The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Many are the stories told by hunters of seeing deer destroy serpents. In some cases there was only one deer present which took longer time to end the life of the writhing reptile, but in every case as far as I have obtained information bearing on this subject the deer whether alone or in groups never left the victim until it was dead, or so near it that it was not possible for it to revive. The sight of witnessing these beautiful creatures killing serpents was an interesting forest scene to the old time settler and hunter. The impression made on the mind of the observer was never forgot until his eyes were closed in death. An incident of this kind was told me by Mr. Alf Hampton, son of Zeke Hampton, who lived many years on Georges Creek 5 miles north of Yellville, Ark. He said that his grandfather, Dave Hampton, went out into the hills of Georges Creek one day alone to kill a deer, When he noticed a buck acting like he was deranged. It would run and close its feet together and jump onto something in the grass. When the deer would light on the ground it would bound off like a rubber ball. Grandfather said that he was at a loss to understand what the deer was doing. After watching it some time the buck at last seemed to have completed the job he was working at and run off, and my grandfather said that he went to the spot where the deer had been so busily engaged to see whether it was really crazy or had killed something and found a common sized rattlesnake with the hide peeled off nearly all over it by the deer’s hoofs and was just able to wriggle its tail and was soon entirely dead. My grandfather said that he was so deeply impressed in watching the deer that he made no attempt to shoot it."

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