Dark Hollow, MS> You can hunt anywhere you want on the famous Christmas Place if you are stout enough, tough enough and brave enough. You can hunt anywhere on the property, anywhere except one strange area that is off limits.
Rex and Mark had scouted this spot and found a lot of deer sign, had even taken digital pictures, and then had almost dragged Hershel to the area to have a look. It was a really good spot located at the rear of the property where 40 acres was not hunted because it was so steep to get into. It was a hard area to get to and hard on his legs but the digital pictures of the hooks left by a gigantic buck fired him up and he had gladly accepted Mark and Rex’s offer to put a stand up for him. They had even opened up a trail and tied a rope so he could get down the steep side of the hollow safely.
This gigantic crater is almost 300 yards long and almost circular. It is also about 300 feet deep as if a giant meteor had slammed into the bluff a million years ago and had finally healed over.
Hershel Howell sat back in his stand waiting for the deer to show up. The day had started cool but was warming up quickly and he shook off a sleepy feeling.
He studied the leaves and bark of the trees around him, watched for deer movement and settled himself for a good hunt. Looking around, he realized that he did not recognize the tall group of trees scattered in the center of the bowl and the peculiar shape of the bark. He concentrated on a large tree about 30 yards from him and he studied on it. Tall, light colored trees almost like a Silver Maple, but studded with strange knots. The more he looked at it, the more it seemed to take shape in his mind, until at last he realized that he could make out what looked like eyes staring at him from the tree knots.
Smiling at the odd shapes, he again scanned the small opening that he was hunting.
As the wind silently moved through the trees, he thought he heard his name being whispered very softly. He turned to see if someone was there. The area was quiet and empty. He knew he was just imagining things.
Arriving before day, he had slowly wound down the steep trail to the bottom, eased up a trail to a low ridge and slipped through a gap that opened up into a flat filled with buck sign and where his stand was located. He was perfectly camouflaged and alert, waiting for the big buck to run his scrape line.
The small ridge he had slipped through completely circled the spot. The large, strange trees filled the bowl, but left a small circular little meadow in the exact center. Very strange, but the famous Christmas Place was known for strange things. The stand was at the west edge of the clearing in two oak trees. He pulled his compass to check direction and the wind but all the compass did was spin around and would not work.
Another whisper caught his attention. Louder this time, it was his name being very softly spoken. His first name and then he heard his full name again from another direction. He sat up as it seemed like the trees around him were repeating his name. All noise had stopped. No birds sang, No squirrels chattered. It was deathly quiet except for his name being repeated. Suddenly scared, he looked around and it seemed that it was a little darker in the hollow than it was before, and it seemed that the trees were a little closer together.
His name was being repeated softly over and over, until he knew that it wasn’t a bad practical joke. His eyes were drawn to movement and fear rushed through him as he locked on the knots of the trees around him and realized that they had opened and hundreds of eyes were staring at him and a slight movement of the limbs seemed to beckon for him to move closer.
Fear made him almost jump from the deer stand. He took the safety off his rifle and flew down the ladder. Quickly he ran towards the little gap that led out of the bowl. Panic set in as he tried to follow the path that led back to the road. Limbs brushed him raking at his back and face. The strange trees seemed to grab at his arms and legs. The trees did not seem to be where they were when he had arrived before day. He dodged and twisted until he hit the trail again and with legs pumping, he escaped through the gapped opening.
Birds sang, and squirrels moved around him as he caught his breath and moved his shaky legs toward the camp. Sweat covered him and his legs throbbed terribly as he leaned against a large white oak for a minute to rest. Looking back at the rim of the hollow, it now seemed haunted and dark, and he thought he could just barely hear his name still being whispered. The whispering voice now seemed edged with anger and violence and called louder as Hershel headed up the side of the bluff to his fourwheeler.
He never hunted there again. The stand is still there but no one is allowed to hunt in there. It is off limits and he forced the camp to set that area aside as a refuge with no one allowed to scout for deer or to go into the area.
I checked some of the digital pictures we had taken there and zoomed in on them. You can see the knotty spots that he mentioned and you can laugh it off, and you can come hunt all over our property, but you can’t hunt there..