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A FRIENDLY DEER HUNT

Story ID:9376
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Gilboa New York USA
Year:1950
Person:Harter Brandow
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A FRIENDLY DEER HUNT

A FRIENDLY DEER HUNT

A FRIENDLY DEER HUNT
By Fred Wickert


My last deer hunt was for a half a day in November of 1978. It has been a long time. Deer hunting season is almost here again where I live and of course it has put me to thinking of some of my experiences with deer hunting in the past.

I was 16 years old and had my first deer hunting license. I had already been out a few times but some friends invited me to go with them that Saturday. It was all one family except for me. Raymond Brandow and his brother Richard, their father Harter, and Raymond’s son Donald who was a year or two ahead of me in school, and of course myself made up the group. I was the youngest of the lot.

The Brandows had discussed it between them and had determined to hunt in an area of a mountain known as Dog Hill. There are many areas due to population where only shot guns are allowed but Dog hill was in a part of the state where rifles were also allowed. I did not own a gun of my own and had to borrow a rifle from my father.

The rifle I was using was a WW I army rifle. It was made by Springfield and was a .30 - .40 Krag . I think the rest of the hunting party were all carrying .30 caliber carbines. Raymond Brandow asked me what kind of gun that was and when I told him he said he wanted a mountain between he and I when I fired that thing.

We all got in the car at daybreak and travelled to a place on top of Dog Hill where they turned off and drove off the road through the woods until we came to a clearing. We all got out of the car and they discussed plans. Harter Brandow was elderly and a little unsteady on his feet. It was probably his last hunt ever. His two sons, Raymond and Richard suggested that because of his infirmity he might better stay close to the car in that clearing while the rest of us went in the woods. As the rest of us entered the woods I heard Raymond and Richard saying that it was highly unlikely any deer was going to go through that clearing, but they hoped their father never thought that. They knew he couldn’t go far into the woods but they did want him to enjoy the hunt.

The plan was that Raymond and Richard go to an area ahead, get in position and then Donald and I could walk towards them through the woods making noise to cause deer to run toward where they were waiting and perhaps afford one of them a shot. That method of hunting is known as a drive. We had completed a couple of drives. By then the sun had climbed high in the sky. We were wondering whether or not we should try another drive or change our tactics somewhat.

While we were discussing it we heard a single rifle shot. It sounded like the shot had come from near where we had left Harter. Immediately Harter’s two sons feared for his safety and nothing would do but to get back to the clearing to make sure Harter was all right. We all hurried through the woods making lots of noise and from time to time Raymond and/or Richard would shout, “Dad?” “Dad?” As we entered the clearing we heard Harter say, “My goodness, what’s all the hollering about?” The old man was sitting comfortably on the front fender of the car.

Raymond explained that we heard a rifle shot that sounded like it came from the clearing and we wanted to make sure he was all right. He asked why shouldn’t he be all right? Raymond then asked him if he was the one who fired the shot? He assured us that he had. Raymond asked why did he shoot? Harter replied, “How else was I supposed to get that deer, throw my knife at him?”

With disbelief Richard then asked did he have a deer? Harter replied that he sure did, and since he was there would he mind gutting it for him? He pointed to the rear of the car and sure enough, there lay an eight point buck with one bullet hole right behind the ear.

When we left him there in the clearing we never thought he was going to see a deer, None of us did see one, but Harter, sitting quietly at the edge of the clearing saw a curious buck walk up behind the car. He brought his rifle to his shoulder, took careful aim and the buck dropped right there by the rear of the car. Harter got his deer but none of the rest of us ever got a deer that year.


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