Creating A Legacy
Allen Butler Inspires Future Generations
article by Dan Chason
I have met some true characters during my years enjoying the outdoors. Few can compare with a man from Winnsboro, Louisiana whom I first met in the early 90s. Allen Butler was one of the premiere fishermen in this area for many years. He and Ronnie Atkins were a notorious tandem and took many of my hard earned dollars in tournaments over the years. Allen isn’t hard to spot. You rarely see him without his signature suspenders, a big smile and a cigar sticking out of his mouth. During those years, we accused him of having the bass at Turkey Creek named. If there was a tournament where he could get his boat into his honey hole, it was time to call in the dogs and write him a check. I still believe he took those fish from the weigh stand and transported them back home, just so he could catch them again.
I remember one year in a draw tournament where a pilgrim who wasn’t “from around here” drew Allen in a tournament on the Ouachita River. The River was high. The river was high enough that you didn’t have to lock through at Columbia and the water was making a big bulge over the top of the spillway as the water’s current churned southward. In draw tournaments with a Pro-Am format, the Pro (in this case it was Allen) takes his boat, decides where to fish while the Amateur is along for the ride with no input. On this morning, Allen blasted off and headed south. As they approached the Columbia dam, Allen says he looked over and the closer they got, the lower his Amateur got in the passenger seat. You see, he didn’t know what Allen knew. There was ample water to go over the dam and Allen never let up on the throttle. As the boat went over the bulge of water over the dam, the boat skipped and scurried a bit going over the churning water while Allen just laughed. He says that his partner may not have been a religious man when they started that morning, but just south of the dam, Allen was convinced that his partner was now a believer. Again, Allen won the tournament as usual.
Then there was the time where Allen was going to teach me how to bow hunt. It was the mid-1990s, and I had bought a bow. Bow hunting was coming into its prime, and I didn’t want to miss the boat. Problem was, I thought that if I could hit a bow target consistently, a deer was toast. Allen called and invited me to his camp for a “doe killing.” It was the end of season and his club needed to take some more does for their DMAP program. We arrived with two camera men. Allen set up down the same lane I was on and was about 200 yards from me. I could watch him and visa versa. The first doe came out within 15 minutes. She was no more than 20 yards. I drew back and “thump”….right into the ground under her feet. She jumped back, snorted and never left. I retrieved another arrow from my quiver and this time, took a breath and squeezed my release. “Thump”…. right over her back. To make a long story short, I used all 4 arrows in my quiver and never drew blood. The doe had enough of that and ran off but in the direction of Allen. My camera man narrated the rest. He says the doe stopped out of my view and was about 40 yards from Allen. He says that the doe was blowing (I could hear that part) but would only stick her head out of a thicket and not expose herself. Allen drew back and nailed her. Right between the eyes. His comment was legendary ….”Snort at me now….” He then turned to the camera and smiled and said, “Guess she came out on the wrong bow hunter.” To make matters worse and for at least 5 years after that I would get a call from Allen. “Hey Dan. I need you to send me some money, ‘cuz I flattened another three wheeler tire on your broadheads you left stuck in the ground where you missed that deer.” It was classic Allen.
This year was no different, as I traveled back to hunt with Allen and Ross Cagle. Getting those two together is like hunting with the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. I have never laughed so much in my life. Then the trip this September alligator hunting was no less hilarious as we swatted mosquitoes, ate like kings and talked about fishing, family and hunting. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten Allen’s cooking. He is a gifted cook and loves to make up a big pot of jambalaya, fry some white perch and entertain his guests with style. His life now is surrounded by his grandchildren who like anyone around Allen, garner nicknames. The most notable is his grandson, Garrett who he has affectionately named “Big Foot.” If the size 16 shoe is an indicator, he will be a big man when he grows into those feet. Then there is little Matthew whom we call “Little Allen.” He loves his Grandpa and is a constant in the deer stand with Allen. I think Allen works harder to make sure Matthew kills a deer than he ever worked at fishing or finding a big deer for himself. Matthew is a good little hunter, and you can see that the apple didn’t fall far from that tree when they are together. Speaking of apples, his youngest, Paul is never far from the action and can be found right there with the older grandkids.
I see that same old Allen now when he talks about wife Judy and those grandchildren. That same twinkle, that same smile that he used to get from winning a tournament or catching a big bass is still there. His days are no longer tied up with long business hours or fighting the fight to make a living. He has retired from professional fishing and now just fishes for enjoyment. He has done well and is rewarded for his efforts with some of the best hunting and fishing in our area. He is a true outdoor legend and someone I am honored to call my friend. Even if he does enjoy ragging me about my bow shooting to this very day.
*This article is dedicated to our friend, Rocky Carter. We miss you, bud. Rest in Peace.