Thursday, November 03, 2005

Lost hunter story, not genealogy

OK, inquiring minds want to know so here goes.

I LOVE to Deer Hunt, have since I was sixteen, about a hundred years ago. Dad and Uncles and old time neighbors that are now long gone got me hooked when I was a little kid and other than genealogy it is my only passion, err sort of.

Where I live now in the foothills of the Adirondacks is EXCELLENT deer country. Lots of good feeding areas, and PLENTY of cover for them. If you are a hunter you will start to get a warm fuzzy feeling. If you are not I suggest you go to some other website, but only temporarily!

So it was late afternoon, the second weekday after the time change. Let's see, is it spring forward and fall back, or what? So the clocks are right with the powers that be, and I have just a little window of time to go down in back of my house and find an elusive monster.

I live on an old country road that is surrounded within two miles by two other country roads and a main highway. Been walking the property for a LONG time now and especially just before deer season got out and beat the bushes to see where the action would be.

So, I went down in back almost to the highway and my gosh it got dark quick. It was raining and there was no sunset and after dark there was no moon. Now I have a real good sense of direction in the woods but after dark with no light, no compass, and no good common sense by this point, I headed for home. It was easy, the highway was behind me and all I had to do was cross a couple of cricks (as they call them in these hyar parts) and then head up the hill to my house.

Hah! Every hill I went up seemed to come back down again to another little stream. Lo and behold, I could see the highway again after about an hour. How the heck could I have gotten turned around like that? After a while I thought, well Dummie, there are only two cricks between your starting spot and the old homestead, so just keep the water on your left and walk uphill, what are you stupid?

Didn't work. Now it got dark. I mean DARK, DARK, DARK! With the rain, thank heavens it was a warm rain, and the fact that I had two light wool jackets on, I was relatively comfortable, but would get winded and had to stop to rest on a log or a big rock occasionally.

Now I started to get smacked with branches and tree limbs, stepped in some kind of a rotten tree hole that I think would have kept going until I met Alice or the Mad Hatter if I had not grabbed on to a branch within panic reach. Now mind you I can not see a THING! There were a lot of new fallen trees now because we had a twelve inch snow last week when the leaves were still on and many of them came down. I felt around and found a good stout walking stick that would handle my couple of extra pounds. Sit down again a while, figure it out and take a rest, then find the next stream and head UP the hill. NOT.

I could hear the water on my left and started again up the hill. What the heck? The hill came back down again to another little stream. It was so dark that you could not duck the branches because you could not see them even when they were IN you eyes, oh and if you were clearing stuff out of your eyes you would trip over a log. Do you have ANY idea what a partridge sounds like when going off from the ground about three feet from you in fright flight? Sit down, calm down, I know I will break out into my lower pasture field any minute. NOT.

Well I could swallow my pride and ask for help. We all know that one of the International Distress Calls is to shoot three times. Should I do it? Will I feel like a jerk if I am right next to one of my neighbors? What the heck, they are all hunters too and will help me find my way back. So I fired three shots, with well spaced timing, waited a little while and hollered “HALLOOO”... Didn't hear a thing.

Waited about five minutes and fired my trusty side arm again. BANG! One two three, BANG! One two three, BANG! Wait a couple of minutes. “HALLOOOOOO”. Nada. Hey jerky boy, it's raining, duh. No body is sitting outside on the veranda sipping mint juleps. They are all inside watching the tele. Better not fire any more rounds. I might run across that HUGE sow bear with two cubs that is in the neighborhood. Can't see a damn thing!

Take inventory. One tiny little candy bar that I scalped out of the trick or treat candy dish last night, and one Natures Valley cinnamon crisp bar. Au oh, better think about making a shelter and camping out.

Can't do that, my dogs are home alone, wife went to Syracuse for a couple of days. Hey, I've got a cell phone in my pocket. I know it never works up in this area but let's check it anyway. Right, “NO SIGNAL”, (BUT), it has a light on the screen and this model has a tiny little LED flashlight on it so you can find the keyhole, or whatever. SAFE!!!


I went back to a stream to take a sip of water and now with this little light I could see that the darn stream was running UPHILL, or so it seemed from the way I thought it was going. I was so turned around I had been going in circles over and over and the stream that I thought would lead me home was taking me back down to the swamp by the highway. So now I got REAL level headed and said to myself, “self, go upstream”.

ALL of these streams in this chunk of land eventually do cross my own road, and this time it worked. I did finally see some lights uphill, followed them and came out on my road about a half mile from where I thought I was. I chuckled to myself. The three shots in the forest only works in the movies.

Dogs were relieved to see me, in more ways than one. We all had something to eat, and I consumed about a half gallon of water, and took off my totally soaked clothes. Everything was soaked from my hat to my socks, and all parts in between. I was muddy all over, face was scratched, leg hurts, not unusual anyway, but more so now, had two sprained fingers on my left hand where I had tried to stop a slide down a muddy cliff, and I was PO'd that it had happened, but glad to be home. All of this happened in three hours.

Hey, who needs a flashlight or a compass. I'm only down behind the house.

2 comments: said...

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Susan said...

Hello, I just found your blog and enjoyed the lost hunter story which made me wonder if you live near us. We have had the same problem of being lost on our own property....a humbling experience.

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