A FIRE HUNTERS ILL LUCK
By S. C. Turnbo
Mr. Calvin Vance, a former resident of Forsyth, Mo., is credited with
this account. "No doubt a few old people who live in Taney County,
Mo., remember John Hogan who lived in Forsyth. He kept a small grocery store
and was an influential citizen. He was a sportsman and enjoyed the chase
and he delighted more in hunting after game than selling sugar and coffee.
Mr. Hogan followed fire hunting for deer on water more than he did on land
and was out in his canoe every few nights. He usually went alone and contrived
to guide his craft and shoot deer too.
One afternoon he made preparations for a nights outing among the deer and pushed his craft several miles up the river above town and landed and got ready for the nights work among the game. It was an hour after dark before he started back down the river toward Forsyth. The night was cloudy with no moon. Consequently it was very dark, but the big torch he had in the bow end of the canoe threw sufficient light on each shore to distinguish real objects from imaginary ones. The stage of water in the river was low and the canoe was allowed to drift with the slow current. There were usually plenty of deer found along the river after night, and Hogan was on the lookout for them and it was not long before he saw one "mossing" near the edge of the water. The craft was now floating over deep water but the deer was in shallow water. The hunter aimed his gun at the deer and shot and at the report of the gun the deer started in a run toward the canoe. When it struck deep water it swam as fast as it could and on reaching Hogan it struck against the canoe and turned it bottom side upward in spite of all the man could do to prevent it. The unfortunate fire hunter floundered around in the water until he could catch the aim outlines of the timber which fringed the shore on the south bank and swam toward it and landed himself safe and made his way down the river bank opposite town in the pitchy darkness and felt his way across the river at the shoals. I met Hogan out on the street on the following morning where he told me of his ducking he got in the river the night previous, and requested me to go with him where the mishap occurred. Of course I agreed to go and we started immediately and when we got there we "fished" out the rifle from the bed of the river where it had sunk, and found the canoe and dead deer lodged close together."
Springfield-Greene County Library