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The Oklahoma Sportsman

John Adkins, Producer

"Hello, hunters and outdoorsmen everywhere! This is Bruce Dewitt, and welcome to The Oklahoma Sportsman, where each week we bring you another exciting outdoor adventure. Today, we’re out in the wheat fields in northern Oklahoma, going after one of the trickiest and most clever game animals to be had up here in this part of the state: the elusive but dreaded North American field mouse. We’re right out in the middle of one of the legendary wheat fields in this place that is called ‘the world’s bread basket.’”

The camera widens to a two-shot.

“Joining me today is an old and good friend, Ben Braddock. Ben was raised right around these parts and, together, we’ve scouted this territory pretty well. He’s been away for quite a while now, exploring the world. But we are happy to welcome him back home and to have him as a guest on our show.”

“Thanks, Bruce. It has been a while, and I’ve not hunted in years. I hope my old skills will come back.”

“It’s like riding a bicycle, Ben; once you got it, you got it. And we have you outfitted pretty good today for this hunt, thanks to our great sponsors.”

“I don’t think these boots fit very well.”

“Don’t worry about it, Ben, with any kind of luck we won’t have to be walking much. But they do look great on you, and those camouflage pants are perfect for this terrain and for hunting this game. I might want to throw in that the hunting vest you are wearing came to us courtesy of Big Shot outerwear. If you are going to shoot, make it a ‘Big Shot.’”

“I’d like to mention my sunglasses. I got these for the trip. They are Bausch & Lomb, and I love them.”

“They’re not a sponsor, Ben, afraid we can’t mention them.”

“But I paid ninety dollars for them; they’re special.”

“That’s a lot of money, and I bet they are special, Ben, but let’s get on with the show.”

Bruce turns to the camera. “We’re out here standing in the wheat fi eld, and—”

“Really special!” Ben is turning his head, looking up and down at the sky. “Wow! Everyone here needs to get some of these!”

“Okay, Ben … let’s talk about these weapons we are using out here today, on this beautiful morning in Oklahoma.”

“It’s windy as hell!”

“We’ve chosen the perfect weapon for this day’s hunt, the world famous Daisy lever-action Range Ryder model, and we’re also using the genuine Daisy copper-plated BBs. Nothing but the best, a great combination; a surefire winner every time.”

“They gave us these? Cool!”

“Well they are one of our sponsors, and they are nice to us.” Bruce turns again to the camera. “Let’s get rolling with this hunt. Now we want to get started here by moving just a little bit further from the road, come on Ben.” Bruce starts to move away.

“Dude, these glasses!” Ben, looking around again, up and down, says, “People ought to get these glasses!”

“Come on, Ben, we’re getting down on our knees now because we need a clearer line of site among the tall stalks of grain.”

“Yeah, those big seedy tops get in the way, not like those grasses out West, with the little skinny seed pods.”

“You got that right, Ben! Now, looking through this thick stand of wheat stalks, we look for a sign of anything that might signal rodent activity. Hey! Look over there, Ben—what do you see?”

“Looks like a pile of little turds to me.” “Right again, Ben, except we refer to them as mouse ‘droppings’ here on the show. Yeah, I just got a nod from our director John that droppings is the word we have to use on television.”

“Well, a turd is a turd, big or small, but I can live with droppings if it makes John happy.”

“Thanks, Ben. Seeing those signs tells us we are in the right area to perhaps encounter today’s game, the North American field mouse! So let’s lie down and get to the eye level of the game. If we do encounter one as we crawl through this wheat field, we’ll want to see him before he sees us.”

“We’ll be breaking down a lot of the wheat.”

“Yeah, but it’ll be worth it, Ben. Th ese field mice could cost this farmer a lot more. They’re an overpopulated species, and just one field mouse can eat enough grain each year to equal his own weight.”

“What do you figure one of them weighs?”

“I don’t know, Ben, I suppose a full-grown one would weigh two, maybe three ounces.”

“Dang! That’s nearly a whole bowl of cereal.”

“That’s probably true. Okay, Ben, get that weapon pointed out there ahead of you, we may need to use it fast.… Hey! There’s one of them right now! Quiet, Ben!” Bruce speaks in a whisper. “This guy’s gonna be frisky. You got to move slow and don’t frighten him; they don’t call this guy one of the most elusive creatures on the North American continent for nothing.”

Ben says in a whisper, “What do they get for it then?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if they don’t call them that for nothing, what do they get for calling them that?”

“I guess just knowing that it sounds good, Ben. Now let’s crawl forward just a little bit ... easy ….easy!”

“Out in California, they have these little no-kill cages they put out and catch the field mice so they can do catch-and-release. They take them where they’ll be safer and taken care of … mostly to the big cities. San Francisco sets out food and water stations for them. They fine you if you step on one or do something like that. It’s become a sanctuary.”

“Different strokes for different folks, Ben.” They both went back to a whisper. “Now, line up your rifle and take good aim, that guy looks like a keeper! Easy … easy … slow on that trigger…. Now! Now! Oh, perfect shot!”

“Wow, I didn’t remember these things having that much recoil. Good thing I had these great sunglasses on. I’d have probably never gotten him without them. You got to try these on.”

“I’ll try on your sunglasses later, Ben.”

Ben, looking around and up and down, says, “Wow! Wow! These glasses are something else!”

“Forget the sunglasses. Pick him up, Ben. You’ve got yourself a trophy specimen there.”

“Cute little guy. Do you suppose I could get him mounted?”

“The perfect accessory for your desk, Ben.”

“It’d be a lot of fun at parties.”

“Yes, it would, Ben. There you have it, folks, and another successful day of hunting wraps up as we—”

“Hey, there used to be a great little taxidermy studio down on Pine Street. They did great work. That place still there?”

“They are, but they’re not a sponsor, Ben.” Bruce turns to face the camera. “This is Bruce Dewitt, along with my old friend Ben Braddock who came back here to Oklahoma after all these years, probably because he missed the great hunting. We’re thanking you for joining us and saying ‘good hunting’ from The Oklahoma Sportsman! Join me next time as we go after the tough and sometimes vicious southern Oklahoma armadillo.”

“Want me to tell you what I can see with these glasses, Bruce? I can see why I can’t see staying around here much longer.”

“Good call, Ben”

Cut to commercial.

In tribute to my old friend and television producer John (pictured above) who left us way too soon. A short story from the book "Twisted by the Wind".

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