A Hunting Story

With so many knives going to hunters, I thought I’d share a story about my first and only hunt which was quite interesting. A buddy of mine, Monte Turner, was a Missoula radio host. One day after listening to him mention something on the air about getting some extra tags for an overpopulated area, I called and got some too and a few days later we were off to do my first field test. We had 10 tags between us and 24 hours in which to hunt. I called a friend of a friend’s friend to get some insight of the unfamiliar area and found out he had 10,000 acres in the correct zone. (Remember this is Montana, 10,000 acres there is actually just a pretty good size ranch.) We met the guy and he led us to the area, dodging herds of deer on the way and seeing no other hunters!!! WOW!!!

Well, we got to it and Monte got 2 deer on his first shot! Honest!!! One got up so we had to split up to find it and while he was over the hill I heard some shots so I assumed that he had found it. When we later met up he said that the shots were fired by two little old ladies in a beat-up old car. . Each had a deer and he helped the ladies load the deer into the trunk. Which brings us to a story within a story.

These little grandmothers waited each year since forever for their husbands to leave on the “big hunt” to camp way out from the masses of other hunters, only to return days later tired, cold, dirty, and hungry, yet only occasionally successful. Each year these ladies then headed to this area, got a deer a piece by hunting off the road and had them hanging in the barn when their husbands returned, And best of all is they would never tell the husbands where they got the deer. I LOVE IT!!! Those two little ladies are probably still up there this year. Who really is the smarter sex?

Well back to the main story, I found out about “buck fever” after missing my first two deer. (Remember, this was my first hunt.) Monte asked if I had remembered to aim? Relax-Aim-Shoot. Well the next shot was across a small ravine and in front of me, at a perfect level was a forked branch! Too good to be true, the doe stood broadside to me, the only thing missing was a birthmark shaped like a bull’s-eye over the heart. I put the rifle in the fork, took a deep breath, aimed carefully and pulled the trigger. As the 30-06 recoiled I realized ‘buck fever” was a terminal condition – I had left the safety on! Lots of kick for a non-fired gun!!!

Well it gets better. I finally got 2 deer (not in the same shot) and Monte got five. Our 24 hours were quickly spent so we had to head back to Missoula. As we pulled into the check point we got these funny looks at our pickup with 28 deer legs sticking up and only two hunters getting out of the cab. It seems that the zone we were in was a very small and not a widely known one. None of the other hunters or game wardens were aware of it. They carefully checked the tags and then asked where we got them. It is amazing how much you can perspire on a freezing fall day. We explained the friend of a friend thing and how we followed him so we weren’t exactly sure where we were.

He said that his 10,000 acres were in the correct zone though. The warden asked the name and we told him, he asked if it was Jr. or Sr. what’s his name. Oh good, they knew these people and we told them it was Jr. …then came those historical words that had our lives in jail passing before our eyes… “Jr. doesn’t have land in that zone”.

Well the other hunters snickered as they looked at the truck full of deer. We were escorted inside. Big adrenaline rush but not a lot of fun. We went back to a map and began looking for familiar landmarks to identify the area. There was the lake, the missile silo…Ah! There we are, that’s where we were. It turned out it actually was his father-in-law’s land and it was in the correct zone! What a relief as we walked proudly past the mocking hunters and quickly left. Now that I think about this hunt 14 years ago I think I know why it was my first and LAST hunt!