edgewise as we sat in Dr. James “Jimmy” Luckie’s den late one July afternoon, trading hunting stories across the room like a fast-paced ping pong match. I was surrounded by two branches of the Luckie family tree—John Luckie, Jr. and his son Trey; Jimmy Luckie and his sons Beau and Zack. Though one generation separated those in attendance, the morals of their stories were the same.

In South Georgia, in a gathering of this type, you would expect the main topic of conversation to be deer and turkey hunting, but not this group. Although the Luckies enjoy hunting deer and turkey, their hearts belong to wing shooting and their most treasured memories are about quail hunts on the family farm in Marshallville, Georgia. John and Jim grew up hunting quail and doves; young Beau is a dyed in the wool duck hunter; and Trey enjoys doves and upland game birds such as pheasant.

Though there is some evidence that quail may be making a comeback in parts of rural Georgia, a state once famous for quail hunting, Jimmy said 16 wild birds was all they could muster last season. Hunters who grew up hunting wild quail get heartburn making the leap to pen-raised quail hunting on commercial shooting farms. Traditions seldom evolve.

Part family reunion and part hunt festival, Thanksgiving was a very special time for members of the Luckie clan. J.A. Luckie and John Luckie Sr. (grandfather and father, respectively, of John, Jr.) were both farmers in Macon County Georgia (Marshallville) and their farm was the gathering place. They hunted quail in the morning; sat down for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner around noon; and then returned to the fields in the afternoon. Jimmy said it was a bad day if they didn’t raise 20 + coveys of bob white quail. The Luckie’s Thanksgiving hunts usually extended into the weekend and, for variety, also included dove and duck shoots.

If a Browning Arms representative ever gets word of this, they would be well served to produce an advertising series featuring the Luckies. The whole bunch of them own and shoot Brownings and wouldn’t consider using any other brand of hunting firearm. This tradition seems to have started with their grandfathers and fathers who hunted with Belgian-made Browning A-5 semi-autos with the “gold trigger.” Imagine the years of painful anticipation when your grandpa or father told you, “When you become 18 years old, I will let you have my Browning shotgun.” Implicit in this promise was the expectation that the recipient had to “behave and toe the line.”Obviously, the Luckie boys were expected to earn their Brownings.

The Browning shotgun tradition is apparently so strong that one of the Luckie boys, whose name I won’t mention, and who is a person not given to body art, has a Browning Buckmark logo tattoed on his ankle. If I were a Browning executive, this would be the focal point of my first ad in the “Luckies Love Browning” ad series.

With two generations of Luckies gathered around me and two more preceding generations passed on, I asked the younger Luckies what they are doing to pass the family hunting traditions down to their children. Trey, who has a six-year old son, is busy teaching him hunting and gun safety and taking him along on hunting trips. Beau and his wife don’t have children yet but Beau, who has a Lab retriever, believes that hunt tests are a natural way to get a son or daughter excited about and involved in hunting.

The richness and influence of our hunting heritage and family hunting traditions are nothing short of extraordinary. “If we didn’t behave during the week, we knew we wouldn’t get to hunt on Saturday,” Trey said. “When we were hunting, no one kept tabs on us because they knew where we were and what we were doing.” Beau added. Protect our hunting heritage and may it live on forever.


CHERI said...

I hope my grandson will love hunting as much as his daddy and Papa.

Trey said...

He will!

Ashlee said...

good article! very neat!

get a word in while jimmy's talking... not a chance!

is it just one with a browning tattoo or two?!

Trey said...

just one of us, I think you know which one! :)

Swamp Thing said...

I wish we had gotten to experience quail hunting while growing up in southeastern VA.....my parents enrolled in the "grow a quail" program with the eggs and incubator and everything, but the birds always became cat/snake/hawk bait before too long.

We do enjoy preserve shooting as well, and look forward to it every year. I figure that if you have no problem buying meat at a store, there are no ethical issues associated with preserve shooting.

As long as you don't call it hunting....which it is not.

Thanks for posting this!