On the first of January, 1976 a friend and I decided to bow hunt in Harford County Md., Just outside of the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. It was about an hour before daybreak and Big George and I were making our way back to an area where we'd spotted two nice bucks several days prior. I left George standing in about a foot of snow next to a huge oak tree that really wasn't much wider in girth than Big George. I continued on for maybe another hundred yards or so and set up my portable tree stand. Maybe some of you older hunters remember when the portables first came on the market and how you had to bear hug your chosen tree, lift your legs and work your way up to your selected height. Man how your abdominal muscles ached back when they had no climbing device that you could actually sit in.
Well I got myself up to about thirty feet and strapped myself in and stood there until it got light enough to see. It was cold as heck on that morning with the wind chill probably below zero and I remember how difficult it was to keep from moving around to keep from shivering your butt off. I could see Big George standing behind the big oak where he could watch a well worn deer trail and realized that he was in a good position where the steady wind wouldn't reveal him to a whitetail coming up that trail.
At about nine-fifteen, I suddenly detected movement in my peripheral vision and remembered doing a double take. Off to my left and walking steadily along came a nice buck, but well out of recurve range and heading straight toward George's tree. I wanted to get George's attention and let him know what was coming toward him, but his back was to me. The buck continued along until he passed directly out in front of George. I saw my buddy raise his bow when the buck stopped and turned his head away from him and I saw Big George's arrow penetrate high in his right rump.
The Buck bolted off immediately and ran maybe thirty yards, but then stopped and turned back to where George was still standing. George was knocking another arrow when a strange and unexpected thing happened. As I stood watching the episode I saw the wounded whitetail walking straight toward George's position with his head down with what translated into a menacing attitude. George aimed at the approaching buck, but missed the oncoming whitetail with his second shot. The buck then charged straight at George, pinning him against the chain linked fence that enclosed the proving grounds.
George was holding his recurve bow out in front of him in a horizontal position sparing with the wounded buck and it almost sounded like two bucks crashing their antlers together in a fight. I was laughing so hard at him that I almost fell out of my stand except for my safety belt. However, then I could hear George yelling at the top of his lungs for me to help him. I then realized that he was in serious trouble and started back down my tree. I felt like I was moving too slow and so I leaped off of my stand after tossing my bow aside. I could hear George still yelling when I picked up my bow after landing hard on the frozen ground and remembered thanking God that the foot of snow helped to cushion my fall. I ran toward the action and finally came up on George. "Get him off me," he was yelling out. But the look on George's face broke me up again and it took all the composure I could summons to get serious. I mean here's Big George who weighed well over three hundred pounds struggling with a whitetail buck that couldn't have weighed more than a hundred and sixty on the hoof. "Shoot him, Kill him," George was calling out but now with a hint of desperation in his voice. I knocked the only arrow that hadn't broke or bent in my leap out of the tree and put the shaft right behind the enraged whitetail's front shoulder. The buck then fell to his knees and died only moments later.
"What took you so long?" George cried out. "Oh, you were doin' all right," I answered. "Kinda' looked like you was havin' fun," I laughed. "Fun? Heck, that son-of-a-gun damn near kilt me," he blurted out. "Oh come on George, from where I was perched, it kinda' looked like David and Goliath," I laughed. "You ok? I asked. "Yeah! I guess! Except for my left hand," he answered exposing a laceration on his ring finger. "How in the hell did you hit him in the rump anyway," I asked. "You had a great shot at his vitals." "Hell man, I was shiverin' so bad, I'm lucky to have hit him at all," He answered.
We gutted that buck and carried him out and checked him in to find that his field dressed weight was one hundred twenty three pounds. "Damn George, you weigh three times that much. You couldn't kick his butt?" I heckled. "It's your head," he said, "You killed him." "Heck George, I can't take your buck. Not after the way you fought him off. But I'll take half the meat if that's alright," I answered. "You got it," he replied.
Well, the years went by and I eventually lost contact with Big George. But one day I called information and asked for his phone number and they had it. I immediately called him after about fifteen years and asked if he wanted to go hunting. He told me that he was now well over four hundred pounds and hadn't seen his toes, among other parts in ten years. We talked a while about our adventure in the snow on that New Year's Day so long ago and I haven't heard from him since. But I still have that vivid memory of him fighting that whitetail buck from high up in my perch, in a foot of snow so many years before.
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