I got an email last week from Stan Graff, after several people suggested that Park Cities People might want to publish a picture of his son Reed — a second-grader at Armstrong Elementary — and a feral hog that Reed killed in November. That beats what often happened during my first newspaper gig in Sulphur Springs, where hunters would drive straight to our office after taking down bucks and ask me to take pictures of the carcasses they had strapped to their hoods.
The picture of Reed was taken with a phone, so it was too small to reproduce well in the newspaper. But Stan also sent a video he recorded of a conversation he and Reed had the morning after the shoot. I've put the video here with Stan's permission, after making sure he'd seen the comments elicited by the photos we published of Sam Spicer's hunting trophies. Stan pointed out that the hog was shot on his Red River County ranch, which won a Land Steward Award from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 2006. The program recognizes and honors private landowners for their accomplishments in habitat management and wildlife conservation.
"Fortunately, Reed is getting to learn about land conservation first-hand and has been at the ranch when we have done prescribed burning and many other conservation activities," Stan said. "Hunting has been a part of our heritage for years, and Reed enjoys understanding nature and has just finished reading the children’s series on Daniel Boone, Wild Bill Cody, and Crazy Horse."
I'm not a hunter; my family's father-son bonding experiences consisted mostly of enduring freezing temperatures at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. But even I can appreciate the magnitude of Reed's accomplishment. That hog must outweigh him five to one. High-five, young sportsman!