Well now fellers I know it's been a coons age since I wrote last but it's been a right hectic year. I was glad for huntin' season to git here and time to stop work on my home remodeling. Anyways..right to the tale. Now before anyone thinks I'm making light of an animal suffering..read the entire story please. I've had a very successful deer season this year. Took a nice doe in the early muzzleloader season with my new L. Day ca.1650 Dutch Trade gun. Got another doe in rifle season with my late fathers pre-64 Model 70. And I was saving my main tag to use during Flintlock season which means I could not shoot a buck. Not a problem as I'd rather use the tag for a doe in Flintlock season. Anyways..Tuesday..thew second day of rifle season I'm cutting up my doe and generally lollygagging around when my brother-in-law next door calls me and says..."Audie..a buck just crawled accross the road and went down to the crick!" I told him to just relax as I'm sure somebody is tracking him if he's hurt so bad he's barely able to crawl. I waited 2 hours and he called back and said.."Audie..nobody has come to track that buck yet." Soooo...I figgered I'd just sneak to the edge of the bank and look down yonder and make sure the buck had expired as I was sure he had. His trail wasn't hard to find. I peered down there a bit and then that buck stood up! Nope..he wasn't done yet but I couldn't let him suffer and I darn sure wasn't gonna let them lousey coyotes torment him. So back to the house and grab my gear and headed back down o'er the bank to end this even if it meant giving up my tag. ARRRGHH! Now folks something to bear in mind..in order for me to shoot this buck it HAS to be a leagle buck. That means 3 pts' on one side at minimum. Pa. does not allow mercy killings regardless of what you might hear. And I have to tag it. So I snuckl down to whar I last seen him..and he wasn't there! Then I spied him on t'other side of the crick laying on a steep bank. I watched him thru the scope for a good while..still couldn't see the rack and dasn't shoot. Then he must'a seen me and exploded up that bank into a 5 acre patch of multi-flora rose briars. I'll be right back folks with more of the story..have to go put another bucket under the leaking fuel tank of my truck. Audie..the Oldfart..
O.K. folks..I'm back. Now between me and where that buck went is a stream about 40yds. wide and filled to the brim with ice cold December water from the recent rains. And I still don't know if he's liggle to shoot. But they's only one way to find out so I stepped off the bank into the raging torrents and half walked half swam to the far side. On t'other side the bank goes straingt up for about 8ft. before it flattens out in the briar patch. Took me several tries and by the time I made it to the top I was soaked, sweatin' and in a foul mood.....and on my hands and knees! I snatched a handfull'a briars and started to pull myself upright when that buck stood up to! And thar we was...nose to nose! I was close enough I could feel his breath on my face!! And I now knew...he was a liggle buck! 3pts. on the right beam. I couldn't tell how bad he was hurt but I could sure see the look in his eyes and he warn't happy to see me. We stared at each other a long moment...tryin' to size each other up I rekkon. Then I let out a manly bellow...alright it might have been percieved as a scream to the unknowing...and jumped back into the middle of the stream! When I got back on "my side of the crick" I looked back and the buck jumped right into the briars headed away. But he was having a hard time of it and so after gatherin' my wits back about me I headed back across the crick. 'Twas time to put an end to this. I follered him for a long ways thru them briars. He wouldn't let me get close enough for a clean shot and I wasn't going to just let lead fly. He'd jump 20ft. and crash down and I'd crawl thru them briars after him. We did this fer a right long time and it was gittin' late in the day. Finally he seemed like he'd accepted what I was trying to do and allowed me to close the gap and end his suffering. I took no pleasure in it. He lay down and looked o'er his shoulder at me and with eyes half closed raised his head and gave me an open neck shot. I doubt he ever heard the gun go off. When all was still and quiet I walked up to him and looked over the damage. Someone had shot off both front legs and the right rear...and yet this magnificant animal would not lay down without a fight. I knelt beside him and asked he forgive me and whoever had started this....and said a prayer of thanks. And then we headed home. Audie..the Oldfart..