Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bam Bea and the Blind Buck - tall tale

I first heard this tall tale 60 plus years ago at some scouting activity as a small boy. A couple of years ago, I put it on paper for a tall tale contest sponsored by the “Jonesboro Sun”

As the leaves began to change color in the little Washington town where I grew up, the attention of many young men turned to deer hunting. The season for deer hunting always opened on a Sunday to the chagrin of the town’s preachers, especially my father. But, the short season required a hunter’s total attention and he could not be easily distracted by such things as church.

As I recall, and I’m reaching back decades in my memory, it was not the kind of hunting we do here in Arkansas. There were no deer camps, no deer stands, no deer feeders overflowing with corn, and no video cameras to record who or what was eating the corn. No one painted purple slashes on fence posts to warn against trespassing and there were no 4-wheelers.

Weyerhaeuser Timber Company owned most of the forest land and they had built miles and miles of logging roads, giving hunters access to the timberlands. Hunters hunted by walking through the forest, crossing ridges and searching for any signs the deer might have left. It was in these surroundings that my friend, Bam Bea, set out on his most unbelievable hunt.

Bam began his hunt on foot before daylight from his parking place many miles back on one of the logging roads. By mid-afternoon, he had hiked several miles over a couple of ridges without much luck. He sat down on a ridge top to eat a peanut butter sandwich and enjoy the scenery below.

As Bam was scanning the valley, he spotted two deer, a majestic 8-point buck and a doe. As he watched them, something seemed strange. They were grazing and everywhere the doe wandered, the buck was right behind. In fact, it appeared the buck was nipping on the doe’s tail.

Bam raised his rifle so he could watch the pair through his scope. As he focused in, he watched the pair closely. While glassing the buck, he noticed his eye was a milky white like the eye might have been injured and maybe the buck was blind. As he continued to watch the pair, he realized the buck was blind and he would nip the doe’s tail as she led him around the woods.

Bam aimed carefully across the 300 yards between him and the doe. He put the crosshairs on the base of the doe’s tail and slowly squeezed off a shot. The bullet sheared the tail clean off, and the doe darted off through the woods. The buck was left standing, holding the doe’s tail in his mouth.

Bam quietly approached the buck and took hold of the tail. With the tail, he led the buck back over the ridges to his car where he shot it. He loaded it on the hood of his new 1948 Chevy and headed back to town where he cruised the main street a couple of times as was customary, so people could see his wonderful trophy buck.

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