ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN WOUNDED BUCKS AND HUNTERS AND THEIR
By S. C. Turnbo
Some of these encounters were lively and fierce and are worth relating.
They also show how some of these combats ended between the antlered monarchs
and hunters and their dogs.
"In the spring hollow that mouths into Brattons Spring Creek," says Caleb Garrison, "while I was out hunting there one day I seen a buck standing about 150 yards distant from me. I shot and broke one of its forelegs between the knee and shoulder. The animal went off on three legs. I reloaded and followed on after it and shot it the second time and broke the hind leg on the other side from the broken foreleg which hunters call "cross hobbling". Although the animal was not able to run but it jumped around pretty lively. I approached it to knock it in the head with a stone but when I had got in a few feet of it the buck hurled itself against me and caught me on its horns and hoisted me off of the ground and threw me several feet away. Fortunately I was not seriously injured, but I was a demoralized hunter though. Soon after I alighted on the ground the furious buck charged at me again but owing to its broken legs its movements were awkward and uncertain and I caught it by the horns and we struggled for the mastery for about 2 minutes when owing to the loss of blood it grew very weak and I cut its throat and the fight was ended. It was almost dark by the time the buck was dead."
No hunter in Ozark County, Mo., ever enjoyed himself better while out in the forest killing game than Tom Mallonaa, but Uncle Tom met a buck one time that the sport created between themselves was more lively than Mr. Mallonaa desired. "It was about this way," said he. "On the head of Big Cedar Creek above Dugginsville, Mo., I shot a buck one day and broke its thigh bone. The dog caught it before the wounded beast traveled far. Without reloading my gun I followed onto where it and the dog were fighting. I hallooed at the dog to encourage him. My yelling attracted the buckle attention and he looked around at me very vicious. I detected mischief in his eyes and he came on a charge at me. As my rifle was empty I dropped it to the ground and how I aid run, but I knew I would be no match for the mad beast on a race and I made up my mind to do some fast dodging. So on reaching a small tree with the buck almost at my heels I run a race in pursuit. That sort of running a circle around a tree is telling on a fellow. My breath was wearing out and my head swam so that it seemed that the world was turning over, but I was compelled to keep my legs moving as fast as possible to keep my body out of danger until I felt that I could run no longer. When at this moment the dog who was doing his best to interfere daught and held the deer until I made it back to where my gun lay and after allowing my excitement and brains to cool and after reloading the gun I walked up in 40 steps of the deer and shot it down."
Henry Grace tells of a scrimmage with a buck in the pinery between Big Creek and the Panther Bottom (just over the line in Ozark Co., Mo.). "I had shot the buck down," said he, "and thinking it was dead I went up near it. To my surprise up it got and before I hardly had time to think it charged toward me. Of course I ran and I ran my best too. I had a revolver with me and I had it in one hand and my rifle in the other. A large pine tree stood only a few yards away and I made for it and dodged behind it. The wounded buck was close behind me. I ran around the tree and the deer followed me. I realized that dealing with a mad buck was no childs play and I went around that tree on faster time than double quick. The deer kept me moving around the tree at that gait until I ran around it 6 times. Then the deer made a short halt and I wheeled about and shot it twice with the revolver and the deer turned and ran from me until it had went about 30 yards and fell dead which relieved my anxiety very much."
"Away back in the 40s while I lived on Swan Creek in Taney County," said Jacky Haggard, "I once had a somewhat of an adventure with a wounded buck. I had shot it and knocked it down. On going up to it the animal commenced struggling to get up. Being close to it the buck soon discovered me and it rose on its feet and charged at me. I lost no time in dashing behind a sapling which stood nearby. The deer in dashing at me struck its horns and head against the sapling with great force and pressed the sapling against me so sudden that it came near throwing me down on my back. When the sapling rebounded back it hit the deer with sufficient force to knock it down. Before it could recover itself I snatched up a stone and struck it on the head and killed it. The encounter did not last long but it was lively while it did last," said Mr. Haggard.
While Jimmie Ellison lived on Finley Creek, a tributary of James Fork of White River, he rescued a hunter from a buck one day that might have been gored to death by the infuriated beast but for his timely aid the man was released from the bucks fury. The hunter had shot the buck down and approached it to cut its throat when to his surprise the animal revived so quick and leaped up that he did not have time to get out of his way before it lunged at him as quick as a panther would. Having no time to ascend a tree or run to a place of safety he jumped behind a tree and barely escaped the sharp points of its horns. The buck did not halt but onward he pressed around the tree after the hunter. Around and around the tree each one went swiftly. The buck at times was almost in reach of the thoroughly frightened man and it made several thrusts at his back with its horns but by quick actions he managed to evade the dreaded antlers. The man did not continue the race long before he was badly wearied, but the thoughts of the enraged buck goring him to death kept him stirring. Around and around the tree man and beast pursued each other. The man was losing his strength rapidly. His respirations was short and quick. He was almost exhausted. If something did not happen in a few moments more in his favor he would be in the power of the buck. Was there a chance hunter nearby he would halloo and did as loud as his almost spent breath would permit. He did not stop hallooing, but he heard no answer and was ready to give up in despair when up dashed Jimmie Ellison, for happening to be in hearing distance and knowing somebody was in distress he ran in the direction he heard the hallooing without answering. Seeing the hunters perilous position he ran up in a few yards of man and beast and aimed his rifle at the buck and shot it down. The hunter thanked Ellison for his timely interference and informed him that he "just got there in time to save him."
There were no boys living in the Ozarks that loved the sport of hunting better than Frank and Fate Jones. These boys would climb the tallest trees for a coon and follow a buck or flock of wild turkeys for miles to get a shot at one. The first deer they ever killed was one day during the Civil War while they were out with old Uncle Sammy King in Big Beach Hollow, Below Bradleys Ferry in Marion County, Ark. They were both quite small lads of boys. In going up the hollow named Mr. King got in the advance of them a hundred yards or more when they saw two fine bucks standing a short distance off. A gray hound of the boys father was with them and the dog darted at the deer and caught one of them before he had run but a few yards. The dog caught the buck by the shoulder and the active dog sprang over the deers back without letting go his hold and jerked the buck down on his broadside almost in an instant. When the deer fell Frank ran to the prostrate form and threw himself on the deer to help the dog hold it down. Fate got there nearly by the time his brother did and grabbed one of the bucks hind legs, but the moment he took hold of the leg the buck kicked him on the cheekbone with the same foot and sent him sprawling backward on the ground. The buck now exerted himself to rise on his feet and did and both dog and deer struck against Frank and knocked him down and ran over him. The dog soon caught the deer again and threw him down in the bed of a small branch and held him down until the two boys killed the buck by hitting him on the head with stones. Mr. King hearing the racket came back to the boys and says, "What have you got there?" and Frank and Fate pointed their fingers at the dying buck. The boys laughed about killing their first deer for 40 years after its occurrence.
Here is an account of a dog in attacking a buck got its body wedged in between the bucks horns which is told by John E. Cook, son of Alph Cook, who describes the incident as follows.
"One day while I and Asa Dalton were hunting on the head of Music Creek in Marion Co. Ark, we wounded a buck. We had a darkish gray colored dog of mine with us I called Watch and with the aid of this dog we followed the buck. The dog was a few yards in advance of us when he attacked the buck and the latter wheeled around and lunged at the dog and caught him on its horns before he could avoid its fury. But luckily for the dog which was a small one he slipped down between the beams of the deers horns which frightened the dog terribly and he was helpless and unable to extricate himself. The enraged buck did his best to kill the dog by pressing its horns against the ground, then back off a few yards and gore the ground again, but the dog was so completely wedged between the beams that it could do it no injury except to bruise him some and scare him worse. The buck kept in such quick motion goring the ground and slinging his head around that we were afraid to shoot on account of hitting the dog. Being convinced if the dog was not released from the bucks antlers it would finally kill him and as the little canine was quite a favorite I determined to make an effort to save its life and I ran up to the deer and stabbed it behind the shoulder with a large butcher knife and sprang out of the deers way before it could attack me, but the knife had reached a vital part and it reeled and soon sank down and died and I pulled the dog out from among the bucks horns and the little animal seemed glad that it was saved from further fury of the buck." Mr. Cook is dead now. He died in the Indian Territory a few years ago.
The following two accounts were told me by John Cardwell, Who has lived on Elbow Creek in Taney County, Mo., since 1857, but during his boyhood days he lived in Webster County, Mo. Mr. Cardwell said that Jack Steward who lived in Webster County was a hunter of no little reputation. His hunting ground was in the hills of Finley Creek. He was an uncle of mine and I knew something of his hunting tours and I went with him occasionally for company. One day Steward went out afoot to slay a buck that he knew of in a certain locality. The buck was a large vicious fellow and Steward wanted to end his career. The hunter was accompanied by a brindle dog he called Heck. Sure enough he found the deer he was looking for and shot and wounded it. The buck ran off and Steward put the dog on its trail and the latter overhauled the deer in a few minutes and the buck halted and the dog commenced baying it, but about the time Steward advanced up in view the wounded buck became frantic with rage and pitched at the dog and struck him with his horns and pierced his body through killing him almost instantly. The buck escaped. This same hunter on another occasion," continued Mr. Cardwell, "met with an amusing as well as a serious encounter with a wounded buck. This time I was with him, but I was not old enough to carry a rifle, but Uncle Jack wanted me to go along with him for company. While we were passing along near Finley Creek we saw a fine buck and Steward shot it, but the deer was only wounded and soon disappeared from our view. Steward had two dogs with us, one of which was a trained hunting dog and the other was a young dog or just pup enough to be foolish. With the old dog we began slow tracking the deer and followed the trail in a leisure way. We had not went on its trail far when we saw the buck coming at full speed on its back track. As the young dog was not in sight we supposed it had got in advance of the buck and frightened him back. We both saw it coming about the same moment. It was doing some fast running and it seemed to steer directly toward us. We stopped and stood still and watched it bounding along rapidly. The dog was some 50 yards ahead of us and when the buck met the dog it made an effort to catch it but the buck avoided the dog by leaping over it, and here it came in a seemingly straight line toward us. I was standing a few yards in rear of Uncle Jack. We were both so deeply occupied watching the animal speeding along that we never thought of moving to one side out of its way. In a moment or two after it had jumped over the dogs back the seared buck struck against Uncle Jack and knocked him down. The shock was so powerful that the man was senseless for awhile. When the deer hit him the rifle flew from his hand and struck the ground 15 feet below on the hillside. When the rushing beast knocked Steward down I thought it my time next and I raised my hands to receive the dreaded jolt for I never once thought of getting out of its way, but a better lot fell to me than Steward, for it barely missed me and ran on beyond our view. It is useless to mention that after Uncle Jack was able to rise on his feet again he said, "John, well go home for fear that buck might return once more and give us another round up and we went."
Springfield-Greene County Library