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My Dad
Paul "Buzz" Hopkins




My dad wasn't a big man in size, But he sure did thing in a big way.

I regret many things I have done in my life but the thing I regret the most is disappointing him. That my friend was a Big mistake.

He wasn't much of a family man, I couldn't find many pictures of him with us so I got him when he was most content. In the wild. He was "The big white Hunter"
When he planed a vacation is was an outdoor adventure that included taking a prize.

The picture above was taken on a Hunting trip to Alaska, he is wrting to my mom.
He was always active, very seldom did you see him relaxing so I thought it would be nice to remember him this way.


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A little bit of history, He worked on the rail road when he was young, then in his moms pet shop. Also Served in the Coast Guard.
He married Florence Miglorie (my mom) in --- They had thee kids, Jill, Myself and Kelly. At that time I believe he was working at a service station, then he was a fireman, then somehow he bought a service station. That didn't pan out so we moved to San Jose and he drove a truck for Meadow Gold Dairy Products. Here he is in his old army jacket. He would ware this when he got a chance to go hunting and fishing...
It was when he was most happy. 
This was the look I always got from him, like...what are you doing now?




 

Here is a cool shot of him standing in front of his 1908 Reo.
I think this was his first real nice collectors automobile. 

This had to be taken in the sixtys. I remember a time when I was about 5 years old he took me on a day trip in this car. (just me, not my stupid sisters)  I had a great time.

People were pointing and smiling. It was a great day.

 

In the seventys his hobbie was racing Volkswagens. He had a light blue bug he called ladybug. I remember he would come home from the track with a trophy every couple weeks. They would go up on the mantle.

One day the guy he was suppose to race had engine trouble and couldn't race. My mom had a red convertible Volkswagen and was at the track. He told her to register her car and they would race. Of course it was a joke because her car was stock but he wanted to run his bug. Well he blew the engine and my mom won! The trophy she got was taller than any of his.

So he continued to race until he got a trophy that was bigger than hers and then quit and never raced again.

Then he decided to go into Real Estate in 1974. He had a passion for hunting and thats how he made his money, He went out every morning hunting for people who wanted to sell there house. He didn't care to find houses for clients, he got listings and let others sell them for him. It worked extremely well for him. In 1984 he got his brokers license and made his first million.


He got the house of his dreams. It was an elegant three-story Victorian mansion built in 1898 with widows peak and all. Counting the full basement (that was turned into a speak easy durring prohibition) and the attic (that held his gun collection and a pool table) It had 4 floors and a widows peak. This was perfect for my dad, While he restored the home he added secret passages ways. He was a big time antique collector, Guns, Coins, Cars, and all types of antique furniture. I would need a whole page to show you all the cars. Bently, Merecdes, Jaguar, to name a few. And guns? forget about it, he had over a thousand. Not automatic assualt weapons but old Colts and Winchesters. A few modern Hunting rifles he used for big game hunting. I swear the place was like a museum. In 1987 The Mercury news had a full page artical about the house. Actually I have it. Thats where I got this picture.I scanned it and touched it up the best I could.



He hunted in California for Mule deer and wild bore. I went on a couple trips with him when I was young. I think I was 12 or 13
when i got my deer. It was a fork mule deer. I remember they stuck my head in the carcuss after I gutted it. said it was tradition.


Then he took several hunting trips to Alaska. Here is a shot of him fishing for samon while he was up there. He wasn't much of a fisherman. He did it but he prefered to hunt.


The game he took there was Kodiak Brown Bear, Black Bear, Doll Ram, Mountain Goat, Moose and
Caribou. I am sure there was more but thats what I recall. Its kind hard not to remember them, You see when a hunter gets a trophy like that he takes it to a taxidermist and has the animals bust mounted. Then proudly displays them on the wall. We had then in every room of the house. I have pictures of a couple of them I posted below.






                    Doll Ram                                         Worlds Record Caribou                                     Mountian Goat

But when he did go fishing he did it right. Here he is in Hawaii. Thats a  Marlin ... A big one. we had fishsticks for days.




Like I said, He did things in a big way. His car collection of antique cars included a Bentley, Mercedes, and a MG. all late 40's early 50's with the big flared fenders and all convertibles. All in pristine condition. He had several other cars that he would display in car shows as well but those were my favorites. Well, I liked the mustangs too.
His coin and bottle collection was extensive however his collection of antique fire arms was the largest. I would say when he died he had over 3000 pieces. Not to mention modern day hunting rifles. He was very private about his collections and would not allow any pictures taken so unfortunately I have nothing to show you. I wanted his current wife to donate his colt collection to a museum but that never happened.


However I do have some pictures of his trophy hunts. Be aware these are pictures of animals killed in the wild so if that bothers you maybe you should stop here.




I will save the best for last,

First of all here is a picture of him and his world record size Caribou.

This was taken in Alaska, he went for two weeks I think. I remember he told me that they took a helecopter out to the area that the heard was in and spotted them from the air.

Then they dropped him off they made camp and went after the heard the next day on foot. He spotted the big bull from the air the previous day and didnt want any other one. It took a while but he got him.

He was asked to do an interview for a hunting magizne but he turned them down. I guess he felt it was his accomplishment and the hell with them.



                                                                            He never liked reporters.

The Alaskan Mountain goat.

I thought it was dumb to kill a goat but after I talked to him I understood why he wanted it for his collection. You see the hunt for a mountain goat is the most difficult hunts you can ever make The animal is not that dangerous its the terrain. They live in the mountains. To get to the mountains you need to cross a lot of ice.

Glaciers that are several years old are very unpredictable. They are not solid, they have streams of water running through them. This melts the ice from the inside out and forms creators in the shape of a pyramid under the ice. So you could be walking along what seems to be a perfectly solid earth and it just gives way.

Wouldn't you know that's exactly what happened to him. He was crossing one about a mile wide and all of the sudden about 30 yards to his right the ground started to move. it was pulling him into it. He turned and ran the opposite direction but he wasn't going anywhere fact of the matter is he was losing ground and about to be sucked into the hole until a huge boulder about the size of a house went in the hole and plugged it up. The man got his goat.

The Legend of Broken Tooth,

In the seventys there was a large Kodiak brown bear in Alaska that was terrorizing the natives. My dad had read about this bear. He followed storys about hunters that went after the bear only to be killed by it. There were eleven men, hunters, guides and one photographer that fell victim to this single bear. After examine the carcases of the dead men they realized the reason this bear was a killer. The bear had a broken tooth and had grown a custom to pain. When a hunter shot it, If the shot wasn't fatal it just pissed him off. Then the hunt turned around. It turns out the bear would duck for cover, sneak around behind, attack and kill the hunter. The natives call the great bear "Broken Tooth"

It took my dad a couple years to save up the money and to find a guide who was willing to go after the bear.
He finally did.


There is a recorded story of the hunt in his journals however his second wife will not release them to us. From what I remember he was armed with a Bolt action Browning 300 mag. His guide had a shotgun with solid shells for protection. The terrain was of small mounds of frozen earth about six feet tall and 50 yards long. Several of them creating natural hiding places. I believe they call it The Tundra. He was guided to the general location of the bear, Spotted him about 150 yards away took a shot, hit the bear. The bear shook his coat like it was wet and looked in his direction. The guide ran. Then the bear disappeared into one of the small valleys. Dad knew the bears strategies so he did the same thing. As he circled he spotted the bear again. He shot it again, the bear didn't seem to be hurt. It came at him. He thought since the first couple shots to the center of the bear didn't seem to affect him he would shoot his limbs and break the bones to slow him down. After all, he didn't want to be number thirteen. As they circled he took his shots. First the powerful forearms, then the rear legs, Believe it or not the bear kept circling to get a chance to attack. He found it, from about thirty yards away the bear surprised my dad and lunged at him. He took a heart shot, then ran a few yards and took another. The bear dropped face down in a small valley not 10 yards away. As he watched the bear from the top of the small hill for half an hour the bear didn't move. He had two shots left out of the twelve cartridges he carried and was not in any hurry. Finally he decided to get a closer look. He stepped down into the small valley towards the bear. All at once the bear raised from the ground and lunged bearing his teeth and claws. dad stepped back and shot the bear again almost point blank. The bear went down again, this time his head was in a puddle of melted snow and dad knew he had stopped breathing. He did it. The bear was dead. Brokentooth was no more.





The locals were extremely pleased, there was a festival in his honor. They presented the great hunter with several gifts, relatives of the people of whom the bear killed gave him there hand carved mementos. The celebration went on for two days.
The chief gave him his daughter for the night. He was their hero... yea not the kind of guy you want to disappoint.



Paul Allen Hopkins
1934 to 1991