The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Peter Baughman, the old veteran settler and hunter of Crooked Creek, Boone County, Ark., relates an incident of a narrow escape from death while in contact with a wounded buck.

"In 1841, when I was about 11 years old," said he, "I witnessed a scene that was a warning to me not to venture too close to a wounded buck until fully convinced that he was dead.

"Father was living on Crooked Creek in the year named, and one day a man by the name of Isaac Carver went with father to hunt for a bee tree. I was allowed to accompany them. They soon found a tree that they thought was rich with, honey and concluded to return home for vessels and meet at the tree early the next morning. On the following day, father and I arrived at the tree quite early and began cutting it down. Before the tree fell, we heard the report of a rifle, and also could hear Carver hallooing as if in distress. Father and I started on a run in the direction from which the cry came. Father carried his rifle. Arriving at the scene we found the man hanging on the horns of a three point buck. Carver wore garments made of dressed buck skin, with large buttons made of home tanned leather. One prong of the buck’s horns had caught under a strap of his pants where a button had been sewed on with a buck skin thong. The man’s weight kept the deer’s head down, but the buck was kicking and plunging making every effort to rid itself of the burden, occasionally turning summersaults on the rough and stony spot, causing intense suffering to the unfortunate man, who yelled and groaned. Father realized that Carver must be released at once to save his life, and took aim at the deer’s head, but Carver cried out with feat lest the shot would hit him. Then the rifle was placed just back of the shoulder and a ball was sent into the beast’s body. This only enraged it for a short time as it turned many summersaults in rapid succession. Father tried to hold the deer but could not. The deer was soon exhausted and fell dead. The man was seriously injured and had to be conveyed home.He told us that he shot the buck and it fell as if dead. Drawing his knife from the scabbard he stepped astride of the beast to out its throat that it might bleed thoroughly. All at once it revived and the knife was thrown from Carver’s hand. At the same time he was thrown onto the horns and his leather pants kept him there. As mentioned above," said Uncle Peter, "this man’s perilous predicament while in such close quarters with the wounded buck taught me to stay out of reach of a buck until I knew it was not able to use its horns."

Here is a story of another ride on a buck. This time it was on the buck’s back instead of its horns. Uncle George Trammell, who was born and reared on Crooked Creek says that Michael Young was one of the earliest settlers here, and was an active hunter. He loved to play pranks on his family or other friends. One day he had hunted from sunrise until sunset without killing anything except a cub bear. It was after night when he returned to the cabin with the bear. It was very dark and his wife hearing him coming across the yard ran to the door to greet him. Without saying anything, he pitched the dead cub at her which gave the woman an unexpected fright. While his kind wife was scolding him about it he enjoyed a merry laugh. One day he met a buck that played a much worse prank on him than he played on his wife with the dead bear. The buck also came near causing his death. Mr. Trammell said that a settler had given an invitation to the neighbors far and near to help at a house raising. Mr. Young lived at quite a distance from the settler, and on the day named for the raising, Young was up before daylight making preparations to attend. At early dawn he started out on foot. Carrying his trusty rifle with him. He did not follow the trail, but went through the woods in quest of game. He soon saw and shot a fine buck, which dropped to the ground. Thinking it was dead he advanced with knife in hand and sat astride it to cut its throat. When the keen blade struck the tender flesh the deer seemingly came to life instantly and rose to its feet with the man astride. The wounded buck started on a swift run through the woods, while Young threw his knife down to hold fast to the animal’s horns. Young had experienced rides on wild mules and Spanish horses that were fleet footed but none to equal the ride on the buck. Young had to hang on for dear life. While the deer’s life blood was fast ebbing away from the two wounds. After a run of several hundred yards the deer fell from loss of blood and the man’s weight, and soon died. It was then dressed, and part of the buck including the hide was carried to the house raising. After this experience Uncle Michael never attempted to get astride a buck to cut its throat.

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