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Date:12/20/2014 4:17:07 AM
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Unforgetable Foul Ups
An old adage about a small town is as follows: "Nobody ever remembers the greatest thing you ever done, they just remember the dumbest thing you ever did." After one of the following fiascos I reminded Eldest Brother David that if he had gotten the deer, it wouldn't have made nearly as good a story as what had just happened.
The first memorable tale was one time in the '70's when we heard multiple shots from David's stand. He was hunting with a Winchester '94 then. He had levered his magazine empty at some deer and had hit nothing . . . except trees. When Pa, Wild Bill, and I approached David's position, we saw no dead deer, but we saw a few saplings that had been shot down. There was even a neat groove in the tree trunk in front of him where he had sent one of his bullets through. "Laying down a field of fire," is what I think Bill said, reminiscent of his time in Korea. Of course, I had never heard that term used to describe a deer hunt before. It's amazing how one man with a magazine of eight rounds can emulate a firefight.

Many years later, I, David, and my Ruthie's cousin Robin were set to return home after a morning's hunt. It was then that we saw a group of does show up on the old railroad right-of-way in Caldie's woods. Robin and I started bangin' away. David, however, took one shot with Pa's 30-06 and when he jacked the next round his cartridge clip dropped out of his rifle to the ground. I made a comment or two about his "premature ejection" but I couldn't say too much, as how Robin and I had failed to hit anything ouselves.

Years after that, David was sitting in his tower-stand under the powerlines when we did a deer drive in the public land south of La Ferme Sabloneuse. Unexpectedly, a bunch of does ran across his field of fire from the north. David took a bead on a doe and fired. The result was a burst of white powder and the deer ran on. What had happened was that David had shot the ceramic coupler that joined the two lengths of guidewire. David's disgust was overwhelming. It didn't help that my Punky collected the remains of the insulator and brought them to Granny's house as a souvenir.

Botched deer drives, blown shots, misfires, and other mishaps, this stuff seems to happen to us more than it does to other folks. Then again, perhaps it does happen to others only they don't relish talking about them like we Truckeys do. All I know is that when someone asks me, "Do you guys deerhunt?" I answer, "Yes . . . if you can call what we do 'deer hunting.'" -- Gary
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