The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. Joe Davis in narrating his hunting stories said that sometimes a man becomes forgetful of his safety and does a thing or two that he repents of afterward and regrets. Usually when we are too hasty in many things we pay for our folly. I had hunted a great deal in Christian County, Mo., and had got into no serious trouble and I began to think I was danger proof but after I had moved into Oregon County, Mo., my mind was changed one day by meeting a buck deer which occurred in this way. I was hunting in a hollow that empties into Warren Fork of Spring River and seen a flock of wild turkeys run into a basin or swag in the ground and I heard them put, put, put, as if an eagle had attacked them and I hurried on to obtain a better view of them. Instead of finding an eagle there stood an angry buck in the midst of the flock with his hair bushed up. I aimed my gun at the deer immediately and fired and away flew the turkeys and down come the deer on the ground broadside, but he quickly revived and got up. I was in such a hurry to reload my gun that I got it choked and broke my gunstick in trying to push the bullet down. Now note how foolish I was. Finding that I could not do anything in finishing to reload my gun I dropped the useless thing and ran to the deer which was staggering around and jerked him down, but up he rose again and knocked me flat of my back. As my temper had rose several degrees I leaped up and sprang at the buck to knock him down, but he struck the palm of my left hand with the point of one prong of his horns and pierced it through and struck against me and sent me down on my back again and to convince me who was master of the battlefield he began to paw me with one forefoot, when all on sudden he left me and went out of my sight and I felt more comfortable at his departure. The wound the buck gave me in the hand was very painful which put me in the notion of going home and I picked up my gun and went on home and had my wound dressed and my suffering was not so severe, I now concluded to go back and follow Mr. Buck and get revenge and taking my other gun and 4 dogs I soon arrived at the scene of my late trouble and put the dogs on the trail and they followed it into another swag where I found the buck’s entrails. Some hunter had come along and had found the buck dead or had shot and killed him and carried the hide and venison home with him."
Away back in the pioneer days of southern Missouri Abner Lynch with his family emigrated from Lynchburg, Virginia to Texas County, Mo., and settled on Piney River above where the town of Houston now stands. Mr. Lynch like the majority of the early settlers followed the common custom of the pioneers by pursuing the occupation of hunting and lived on wild meat and exchanged furs and pelts for the necessaries of life. Like other hunters he had all sorts of luck among the game. One day the writer met one of Mr. Lynch’s sons who was then living at Coweta, Indian Territory, whose given name is L. (Link) W. and he related to me a story of a fight his father had with a wounded buck one day near where he located on Piney River. In relating the incident of the combat with the buck Mr. Lynch said that his father and a neighbor man had went out into the woods together to kill some deer for fresh meat, and when they reached the head of a hollow they separated. Soon after the men had parted my father noticed a buck standing a short distance off and he shot the animal down. Thinking it was dead he advanced up to it without reloading his rifle. To his surprise when he reached the spot where the deer fell it rose on its feet and pitched at him to gore him with its horns. But by a quick movement father caught it by the horns and the battle was on and after a short struggle father contrived to throw the deer down broadside and jerked his knife—which was a Spring Dirk—from the scabbard and stabbed the beast and raised his hand to render a second blow with the knife, but before he could strike the buck drew itself up into a sort of knot shaped form which was immediately followed by an expansion of its legs and body and the knife went whirling through the air. Not to be outdone entirely father jerked one of the deer’s forefeet over one of the buck’s horns and jerking off his suspenders he tied the foot fast to the horns. Supposing the buck was now helpless he got up and proceeded to reload his gun at leisure in order to shoot the animal again. But another surprise awaited him for shortly after releasing the buck it rose up on three legs and made toward him with vengeance and it was laughable to see the hunter drop his gun and run and dodge behind a tree with the furious beast hopping along at his heels. At this moment the dog come up and caught the deer and held it until father picked up his rifle and finished reloading it and put an end to further trouble with his buckship by giving it a second shot. Coming in contact with a wounded buck was nothing uncommon in the early days," said Mr. Lynch, "but a strange incident of this fight was that father never did find his knife that the enraged buck kicked out of his hand."

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