- Associated Press - Sunday, May 21, 2017

SOLGOHACHIA, Ark. (AP) - Charles H. Eddy knew when he was hiking in Canada or Alaska in search of Dall sheep that he might not remember all his adventures, so he wrote them down.

Now the almost 87-year-old former circuit judge is sharing his escapades in a free, self-published book: Dreams Realized: Hunting Wild Sheep, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2q1Ge8t ) reported.

“I consider sheep-hunting to be the greatest of all hunting adventures,” Eddy said. “It is so demanding and a physical effort, and it requires your focus. You first have to want to do it. A sheep hunt may last only 10 to 15 days, but you spend two, three months getting ready for it, physically. You have to do a lot of climbing up mountains.”

The Morrilton native and son of a lawyer said he grew up hunting, mainly rabbits and squirrels.

“We lived at the edge of town near woods and fields. I used to live for duck hunting; I could go on and on,” he said.

He and his wife, Jeanette, live 10 miles north of Morrilton.

Eddy said he bagged his first deer at 22 years old, so he considers that the beginning of his big-game hunting.

“As a lawyer, I always look for definitions,” he said, laughing. “I killed my deer in 1952, so I guess that’s when it started.”

The Korean Air Force veteran was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, then. It was years later before he hunted again.

Eddy called himself a “tramp” student - one who travels from place to place.

He attended Arkansas Tech University in Russellville in 1948, then transferred to the University of Central Arkansas in Conway the following year. In 1950, he went to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio for four years, and he met his wife, who worked at another Air Force base. While he was there, he also attended Trinity University and got almost a year’s worth of credits, he said.

“After I got out of the Air Force, I went straight to the University of Arkansas,” Eddy said. “I was married with one child, and I finished my fourth year of undergrad, . graduated from law school and came home.

“I was first elected as a judge at age 28, the same year I graduated from law school. Doesn’t sound right, does it?”

Eddy said sometimes he wonders if he should tell anyone that because they might not believe him.

“That is true,” he said. “Back then, they had a position called police judge - and you did not even have to be a lawyer.”

He served one term, which was four years, as police judge in Morrilton. He said the position was a forerunner to district judge.

Eddy didn’t run for re-election. In 1978, he was elected 15th Judicial District circuit judge and took office in 1979. He served 16 years.

Eddy was practicing law and living in Morrilton with his wife when he started his foray into serious hunting.

“I started that in 1974 - that’s when I first went out of state to go hunting,” he said. “You’re hunting rabbits and this and that, ducks; you get to reading these sports magazines, and you say to yourself, ‘I want to try that.’”

Eddy and two lawyer friends from Pine Bluff - Buddy Slaten and Joe Holmes - who have since died, went elk hunting in Montana. That’s when Eddy “got the bug,” he said.

“I hunted out there with (Slaten) three times to Wyoming and twice to Colorado. He and I planned to mountain-goat, moose and caribou hunt in British Columbia, and he decided he would not go, and I went by myself,”

Eddy said.

Eddy said that in 1977, he made his first trip to Canada and hunted moose, goat and caribou.

“I got the mountain goat and moose,” he said. Eddy said he continued to hunt caribou there almost every year through 2013 or 2014.

Eddy said he started taking notes about his hunts early on.

“I always kept notes of each hunt, copious notes, because I knew I would not remember everything in later years or even be able to separate those hunts,” he said. “I kept a photograph album and scrapbook of every hunt.”

He also has files on each hunt so he can remember the details. The highest altitude at which he’s hunted is 13,500 feet in 1983 in Wyoming, he said.

Eddy said he’s never been afraid while hunting.

“I went elk hunting and did have a slight encounter with a grizzly bear” near Yellowstone National Park, he said.

Eddy said he shot an elk, “not one of my best shots. A grizzly bear got it and killed it before (the guide and I) got to it. The grizzly bear left as we got there. We just saw its bloody footprints in the snow walking away from the elk. The bear had dragged the elk about 40 feet with his teeth.”

Eddy said the guide got excited. “I wanted pictures, and that’s not what he wanted,” Eddy said. He said the guides had a healthy respect for bears. “The year before, one of the guides had been attacked (by a bear), and I don’t know how he survived.”

Although Eddy had lots of adventures, it’s the sheep hunting that he recalls as his favorite.

“Your first sheep hunt is the one that always comes to mind. It was in a very remote area of Alaska, east of Anchorage. We hunted about eight days, backpacking, I’m talking about all we had those eight days was on our backs - tent, food, everything.” Rick Bell of Pine Bluff, with whom Eddy had deer-hunted, went with him.

“We hunted hard for eight days and finally got our sheep,” Eddy said. “One night a bear tore a hole in our tent, but that was the extent of it. (The bear) destroyed (a tent) a few miles away.”

Eddy said he ate some of the sheep meat before they left camp, and he liked it.

“The outfitter kept the rest of it; that’s highly desirable meat - the Dall sheep,” Eddy said.

He said he has had many memorable hunts.

“I do remember hunting the Wind River Range in Wyoming in 1983,” he said. “It was a backpack hunt, about eight days, and we worked hard. That was probably some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. We crossed large glaciers in September. We worked hard and did not get a sheep.”

He laughed. “That’s part of it,” he said.

Eddy’s last sheep hunt was in 2012 in the Northwest Territories in Canada. He was 82. Eddy said he hadn’t planned to hunt; he was just going to “hang out,” but another hunter got sick. Eddy finished the hunt in the man’s place. Eddy will be 87 on May 29.

Among his trophies are eight sheep, as well as moose, goat, caribou and deer.

“We built a new house about 14 years ago, and yes, I did build a separate game room,” he said.

In addition for using it to display his trophies, Eddy said he and his wife use the room for family gatherings, including a fish fry every Fourth of July.

The Eddys have three sons, Charles and David, who live in Russellville, and Robert, who lives in Morrilton; four grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and a great-grandson on the way. Three of the grandchildren enjoy hunting locally, Eddy said, and he has given them copies of his book.

Jeanette said she doesn’t go hunting, but she has stayed at the base camps while her husband hunts.

She said she started painting a few years after she retired from the former Farmers Home Administration.

“I’m not where I want to be with it,” she said of her painting.

Her husband, however, said his wife had a painting of a sheep, and he asked if he could use it to illustrate the cover of his book.

“The sheep seems to have its own allure,” he said. “It’s hard to articulate. People have tried to articulate the efforts of sheep hunting, and I’m not sure anyone has ever articulated it, because I’m not sure what it really, really is that makes us so attracted to it.”

He said he tries to explain it in his book, given to family, friends and anyone else who might be interested in his adventures.

“When you start thinking back over 40 years . well, I could go on and on,” Eddy said. “Sheep-hunting has been my primary focus ever since I started sheep-hunting in 1977. They have been the most adventuresome, but now the others have also been adventuresome.

“I accumulated all of those (stories) thinking someday somebody might want to look at them. I’d give anything if I had the account of my grandfather’s hunts.”


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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