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Story ID:1200
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Shenandoah National Park Virginia USA
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By Fred Wickert

We were excited! Deer season was soon to open and all was arranged. Lyle, Chuck and I had everything set to go. Lyle had obtained the permits. Chuck and Lyle had organized all of the camping equipment including all the cooking utensils, the food, water, coolers, tent, lanterns and so on. Each of us was to bring our own sleeping bag and our own weapon and ammunition.

I had a one-ton panel truck with which I was to haul all of the equipment and supplies. I had a load of Oak firewood for the campfire loaded into the truck. We had all arranged for three days pass at the same time. Chuck was bringing his station wagon for other transportation in case needed. Besides, my truck only had two seats.

We were all part of the Presidential Aircraft Security Police Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. We were going together to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia for three days of deer hunting. We had the fever for sure.

We all met at the Air Force Base in the early morning. Some last minute supplies were loaded and we were off. Chuck and Lyle lead the way and I followed in the truck. We made good time.

We arrived at the Shenandoah national forest and went to the section we had been instructed to go to set up our camp. Lyle had been there before and had a spot in mind, but when we arrived it was already occupied so we selected another side a couple of hundred yards away.
It was a pleasant sunny afternoon with mild temperatures, and we set up camp in good time. All was set and ready to go.

We had a couple of hours before dark and we were unfamiliar with the area. The season opened the next morning at daybreak. I suggested that we go scout out the area and pick our spots because we were going to move out in the morning while it was still dark. We went out into the woods together and we found plenty of fresh deer sign. Each of us chose a spot where we wished to be in the morning and we returned to camp just before dark. When we returned we found a notice attached to our tent that the park ranger had left. It informed us of the rules of the park and that the ranger had inspected our set up and found it to be satisfactory.

Lyle had accepted the role as camp cook and proceeded to start a fire with our help. As we sat around the fire talking, Lyle cooked our supper and we ate the great tasting meal. There is just something about a meal cooked in the open air over a campfire that makes it really special and that meal was no exception.

Later, after the fire died down to coals, we had a last cup of coffee and retired to the tent. In the tent, we played match stick poker for a couple of hours and then shut off the lantern and went to sleep.

Early in the morning we got up. Lyle started a fire and quickly cooked breakfast. We left the dish washing and agreed to meet back at camp for lunch at noon and went on our way.

I had sought a position on a ridge where I could take advantage of thermal air currents and a good view of three different deer trails on the ridge. I waited as the sun came up with great anticipation, trying to keep very still and not to miss a sound or any movement at all. Late in the morning I heard a loud crashing noise coming through the woods. Looking in the direction of the sound I saw a young good-looking man with wavy blonde hair and no hat, half running through the woods. He was jumping high in the air to go over fallen tree limbs and rocks. He was carrying an old German World War II army rifle. If there had been a deer within a mile, the noise he was making surely frightened it away.

I decided that I might as well head back to camp; being sure no deer were within miles of me now. When I arrived at camp, Lyle was already there washing the mornings dishes and cookware. Lyle and I talked for a little while and then we built a new fire so he could begin lunch. Neither of us had seen any deer.

I felt the call of Mother Nature, so I took a roll of toilet paper and my rifle and walked about a hundred yards away from camp. I found a clearing with a half dozen tree stumps. One of them looked handy, so I leaned my rifle against a nearby tree, dropped my pants and positioned myself with one cheek sitting on the stump and the other hanging over.

While in the middle of performing my business, I heard a sound in the leaves on the ground. I looked in the direction the sound came from and beheld a group of four deer. There was a buck and three does. I had a very clear shot and could have easily picked off the buck. I sat there looking at them and they stood there for a couple of minutes looking at me. I was helpless to do anything in my predicament, as my rifle was a good ten feet away and out of my reach. There was nothing I could do. When I completed my business and began using the paper, they moved on through the brush and out of sight.

A minute or two after they left, I heard a shot fired from our camp area. I hurried back to camp and found Lyle in a state of anger mumbling to him self. Hearing the rifle shot, I guessed the deer I had seen had come his way and he had gotten a shot at them. He was not so lucky. He had seen a large fox and picked up his rifle to take a shot at it. The round was a dud and didn’t go off. Fearing that all of his ammunition might be defective, he levered the next round in the chamber and fired. That one went off but by that time the fox was gone. He was afraid that if he had a chance at a deer he would not have gotten the deer because of a dead round and he was very unhappy about it.

Chuck showed up, and we each related our stories. Chuck had seen nothing except the young blonde man. Chuck said he expected any moment to hear the man shout “Geronimo,” the way he was charging through the woods.

After lunch, and cleaning up the campsite we each went our way until dark, and then returned to camp. We spent a pleasant evening and turned in for the night. The next morning, Lyle cooked breakfast and we ate our fill. Lyle had cooked way to many home fries and they had been so good, that I offered to clean them up if no one else wanted them. Lyle began laughing at me for eating so many potatoes.

We broke camp and put everything away. We loaded it all into the truck and were ready to go. At that point, I suddenly became very sick. Everything on my stomach came up. When I finished heaving, I felt very dizzy so I asked Lyle to drive my truck. After we had driven for about an hour, we stopped for coffee, and then I drove my truck the rest of the way.

When we returned to duty, the tale was told to all the other men. All had a good time at my expense over the Mother Nature incident. Soon after our return to duty, another friend, Leroy, went home on leave to Wisconsin to do some deer hunting. A post card from him arrived in my mailbox a few days later. The note on the card said, “When I saw this card I thought of you.” Pictured on the card was a deer hunter with his pants down, in a squatting position. He was looking at a buck, which was looking at him. He was trying without success to reach his rifle, which was leaning against a tree.

I have that picture in my computer but cannot post it due to copyright infringement.