Thursday, June 22, 2006
Hershel Howells' First Deer
Abbeville, MS> (as told by Hershel Howell) (This story used to amaze me as a kid!)
Deer hunting in the early 60’s was pretty simple. Go out in the woods, wait for a big buck, shoot it, and go home. Except it was a lot harder getting the buck to cooperate.
It was a cold morning as Hershel surveyed the ground near the old Red Line area.
The sun was up and some shots had been fired so close that it got his blood warmed up. He was hunting with the German Mauser 8mm that he had bought and hoped that finally this would be his lucky day. A loud commotion of a deer running drew his eye as a large buck came tearing down the ridge. Hershel did not hesitate as he threw the rifle to his shoulder and cut down on the animal. Boom! Boom! The deer picked up speed. Pow! The deer staggered, righted itself and took off again. Hershel got down and headed toward the last place he had seen the big buck. A large spot of blood caught his eye and he carefully started following the blood trail. The large buck jumped up right in front of him! Boom! Boom! Blam! Pow!, as he sprayed the woods with bullets.
Hershel raced through the woods after the deer reloading and shooting as the deer would fall, then jump up and take off again. He finally caught up to the deer that was standing with it’s head down and as he eased up and bolted his rifle, the deer took off again. More wild shooting and racing through the woods until he was covered in sweat and completely exhausted. He went over a little rise and saw the deer sitting in front of him, breathing heavily and totally exhausted also. He carefully moved closer and very quietly bolted his rifle. He took dead aim and pulled the trigger. Click! Holy crap! He was out of bullets. The deer took off again, and down through the woods they went. Hershel holding the useless rifle as the deer staggered down the middle of a big hollow. Finally the deer collapsed and sat there as Hershel eased up to him again. Running through the woods, he had searched every pocket repeatedly for more bullets but no luck. He stood there trying to decide what to do. An idea struck him. He eased a rope out of his pocket and made a lasso. If he could lasso the deer and tie it to a tree, maybe it would hold until help arrived. Carefully he formed a loop, zipped the lasso around and tossed it at the deers’ antlers. The lasso fell right between the old bucks' antlers. The deer took off at full steam! Down through the woods they went again until the buck fell. Hershel had decided he would tackle the deer and try to stab it in the throat. Easing up to the deer, he unbolted his gun one more time (from habit he thinks) and to his complete surprise there is a bullet in the gun. How it got there, he doesn’t know. He had shot 10 times and chased the deer halfway across the Holly Springs National Forest. He slammed the bullet home and as he tells it. “When I pulled the trigger, smoke came out the other side” The big 8- point buck lay still and Hershel had taken his first buck!