i A Time and a Place...: A Family Adventure...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Family Adventure...

I was writing in my Journal, "Jim's Journal," and remembered this little adventure and thought someone might get a kick out of reading it. This happened in about 1959 or so in Redding, California. Buddy is my brother and Clarence is my brother-in-law.


Buddy owned a 1937 Chrysler coupe that had been built into a pickup. One day, the day after deer season closed, Buddy, Clarence and I drove across the Shasta Dam and turned off onto a dirt road that went up a ridge. It was a pretty good road and we had no trouble driving on it with the Chrysler. We had gone there to hunt silver grey squirrels. Buddy had a gun of some kind, I think, and Clarence had a 410 shotgun and I had a 22 automatic rifle.
I was riding in the back of the pickup and Bud was driving. Clarence was sitting on the passenger side. We had seen a couple of squirrels but hadn’t gotten close enough to take a shot at one.
Just then a huge buck deer jumped up from the left side of the road and ran down the road a short ways and stopped and looked back at us. Clarence yelled for me to shoot it and Buddy agreed so I got off a shot but the deer jumped for the right side of the road. I snapped two more shots off at him and we stopped the car and ran up to where he had gone over the side. We heard a crash, like something crashing through the brush down the hill aways.
The hill was really steep and the shale rock made it very slippery but we headed down anyhow, slipping and sliding as we went. About fifty yards we found the deer. I had hit him in the neck, just below his head and he only lived a few seconds, just long enough to crash through the weeds.
There was a small dam of a sort, probably made by water running off the hill and getting stuck between Manzanita trees. (They look more like bushes than trees. They look a lot like small, Mesquite trees of Texas.) The buck had landed just below one of these dams and we could see it would be impossible to get him up the hill, even with all three of us hauling on him.
He was a big Mule Deer, in rut, and weighing at least a hundred and twenty of thirty pounds. His neck was swollen up very big because of him rutting. (Ready for a fight with another buck for the privilege of having sex with a cute little doe around here somewhere.)
Then we remembered there was another road on down the hill about a couple of hundred yards. The big problem was, deer hunting easeon had closed the day before and we had to be very careful to not get caught by a forest Ranger or game warden.
We decided to go back home nad use Buddy’s car to come back and get the deer. We couldn’t skin or gut him here because we would be too obvious. So we did that.
After dark, we drove back and, after looking for a while, found the deer. We had a heck of a time getting him down the hill. Below the little dam he had fallen through was another one just like it. It was as if this had been planned just to make us work hard.
We dragged him over to the little dam and tipped him up and let him go. It was very dark and we couldn’t see it was a long way down over the last dam. We thought he would never hit the ground but he finally did. It was lucky for him he was dead. Otherwise the last fall would have killed him anyway!
To make a long story shorter, we finally got that deer into the trunk of my brother’s car and got back across the dam without getting caught. We took the deer to Buddy’s house and strung him up on a rafter in the garage and gutted and skinned him.
My wife, Maggie, Bud’s wife, Mary Ann and Clarences wife, (my sister) Mickey cooked up a platter of back strap that night and it sure was good, but, boy was it gamey! It made us pretty gassy and, when one of us cut one, we’d all have to go outside to get some air! It was terrible! But, it was worth it.



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