Gayne Takes 10: Richard Sanders

Gayne talks with the famous and not so famous from the outdoor world. It's ten minutes of their life they'll never get back.

Richard Sanders is owner of Tiffin Hill Marketing Communications, a company that represents Russell Moccasins, Texas Hunt Company, and many other outdoor companies.

Q: Hey Richard, understand you just got a knee replacement. Howd that go? You get some good drugs?

A: Knee is doing great after only 12 days. As for good drugs--not really. They told me they were going to be divine but when all was said and done and they ripped my jar of morphine away from me as I was checking out of the surgical ward after having been there less than 24 hours, the good drugs ceased. The good Doctor sent me home with some placebo called Vicodin--which is nothing more than Tylenol and a mild pain reliever. It didn't work. At all! Scotch, I found, in large quantities, was far more effective.

**Q: Rough estimate, how many feet a year do you touch for Russell Moccasins? **

A: 500 or so.

Q: You've fitted boots for such luminaries as President George Bush, President George W. Bush, and Steven Segal. Who had the nicest, cleanest feet of all your brushes with the feet of the famous?

A: They were all pristine to a fault. All nice people. No big egos, no demands. Just good, solid, warm-hearted Americans! I am blessed to have met them and to taken their orders. It was a true pleasure, rest assured.

Q: In addition to your marketing company you also own Walden Bork, a company that makes leather goods out of game hides. What's the most bizarre product request you've ever gotten?

A: A couple years ago a Cajun fellow from Louisiana called us. He had a custom-made white cedar garbage can holder in his hunting cabin in the bayous. He was wondering if we could apply some of his gator hornback to his garbage can lid. We applied hornback around all of the 3" edges of the white cedar lid and applied the tail section over the top, attaching the hide with antique brass furniture-maker's tacks. The customer told me, "You done hit the ball out of the park, son. That is a conversation piece to be sure. My friends all want to know, "Where did you git dat, ha?"

Q: You've hunted all over the world. What's your worst airport / flight experience?

A: Denver. Two years ago on our way to Safari Club International in Reno my wife and I left the Minneapolis airport on a 7:30 a.m. flight, connecting in Denver. We finally arrived in Reno, after being held hostage in Denver for 12 to 14 hours at 2:30 a.m., Reno time! We were supposed to have arrived about 11:30 a.m. Reno time. No explanation. No blizzard. No compensation. No expression of remorse. It was just Denver and the airline messing with 350 people.

Q: You've had some harrowing experiences while hunting. Tell us about the most dangerous time you've ever had on a hunt.

A: Bowhunting leopard from a grass ground blind in Zimbabwe some 15 years ago, a large Tom finally came to our bait late at night. It was legal to use a light there so we settled in for an all nighter. About 1:30 a.m. the leopard came to our bait, a warthog wired into a thornbush just eight yards away. As he began eating and crunching bones my PH tapped me with one of my arrows, signifying that it was time to get ready for the shot. I drew my bow and the PH touched the light switch. The leopard disappeared. Ten minutes later he was back. Again came the tap, I drew my bow, the light slowly came up and the leopard once again disappeared into the darkness. Not a word had been said between us. Ten or fifteen minutes later, Chui was back again, feasting on our warthog. The drill was repeated again, still without a word being said. And once again Chui disappeared, only to plant himself about 40" directly behind our heads. He sat there grumbling at us, spitting and snarling for nearly half an hour. We were in a ground blind made of dead grass! Hardly a defense against a leopard. The PH finally clicked his radio several times, signaling the trackers to come to the blind in the cruiser. The trackers pulled up tightly to our blind, brushing the blind with the tires. We looked at one another, signaled time, pulled the door off the blind, tossed my bow and the PH's .458 into the Cruiser's bed, the trackers pulled forward just slightly and we both dove into the back of the cruiser which was immediately under way. About half a mile down the road the PH tapped me and said, "You did well back there." What did I do? I didn't do anything! "Which is exactly what you should have done is nothing for if you had the leopard would have come straight into the blind and killed us both. Well done!

After 11 nights of leopard hunting with a bow, I decided that was enough.

Q: One last question: what did you do with your old knee?

A: I think the doctor put it in a jar of some strange clear fluid and sent it to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for their museum as proof positive that if you go chasing elk 34 times in a lifetime in the high steep country, that yes indeed, you will wear out your knees. Classic case of elk hunting addiction.