HE HAD LOADED THE GUN THREE TIMES
WITHOUT THINKING WHAT HE WAS DOING
By S. C. Turnbo
Among a number of amusing bear chases that occurred in Ozark County, Mo., is an account given me by Elias Keesee, son of Paton Keesee, who said his father and Mose Lantz while hunting together one day on the left prong of Brattons Spring Creek met a big bear at the west end of Bald Jess which resulted In an amusing chase. The dogs were as anxious for the chase as the men were and the moment the bear was sighted men and dogs went for it In a lively way. His bearship took shelter In a shallow cave where he was not able to hide himself entirely. When the men reached the cave they could see the bears nose sticking out and the dogs were baying and barking at Bruins smeller but was afraid to take hold, for fear he might use them up. The hunters shot at the protruding nose and struck it once and out come the bear in a rage. He snorted and the blood flew out of his nostrils. The dogs surrounded him and let on like they were going to take hold at once, but after scattering them with his paws he started off on a run and the dogs followed him. The race was exciting and amusing. After Bruin had went some distance he halted. My father and Lantz were both afoot and the former outrun the latter and had reloaded his rifle and shot the bear once before it had stopped but failed to knock it down. The fury of the bear had went up to fever heat and the wounded animal when It stopped had put on its fighting humor, and it caught one of the dogs in its hug. My father seeing the danger to his dogs life and desiring to save the animal, he darted up and punched the bear hard behind the shoulder with the muzzle of his gun, for he had not time to reload it again after he had shot. Bear, dogs and hunter were in a confused mess in a hand to hand battle. At this time, Mr. Lantz come up on a fast run. Bruin went on with his work of crushing the life out of the dog. When father saw Lantz make his appearance, he stepped back from the bear and dogs and says, "Mose, shoot it before it kills my dog," and Mr. Lantz replied., "Oh., I cant, Im out of breath," and handing father his gun said, "Keesee, you shoot it." My father not suspecting anything wrong with the rifle took it and shot the bear in the region of the heart, and It relaxed its hold on the now nearly lifeless dog and sank down with the dog In its arms. The report of the rifle resembled the sound of a small cannon, and father fell before the bear did for at the report of the gun a blank come over him; he was unconscious and down he went to the ground and lay there senseless and helpless for a minute or more, before, he was able to. speak. Mr. Lantz was bad seared for when he saw father drop to the ground so sudden he supposed he was killed or severely injured and went to work to revive him, and was greatly pleased to see his old friend get on his feet again. When father had come to himself again he says,, "Lantz, did I faint or what was the matter with me? Is there anything wrong with your gun?" At this Mr. Lantz remembered what he had done, and explained to father that he had loaded his rifle three times after they had shot at the bears nose in the cave and there were three charges of powder and three balls in the barrel and it come near getting the life of father as well as that of Bruin. The dog did not revive and they left the dead form of the faithful animal where the bear had hugged it to death.
Springfield-Greene County Library