Hunting on Thanksgiving Day
I awoke, on Thanksgiving, to a dark 5 a.m. morning
with the snow still coming down. I turned on the porch light to
see how much had accumulated during the night and could see that
there was maybe 8 more inches of fresh stuff out there. Not nearly
enough to deter any comprehension of stopping me from going hunting
on a day that I had off from work, on the first week of buck season
here in Berkeley Springs, Wv. My brother-in -law, Herman Mellott,
of Needmore, Pa. had been hunting with me each day and we had
not had any luck of finding those incredulously spooks of the
Mo. Co. woods, of which we were in search of.
The first day, monday, we didn't see any deer at
all, which was very unnatural, and only a few on tuesday. The
weather was rather warm and dry and they just seemed to be wherever
we were not. We saw many very fresh signs but no deer. We were
in the old preverbal, "chase mode". There aren't many
open fields, except on the western side of our hunt, so we stayed
in a pattern of hunting around the ridges just below the crest
and crossing the lowering part of the ridges at a crossover to
the opposite side of the next ridge. We were always very close
but not close enough. The stop and go method had always worked
very well previously so that was the way we were hunting. While
one of us was on the move the other would stand still. Sometimes
one of us would take a circle to see if anything would move toward
the other. It was as if they found some place to hide and was
watching us go by.
Wednesday, Herman had something else to do and could
not hunt with me, so I decided to work at the garage, Truax Auto
Repair.. By that evening the weather had suddenly took a turn.
It had gotten colder as the day wore on and began to snow just
before dark. Herman had planned to join me again on thursday,
Thanksgiving Day, but that didn't happen because of the snow.
In those days four wheel drive wasn't as poplar as it is today
and he didn't have it to bring him down from Pa.
I waited till it was starting to get light before
I left the house. I decided to hunt toward the open farm land
to the west because I was thinking that maybe they would be out,
since the weather was bad. There was probably 10 inches on the
ground now and it was snowing very, very heavy. By the time I
had made it to where I wanted to be there was 16 inches and snowing
still heavyer then before. I followed a fresh deer track accross
the field and I probably would have seen it, had I been able to
see through the snow. Visibility wasn't very far, with that much
snow coming down. I hunted the woods around that area for a while
and suddenly realized that the snow was up to my crotch. It was
probably three quarters of a mile back to my house and not on
even ground by any means. I immediately decided to get started
in that direction. What I hadn't been thinking of, was I had been
using up a lot of energy in the days hunt so far and I didn't
have what was required to get back home. I made it back to the
main road at the horse show grounds alright and took a short breather
there. My legs were burning like fire and my chest was the same
and the snow was now at my belt buckle, and there were no tracks
on the road to walk in.
I was thinking about the Thanksgiving dinner we
always put on for my wife's side of the family, on this day, and
we were supposed to do it today again, but for the snow. Supposing
they had all come down and it had started to snow like this after
they got here. Would they get stranded somewhere on the road?
Would they even make it up Posten's hill? But that didn't happen
and they were still at their homes, I hope.
It probably took most of an hour for me to go that
last 600 yards for it was, make a couple steps, forcing my very
tired legs through that deep, deep stuff and all up hill. What
a person will do to hunt deer!