KINGMAN - One of the things that many in the general public don't know about sportsmen is the camaraderie we all have, especially when it comes to helping one another.
How many times have you passed a motorist on the side of the road, hood up or an obvious flat tire - and rather than stop, you just keep on going? That doesn't happen very often in the backcountry, where sportsmen will always stop to ask if you are OK or if they can help.
Call it an unwritten code, but it's definitely something that sportsmen will do when they see you in distress.
Case in point: A few weeks ago while driving at dawn on a back road on a juniors only deer/pig hunt, I nodded off for a moment.
Suddenly I heard my brother Gary and longtime friend Jay Chan holler, "Don, look out!"
I looked up to see a tree looming ahead, and I swerved and started to slide on the gravel road as I slammed on the brakes. In an instant, the truck was off the right side of the road.
I missed the tree but slid off the road and struck two large boulders, causing what we later learned was extensive damage to the undercarriage of the truck.
No one was injured. We were going less than 20 miles per hour, and the front of the truck was nestled nicely in the branches of a turbinella oak bush.
A quick assessment of the situation showed that two rocks were still under the truck, and they were going to have to be moved.
We were lucky to have cell service, so I called my friend Brian Powell of City Towing and asked him if he would come out, even though were about 80 miles from Kingman. He said he would be there as soon as he could, and I called good friend Johnnie Hoeft, who agreed to ride out with Powell.
It was obvious that there would no hunting this day. My grandson Logan, who was here from Oklahoma, took it all in good stride.
Tomorrow was another day and his Uncle Gary agreed we would come out in his truck.
We had just starting shoveling when we heard the sound of an approaching vehicle.
I was surprised to see longtime friends Scott and Matt Snay drive up. In the back seat was Scott's daughter Sadie, who had a junior's javelina tag.
Matt, who is one of the Kingman Police Department's finest, had worked all night, but he was there to assist his sister on her hunt.
I never said a word about helping before the trio stopped the truck and out they came.
After some good-natured (and much-deserved) ribbing, Scott and Matt started right in helping to dig out the boulders.
This meant Sadie was going to miss some prime-time hunting, but rather than drive off and leave us, they willingly gave up that time to assist friends and fellow sportsmen.
Everyone got turns on the shovel: Scott, Matt, Gary, Jay and I all took turns.
It took a while, but Matt was able to physically push the two big rocks from out under the truck. Then, using his own 4 X 4, he hooked up to the front of my truck and we were able to pull it back onto the road.
Even though my truck ran OK, it was obvious it was not drivable.
About that time, Powell and Hoeft arrived and in minutes my truck was loaded on the flatbed and ready to head down the road.
The Snays left to go hunting, but then another truck showed up. They stopped and asked if everything was OK.
Several in that vehicle had junior's tags. They were from Phoenix, but they sure looked familiar.
Then one of the young men said, "Aren't you Don Martin?"
I told him yes, and he said, "I took your Hunter Education class a couple of years ago."
They also remembered Chan, who had been a Hunter Education instructor in their class.
I told them that Powell and Hoeft were now members of the Kingman Hunter Education team and both are avid sportsmen.
Both Scott and Matt are also former Hunter Education Instructors.
The point here is simple.
A sportsman (me) needed help and a lot of fellow sportsmen responded. But they didn't help just because we know each other.
They helped because that is what sportsmen do and they all know we would do the same for them, anytime, should they need assistance.
Think about this the next time you decide to take a drive in the backcountry.
You should know that if you have an accident or need any help, whether you are a sportsman or not, help will be there if a sportsman comes by.
Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013
Article comment by:
Compassion and camaraderie are inherent with all humanity and higher life forms, including coyotes and other wildlife.
This was a close call. Take this happy feeling of gratitude and expand it to include all of life.
Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Article comment by:
This is just the type of camaraderie and lifestyle that I'm looking forward to when we finally get to move to Kingman. Living in LA County is getting harder on me all the time, and just being able to get out on a hunt or a 4x4 trip will be remarkable! I look forward to meeting the wonderful people of Kingman and sharing in these type of experiences!.