AMONG THE ANTLERED MONARCHS OF THE FOREST
By S. C. Turnbo
It is not common to see a bunch of deer that they were all bucks but
such was the case sometimes. Mr. Drura Upshaw who was born and reared in
Douglas County, Mo., tells of himself and Jim Coats seeing 20 fine buck
deer together one day in a steep hollow. "When we first observed them,"
said Mr. Upshaw, "they were lying down under some pine trees. There
was snow on the ground and they made it scatter after they rose on their
feet and were running from us. Seeing so many bucks together was a surprise
to us and from the way they got away from there it seemed that we were a
surprise to them," said Mr. Upshaw.
Mr. Levi Sallee who lives a few miles north of Lutie in Ozark County,
Mo., said that he remembers seeing 25 buck deer together one day in the
hills between Pond Fork Creek and Little North Fork. "I was hunting
for game of some kind and had one dog with me. When I first observed them
they were advancing toward me in single file. I made the dog keep quiet
and I stood still and counted them. They all carried horns. The old leader
who was in front walked up in 20 yards of where I was standing before he
noticed me and the dog. Then he stopped and all the other bucks closed up
behind him and stopped also. I aimed my rifle at the leader and pulled the
trigger and snap it went and flashed. I could not control the dog any longer
and he darted at the deer and they all wheeled about and scattered and ran
and was soon lost from view."
Speaking of bucks bunched together," said Mr. L. D. (Dow) Haskins, reminds me of seeing a fine herd of them one day in Bear Hollow which empties into Pond Fork Creek from the east side. I was hunting my flock of sheep and was afoot and carried my gun. I first saw three bucks close together and I shot at one of them but as they all ran over the crest of the hill and disappeared I supposed I had missed it. I reloaded my rifle and followed on after them with the hope I would come in view of them again and put in another shot at one of them again. When I had reached the top of the hill where the deer had passed over I was almost struck dumb with astonishment at seeing the hillside below me alive with bucks. Though I was greatly frightened at seeing such a great number of bucks together but it was the grandest sight I ever met and witnessed with my own eyes. I was in ten paces of the nearest ones. When I saw them part of them seen me and a commotion among them followed and then the entire herd of them saw me and they all seemed puzzled to know what I was and every one of them started toward me and surrounded me. They did not appear to understand what sort of a creature I was, but while they were interviewing me so close I felt in black spots all over my body. I had my gun on my shoulder but the sight of these deer were so wonderful and exciting to me that I never thought of my gun. A few of the bucks gradually moved up toward me until they were in less than five yards of my position. I expected every moment the entire herd would rush up to me and some of them hook me down and the whole bunch would trample me to death with their feet. I stood in the center of these antlered monarchs and expecting to die in a few minutes and never once thought of my gun or trying to climb a tree. But very soon the whole bunch of these bucks took fright in some way and stamped down the hill and across Bear Hollow and up the hill on the opposite side. They all scattered as they run and by the time the foremost bucks reached the top of the hill those in the rear were one quarter of a mile behind. I did not and could not count them but there was not less than 150 of them if not more." The writer will add that Mr. Haskins is an early settler of Ozark County, Mo., and was a veteran in the Civil War on the union side and has served the people of Ozark County as Probate Judge. He was living on Pond Fork Creek when he saw the bucks but his present residence is Gainesville, the county seat of Ozark.
Springfield-Greene County Library