Big Game Hunters of Crawfordsvilleby Dan Susie '68 • December 17, 2009
Tom Howard ’68 was a running back for the Little Giants.
He was also an avid hunter.
Tom lived off campus, had a beautiful Brittney Spaniel hunting dog, and had enough guns to outfit a platoon from the Phi Delt House, which was his living unit.
Unfortunately, there was not too much to hunt in and around suburban Crawfordsville. But then, in the fall of 1966, Tom discovered the Crawfordsville City Dump.
The Crawfordsville City Dump had live targets: rats. So, Tom and his dog soon began making regular trips to the City Dump, sending an untold number of hungry rats to meet their maker.
This live game hunting caught on quickly; first with Tom’s fraternity brothers, Randy Slickers, Jim Powers, John Leahy, Russ Dukes, the author, and others, and then with like-minded big-game hunters from all across campus.
Soon the City Dump was awash with big-time game hunters, and rats came close to becoming an endangered species in Montgomery County.
You could tell when the big-time game hunters returned to their living units—they smelled like smoke from all the burning trash.
But alas, all good things must come to an end.
The Crawfordsville Police Department, ever on the alert to stamp out crime in Montgomery County and reportedly having soft spots in their hearts for rats in general, decided that 25 armed college students prowling the City Dump at night might possibly create a safety hazard.
Dean Norman Moore was alerted, and the hunting stopped immediately.
The Gentleman’s Rule, it seems, applied to rats.
In 1966, the Vietnam War was escalating.
Jim Powers accurately recalls that all of those classmates who went directly into the military upon graduation in 1968, as Jim did, earned their sharpshooters’ badges in basic training based on their substantial expertise with firearms honed at the Crawfordsville City Dump.
From the “Comment” line following Dan’s story: I remember taping a flashlight to the side of the barrel of a .22 rifle. We would move in under cover of darkness to about 30 feet away, switch on the flashlights, and there would be six or seven guns firing away at the same time. I’m not sure any of us who were shooting .22s ever killed a single rat!—Chuck Kraft ’68
Last year while cleaning out a closet I came across my .22 rifle with a flashlight still taped to it!—Dan Susie