The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Here is an account of a hunter who said that he witnessed a lot of deer once kill a snake. The name of the hunter is Ira Joe Davis who lived one mile below Garrison post office on Swan Creek in Christian County, Mo. Mr. Davis said the time of its occurrence was in the latter fifties.

"As you are hunting for things that are strange and peculiar which have been seen in the forest among snakes, birds and animals I will tell you about seeing three deer once running and jumping in such a strange manner that it puzzled me no little. I could not understand what they were up to until I made an investigation. I was on the east side of Swan Creek and saw the three deer, one of which was a large one, one a small one, the other a middle sized one. The big deer was the leader and they were going in a half circle in single file. When the leader reached a certain spot he would halt and wheel half around and close his feet together, then lunge forward and alighting on the ground he would spring off as far as he could. The other two deer would follow the leader and do as he had done. This was repeated by the three animals for a half an hour or more when they quit and went off. When I first observed the deer I was over 100 yards from them but I crept along until I was only 50 yards and I sit down and watched them carefully until they were done. I made no effort to kill either one of the animals and when they walked away I went to where they had been cutting their capers and found an enormous rattlesnake cut almost to pieces which had been done by the deer’s feet. The serpent carried 14 rattles which I pulled off and kept them in my hunk several years to show friends where and how I had seen the three deer end the life of the rattler. The exact year that I saw this was in 1857," said Mr. Davis.

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