GREAT TENACITY OF LIFE IN DEER
By S. C. Turnbo
In collecting information of all kinds from hunters we have met not a
few who said that occasionally they have met deer that were hard to kill.
It is somewhat strange about this and as it might be of interest to a few
readers who like to read such matter I submit a few of these accounts.
Nathan Tyler said that one day while he was hunting in Layton Pineries
south of Forsyth, Mo., he noticed a large doe standing still in gun shot
range and he shot and reloaded and shot until 5 bullets had passed into
her body before she ran. "My dog pursued her two miles over the rough
ground and caught and killed her. I cannot account how this deer lived and
ran so far after she had received so many desperate wounds."
"I recall to mind," said Steve Friend, "that on one occasion
that while my father, Peter Friend, lived on the right bank of White River
in what is now called the Peter Friend Bend and which is over the line in
Marion County, Ark., a deer come onto the farm and my father shot it five
times and it stood still while it was being shot. My father supposed that
he was missing it until he shot the 5th time when it fell dead. When he
got to it he found that every ball had taken good effect in the deers
body. It was very singular," said Mr. Friend, "how this animal
stood so quiet while the bullets were perforating its body."
Phillip Green give the following account. "One day while I was hunting
at the mouth of Little Caney Hollow that empties into Little North Fork
I shot a doe three times while it stood nearly in one place. The three balls
entered the deers body just behind the shoulder. At the first shot
the deer barely moved. At the second shot it stepped twice. At the third
shot it jumped a short distance and stopped a few moments then run near
60 yards and either fell or lay down but it was dead when I approached it.
This was in Ozark County, Mo."
"One cold afternoon," said George Billings "I went out
hunting in the hills south of White River opposite the mouth of Little North
Fork and struck the river again at the Gar Shoals near sunset. Looking across
the river I saw a buck standing near the edge of the water and I shot at
it from the top of the river bank and then continuing to reload my gun and
shot until I had shot seven times. In the meantime while I was reloading
and shooting I had left the top of the bank and reached the edge of the
water. The seventh bullet brought the buck down. During all this shooting
the deer did not appear to move an inch until it fell. Something near the
time it dropped John Billings, a son of mine, in company with Dick Anderson
come to me and we all went across the river together where the deer lay
dead and while we were taking off its hide we found that six of the bullets
had struck it." This was near Oakland, Ark.
Mr. Fate Jones relates this remarkable story. "One day while a deep
snow lay on the ground I followed the trail of a buck out of the Cal Hollow
in Keesee township In Marion County, Ark., and continued on its trail to
Shoal Creek where it had turned in the direction of White River and when
I had followed it there I found that it had crossed the river. It was a
very large deer and I was anxious to capture it but it was late now and
I went back home and remained until the following morning when I mounted
my horse and forded the river and took up the trail of the deer again and
followed it to Short Mountain when the trail turned back toward the river
again. I overhauled it on Trimbles Creek and shot it twice and following
it again in a zig zag course I got in sight of it again on the race track
Bald Hill between the foot of the Black Oak Ridge and Trimbles Creek. Here
I saw it shed its horns and directly it lay down and I shot that deer seven
more times before I killed it or 9 shotsall of which taken effect.
The buck was so large and so fat that it was exceedingly heavy and I was
not stout enough to hang him up to a tree to dress him and I returned back
home for assistance and Ben McKinney went back with me and helped me take
care of it and we brought the hide and meat home with us. How the deer managed
to live after being shot so often I never could explain."
Mr. Gum Smith, a minister in the General Baptist Church, and who was
once a noted hunter and has lived many years on Elbow Creek in Taney County,
Mo., informed me that one day while he was hunting on Cedar Creek that puts
into White River below the mouth of Beaver he observed two deer running
toward him and both of them stopped in 20 paces of where he was standing.
One of the deer turned broadside to him. "I aimed my muzzle loading
rifle at this one and shot it. My gun carried a half ounce ball but as far
as I could tell the animal never moved, not even switching its tail. I stood
without reloading my gun and watched the blood drip from both sides of the
deer and I knew then the bullet had passed entirely through its body. I
expected it to drop every moment but the animal stood perfectly still for
three minutes or more before it sank to the ground and was dead in a few
seconds more. It turned out that my bullet had tore through the heart. The
other deer run when I shot."
Mr. Calvin Clark told me the following. "During the Civil War while
I lived on Otter Creek in Ozark County, Mo., I went out one day on the creek
and seen a small deer feeding and I shot it through its flanks but it did
not offer to run. I reloaded my gun and shot it the second time near the
same part of its body. Yet it made no effort to get away. The deer stood
still until I had shot 6 bullets into it and it lay down. I then reloaded
my gun once more and intended to shoot it in the head but the ball struck
it just below the eyes which caused the little animal to jump up and after
it had run a few yards it lay down again. The last shot exhausted my bullets
and I went back to my house for a new supply and returned back to where
I had left the deer. This time I took my dog with me. When I got back the
deer was gone but I put the dog on its bloody trail and the dog soon caught
it in an old waste field and killed it. The tenacity of life in this deer
was remarkable. Six one half ounce rifle balls had penetrated entirely through
its body besides the one which had been shot into its head below the eyes.
This deer was one half a mile from my house when I shot it," said Mr.
The Herrean boys, Simon and Mart, sons of Lewis Herrean and early settlers of Taney County, Mo., furnished me with these two accounts. They said that on one occasion while they were hunting on the head of Lick Creek which empties into Big Creek they shot a three point buck 11 times. Simon shot it 5 times and Mart 6. Every bullet struck the deer. Their had a black dog with them they called Nigger which was mixed with bull and Newfoundland. It seemed impossible for the buck to live any longer but it remained on its feet and when the dog attacked it the buck struck the little canine with the points of its horns and pierced its body through and killed it. By this time the buck had got into the head of a hollow where Simon said he ran around the beast to head it off and intended to shoot it in the head but the buck fell and died before he was ready to aim his gun at it. Each one of the men said that while they were removing the hide and dressing the meat they found that three of the bullets had passed through the deers heart. This occurred near the Buckrock Bald where the Buckrock Spring is. The Bald took its name from John Friend who killed seven fat bucks here one day in a few yards of each other and hung them all up on the limbs of trees in the edge of the Bald Hill." The other account as it was related by the two Herrean boys is as follows. They said that one late afternoon they met a fine buck deer in the Big Spring Hollow that runs into Shoal Creek where Protem, Mo., now stands. They shot and wounded the deer once and put their dog after it and when he overtook the deer it turned on the dog and wounded it severely with its horns, but the faithful dog went on with the fight. In the meantime the men shot the buck five times more behind the shoulder and one through the bulge of the ribs. It was now that the desperately wounded and infuriated deer ran once more and was pursued by the wounded dog. It did not run far before it halted and made fight at the dog again, and Mart said he shot the deer again behind the shoulder. It seemed almost impossible now for the deer to be alive but it was and appeared to be pretty lively. In a few minutes longer both men had their rifles reloaded and Simon taking the advantage of the deer ran in front of it and shot it in the forehead and it fell dead. Nine bullets had been shot into the deer. After the buck was dead the men discovered that their dog was wounded worse than they thought he was. The sharp points of the bucks horns had gored a portion of the dogs entrails out. It was with difficulty that they restored the protruding entrail back and got him home but with good care and close treatment the dog eventually got well. This incident occurred one half a mile up the hollow from Shoal Creek.
Springfield-Greene County Library