Re-telling of the naked hunter...and other stories
Blog Posted:1/26/2014 3:36:00 PM
Okay, so Debbie asked me to repost the situation my brother and I got into back in December, and maybe some other stories to give a little inspiration. If there's one thing that every hunter will never be short on, it's hunting tales...;)
This is the short version.
So here's what happened ... we were deer hunting during an ice storm earlier this winter. (If you are not comfortable with this sort of thing, I would suggest not reading any further) I had shot a buck about 20 minutes before dark, but he was moving, and I missed his heart. It bothers me to make a bad shot like that, but it happens. Anyway, we were forced to track him in the storm. If we'd have left him until morning, the coyotes would have eaten him. A blood trail is easy to follow in snow or sleet, and we tracked for maybe two miles before we found him. The area, which I was not very familiar with, was full of dips and hollows, so it was hard work. My brother, who sweats like a hog, was soaking wet. That's where it got dangerous. Our backtrail was covered in sleet so we couldn't follow it out, and Micah was turned around. Neither one of us knew which way to go. We walked in circles for a while before I knew we had to do something. Micah was shivering and hypothermia was setting in. He was in bad shape. We tucked into a hollow out of the wind, and I started a fire with some stuffing out of my hunting jacket, along with any dry twigs I could find ... there's always some, even in the rain or sleet.
Looking back on it, here's where it gets funny. It wouldn't do any good to try and warm yourself by a small fire in wet clothes when you are already in the first and second stages of hypothermia, so I told him to get naked and do push-ups ... nothing raises your core body temperature like push-ups. He did. While he went from push-ups to running in place, I dried his clothes over the fire. He had his boots on, just not his socks, and every time he stopped for a break, he would put my jacket on. It took about 30 minutes or so to dry his clothes out. We still didn't know where to go, however, and were both starting to think it was going to be a long night. In a lot of cases you could call a friend to come fire shots and follow the sound out, but we had no service at all. We were roasting the deer's heart over the fire to get some food in us when it hit me. The storm was blowing in from the northwest. It had been at our backs coming in, so all we needed to do was keep it in our face and eventually we'd come out more or less in the right area. It worked. So, in the end, other than a shot to our pride, we were just fine. It just goes to show, if you find yourself in a touchy situation, just keep your head. You can't fight nature, you gotta dance with it.
So here's some other situations I've been in that were not exactly fun at the time. I was once surrounded by a pack of coyotes while walking through a sage grass field. It was dark and I could hear them all around me, but I couldn't see them. I won't lie ... it was FREAKY. It was like they were herding me towards the tree-line. I had my revolver, but only the six rounds that it holds, so I couldn't just start firing shots in the dark and hope they would leave. I also couldn't run because they would have chased me down for sure. So I just walked along with my heart pounding. I never did get eaten that night, and made it back to my truck. I've never been so happy to the old Toyota.
Let's see ... I once got lost in the hills of Nebraska while turkey hunting. That was a trip. There are so many draws and canyons and hills that I flat got turned around. By the time I made it back to the cabin, I was dehydrated and Micah had about worried himself to death, but he hadn't known where to look, as I had took off walking that morning with no particular place in mind. It's something I do every time I go. The next time, however, I brought more water...;)
I had a climbing stand break on me once while I was climbing up the tree. I was 20 or 25 feet up probably ...and it just snapped. I fell maybe ten feet before I got my wits back and hugged the tree. I have a gnarly scar down my left forearm where it caught the stub of a little branch on the way down ... ripped it right open. The scar is a reminder for me ... always check your equipment. Micah came running because he heard me fall. I didn't know he could move that fast anymore. Heck, he thought I was dead. He said, "Let's go home."
I said, "Screw that. I didn't come out here to get cut up for nothin'. Let's hunt." And we did.
Now, the Game and Fish Commision tells us there are no panthers in this area, but that's bull. I've came across two ... a black one and a tan one. We saw the tan one while deer hunting. We were walking across a big, dried up creek bed and heard a group of deer crashing through the woods. We thought WE had sppoked them, but we were wrong. Turns out, they were being chased by a panther ... or a mountain lion ... or whatever that thing was. At first, it looked like a short deer running behind them, but then we saw it's tail...and the way it was running...Yikes. We were fairly frozen in place for a few moments. It's a weird feeling when you realize you are not at the top of the food chain anymore. I watched the black one drink from a pond while I was up in a tree. He was close enough that my heart was ..THUMP, THUMP, THUMP!!!
Sometimes you come across an area of the woods that feel strange...haunted almost. There's one area in particular that comes to mind for me. It's near a place called Robinwood, where people say they see Civil War soldiers ... sometimes on horseback, sometimes just standing there. I didn't know about this until after my experience. I had gone on a three day camping trip alone. I packed a 22 rifle, a sleeping bag, a bottle of whiskey, a few emergency cans of food and water ... just in case I couldn't find my own, and that's about it. I made my own shelter ... just a raised platform and a lean-to roof. Oh, by the way, I had smashed and broke my thumb in my tailgate right before busting off into the woods...ha...that was a real treat. Stupid. Anyway, I had the strangest feelings all night. It felt like people were walking around me, but I never saw anything. It got more intense the next night until I thought I would go crazy. I've never felt that way in the woods before or since. I was on edge, jumpy, pointing my rifle into the dark(like THAT was gonna help), AH! I get the chills a little just thinking about it. There was something out there. I left the next day without staying a third night...haha. I still go back there sometimes, but I don't sleep in that area ... though, I might ... I'm still a little curious about what resides there ... and why.
Anyhow, I don't know if any of that will inspire anything , but it's just a few tales. I'm always making more...had a fun one yesterday involving two coyote hunters, a wounded animal call (which I DO NOT approve of), and my ability to scream like a panther and scare the crap out of two coyote hunters...haha, but that's for another time.