By his own admission, Tim Davis is an old married sorta-hippie with a ZZ Top beard who draws cartoons about coyote hunting while working as a mechanic in a Christian-based community in inner-city Chicago that some people give the side-eye to because it’s not hooked up with mainstream religion.
Got all that? Good. Maybe read it again, to be sure. Davis laughs a little when describing what he does and where he lives to people who want to know. He’s heard all the responses, some of them polite and some not so much. He doesn’t mind. He gets it. But his faith is strong and deep, and whatever comes his way is met with open eyes and an open heart.
“Chicago is where the Lord has me right now,” Davis said. “I sometimes don’t understand why I’m here, but this is where the Lord put me and where I am, and that’s good right now.”
Which do you want to know about first? Davis? His cartoons? The community he lives in? How a predator hunter in Chicago ever gets to do any hunting? Yes, it’s all somewhat interesting. Here’s another nugget: his wife is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the University of Alabama. Davis knows about “Roll Tide” and all that. And he’s traveled throughout the country hunting coyotes, getting material for his illustrations and gaining new experiences.
Davis moved from Colorado to Chicago when he was 16 and joined the community where he still resides. The organization owns rural property in Illinois and some other states, which is where Davis got his first taste of hunting, fishing and outdoors fun. He immediately took to it, enjoying the solitude and ability to watch, learn, study and do new things.
“The pastors who came here when I was first here looked like the Duck Dynasty guys – long hair and beards who loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing,” Davis said. “They taught me how to do all kinds of things. In the 1990s having a hunting gun was almost impossible in Chicago, and I leaned toward fishing. Then I got into primitive bows and arrows, and that got me into hunting. From deer hunting I got into predator hunting, bought a bolt-action rifle and shotgun, could visit the property our church owned in west-central Illinois. It was like being a million miles away from Chicago.”
When he wasn’t out and about, Davis worked on vehicles and became an ASE-certified mechanic. He supervises a fleet of about 60 vehicles, keeping them in running condition. He also continued drawing cartoons and illustrations, something Davis said he’s done all his life. Deer hunting was interesting, he said, but the first time he went coyote hunting he got hooked. Interaction with something that comes to you? Fascinating and fun. But then his eyes were opened.
“When I got into coyote hunting, I watched a lot Randy Anderson videos and read everything I could,” he said. “I was trying to learn everything. But I was naïve enough to not realize those videos were edited. I thought every sit I made, I’d have coyotes coming to me! I was wondering if I was doing something wrong or just a bad hunter or something. There’s a scripture verse that says a prophet is not welcome in his own town, and I think maybe a coyote hunter is not welcome in his own state. It’s funny now, but it I was in that mindset. It took me about six years to get my first coyote.”
Coyote hunting is an inspiration for his illustrations, which are published in Predator Xtreme magazine and on Moultrie Mobile’s social media channels. Former Predator Xtreme editor Mark Olis, who now is with Moultrie Mobile, first published Davis’s illustrations. They were a hit, and still are found on its pages. Davis also has published a book of his outdoors cartoons, and occasionally writes about his hunts. Davis said his wife, who is an English major, “is my editor, editor filter, censor, sounding board, all of the above.”
Davis’s cartoons typically are one- or two-panel illustrations that tell a joke or get a point across. After Olis asked for six cartoons to put in the magazine, Davis had to do two things: come up with at least six cartoons that would be accepted, and learn even more about crafting succinct messages to go with the drawings. He looked at all kinds of cartoons and illustrations, such as the legendary one-panel zingers in The New Yorker. Inspiration may come hearing a tale spun by another hunter or during a hunt — successful or not.
“One thing that’s been really rewarding is I’ll draw a cartoon and someone will get the magazine, and they realize that was a hunt we were on,” he said. “The cartoons have grown in the coyote hunting community and are super unique. If someone asks me to go whitetail hunting or coyote hunting, I’m going to say let’s get after the coyotes. No disrespect to the deer hunters out there, but there’s a lot of them and good luck to them. I just love coyote hunting and will get after them.”
You’re still thinking about the community Davis lives in, right? That’s fine. He understands. He said it was formed during the 1970s by “new Christians who wouldn’t fit into a traditional church for whatever reason. Maybe they were getting out of prison or coming off drugs, or something else was going on in their life. You take a lot of addled-brained hippies coming to Jesus, there’s going to be mistakes made, and there were. There are people who have been here for years, and others who left or moved out without good things to say. That’s just part of life, right? We’re kind of the land of misfit toys. I’ve been a volunteer here for 36 years. I don’t get a paycheck but we live here, and work here, and support each other and the community. Several businesses support the community, as do donations.”
What else? Beard, church, coyote hunter, unique cartoonist … Davis also has published a book of his cartoons — “Scattered Thoughts”. He writes when possible. Hunts when possible, too. He enjoys helping others. In short, he’s sliding along through life trying to be the best he can be while enjoying the experiences that come his way.
“I’d have to say one of the biggest blessings is I’ve been able to meet people from all over the country I’d never have had the chance to meet,” he said. “Every day is a new day.”
About the author: Alan Clemons is a professional outdoor writer whose work has appeared in countless newspaper columns and magazine articles for more than three decades.
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