SHOOTING A PANTHER BY FIRELIGHT
By S. C. Turnbo
The writer has given a brief history of Polander Smith in other sketches. This man, as has already been said, was one of the first settlers on Little North Fork of White River. Paton Keesee, another early settler on this stream, lived on the creek three and one half miles below Smiths. One day while Smith was clearing land in the creek bottom a stealthy panther crept up close to him before he noticed it. At the sight of the beast Smith yelled for his dogs and they came darting up and flew at the panther and it sprang up a tree. Smith had no gun but he sent his wife down to Keesees on horseback with the request for Keesee to come and shoot the panther. It was late when she arrived at Keesees house and it was after night when her and Keesee got to Smith where he was watching the panther up the tree. Mr. Smith had built a big fire and had collected a big pile of dead cane to use in making a better light to shoot the beast. Smith told Keesee that the panther threatened to leap on him several times by descending the tree to a few yards above the ground, but the dogs would drive it back up the tree again. When Keesee got his gun in shape to shoot the panther Smith threw the dead cane on the fire and a huge blaze flashed up which threw a brilliant light into the top of the tree and the big panther could be plainly seen sitting on a limb and when Keesee shot the ferocious beast came tumbling down to the ground too dead to resist the dogs.
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