My brother, Jim Bolin, was telling me about his hunting and fishing trip with Frank so I asked him to write it for me. I would like to share it with you.
If my brother-in-law Frank Hughart was alive today, he probably would not own a cell phone, and certainly not a computer. He was one of the last true outdoorsmen. A pioneer if you will. He would have felt comfortable with the likes of Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston. He would have been comfortable living in a pine pole cabin in the Smokies, or a sod hut on the plains of Nebraska, or in a covered wagon on the Oregon trail. He spent years in the thick of battle in Europe in World War II, but rarely spoke about it..but true heroes never did. It was the ones behind the lines who have you believe they won the war almost single-handedly.
Frank was a true Nimrod who loved to hunt and fish in his favorite locations, under his own conditions, in his own way, at his own chosen time. He was good at what he did and those who knew him best wouldn’t dare argue the point. Two things Frank was especially good at: training bird dogs and sharpening trot-line hooks
I was privileged to accompany Frank on a couple of outings. I went deer hunting with him on the Camp Chaffee reservation, leaving his house way before daylight in order to reach his predetermined spot. We parked our car and proceeded to walk a good mile where we would arrive just before sun-up and just before a herd of prime deer were sure to slowly walk by, giving us plenty of time to select our choice.
Before we got to where we were headed, stumbling along in the dark, a shot rang out, and a bullet cut through the leaves above our heads. Frank hit the ground (with his mind probably going back to his landing on Omaha Beach) and he made a silhouette of no more than two inches above the ground,. He urged me to lie down, but I only knelt on one knee as I was looking for the idiot who was firing in the dark. Bad choice! Another shot came a little closer and I joined Frank there on the ground, but probably an inch lower, and we both shouted out for the unknown sniper to cease and desist, and we continued on our journey, with me singing “Dixie”, figuring that any true Southern boy would never shoot at a deer which was singing the National Anthem.
We reached our spot, the sun came up, but the deer did not! We sat a while, walked a while, and fretted a lot, but never saw a deer. Late in the day we selected another location and we each sat with our backs to a couple of trees (not knowing just where the idiot sniper was) and I heard Frank fire off a round from his thirty-ought-six. I asked just what he was shooting at and he replied, “that deer over there”. I looked and sure enough there was a big doe standing there, and does were legal that day (I think). I raised my thirty-thirty, pointed at the deer, pulled the trigger and dropped her in her tracks. All the way back into town Frank was examining the deer, looking for the second bullet hole, as he swore he hit it! He searched further for the second hole as we hung her up on a tree limb in his front yard. Either he missed OR I put my bullet in the same hole. At that time I was not particularly impressed with his old field jacket with the big red 1 on the shoulder, hanging in his closet, nor with his combat infantry badge. I had barely qualified in the Air Force on the thousand inch range, but I KILLED THAT DEER!
Some months later, Frank heard that the Game and Fish Commission was draining down Blue Mountain Lake and would be adding rotenone to bring up the “rough fish” which would include carp, buffalo, and catfish and that folks would be urged to be there to harvest same. That was like saying “sic ‘em” to a bulldog. Frank wanted to go and wanted me to go with him. He didn’t have a boat, I didn’t have a boat, but he knew a man who did and told we were welcomed to use it. We went to the man’s home and couldn’t locate either the man or his boat, but we headed to Blue Mountain anyway.
The lake was very low and there seemed to be hundreds if not thousands of boats on what little surface was left. You could almost walk from bank-to-bank on the boats. At the advertised time, here came the game and fish officials with one man handling the outboard motor and the other throwing out the rotenone. In no time at all, the fish started coming to the surface. People were latterly scooping them up. All we could do was watch. Then it happened. A catfish head as big as a water bucket surfaced a couple of yards from the bank where we were standing. Frank jumped into the lake, clothes and all, with little regard as to the depth at that point. He bearhugged that fish and brought it to the bank where I helped with the retrieval. We headed back home Frank took the fish to the grocery store and weighed it. It weighed 45 pounds. We hung it on that same limb where he had hung the deer, and dressed it like it was a fat hog.
Frank was one of the last of the true outdoorsmen. What a guy!