View Full Version : Hunted or hunting? (longish)
March 9, 2000, 08:39 PM
1987 Hohenfels Germany. I was the CO of an infantry company in the 1st Armored Division. We were the closest Infantry Battalion (to Hohenfels) and were constantly tasked for Oposing Forces duty. This was when the concept of a miniature NTC in Europe was getting started.
Two of our companies (Charlie and Delta) were tasked as dismounted recon. The idea was that we would recon in sector until a bit before the "regiment" (other two rifle companies and a tank battalion) would attack. We used soviet tactics and to simulate the distances involved, we would get dropped off on one side or the other of Hohenfels and conduct recon ops all the way until we hit the BluFor, We would scout out what we could, report back, hide next to a target and assult them when the "regiment" needed us to. Usually the blufor would defend in the center, so the walk was only a few miles.
One night, we got out of the duece and a halfs, oriented ourselves and broke into four groups. Three of my platoons went their seperate ways and the company commander (me) took his two RTO's and went deep into the woods.
The armorer (John Roach) and the commo sergent (Tom Radke) and I (Giz) went along the military crest of a long shallow ridge. Lots of deep dark woods. We all packed night vision goggles,
M16A2s, bayonets, blank ammo, miles gear and a radio each.
We knew the West German recon guys were playing this week and we were very interested in them. Until this time we had not seen them except in the cantonment area. There was a question as to what role they were playing. The guys and I had moved several klicks when we heard the crunching of brush behind us. We cut over the top of the hill at a dead run and hunkered down. We were firmly convinced that the German recon boys were hot on our tracks.
This ridge line was heavily forested and very dark. We figured the Germans were trying to chase our team down and capture me (us). We had zigged and zagged after putting the crest of the hill between them and us, so we figured we should just go to ground. The thought was that they couldn't see us and would go past us.
Didn't happen. Couldn't see'em, but we damn sure heard'em cross the crest at the same spot we did, buttonhook the same way we did and start right up our back trail.
I figured right then that I was not going to get captured or shot. I dropped my ruck, shoved my map and CEOI in my pocket, grabbed my rifle and prepared to let Tom and John die gallently for their country.
But something was wrong. This tracking was superhuman. I decided that I was at least going to get a look at these Aryan supermen prior to leading them on a long cross-country run.
Using the NVGs I couldn't see'em. I could hear'em and I could see brush moving, but no upright bipeds. Hmmmmmmmmmm
We had a small clearing just to our front where we had set up an ambush. Watching through the NVGs out stepped two of the biggest foxes you've ever seen. We had to shout at them to get them to go away.
Why did they follow us? Dunno. No food on us, no aftershave.....
But a treasured experiance none-the-less!
March 10, 2000, 05:47 AM
I was hunting in NW FL out of a tree stand about 15 years ago. The ground in front of me sloped away to a typical drainage bottom about 65-75 yds away. The bottom was about 40 yds wide and the farside sloped back up into the clear, just as on my side.
These "creek" bottoms are thickly foliaged and dark. The ground is cushioned with years of gum tree leaf fall and vines as thick as your arm. Treacherous walking.
It was one of those evenings with a lot of "quiet activity". If you used your eyes, you caught a lot going on. I had seen a small fox about ten minutes before follow my trail in right up to the tree I was in. He looked up and saw I was bigger than him and did a fast low trot the other way.
I heard a commotion down in the bottom and saw a pyracantha bush top shaking. As I stared hard at that area to catch what was going on, remember I was whitetail hunting, I heard a blood curdling scream and saw a bob cat run out of the bottom about twenty feet, turn around and run straight back in!
I was startled and fascinated. I wanted to be somewhere else when I heard that scream, but I wanted to know what was happening too!
About six seconds later I saw a huge fox squirrel scorching up the side of a young black gum tree. I mean he was just a streak! About three feet behind him and gaining was the bobcat. The squirrel, a big ground sqirrel about the size of a house cat, accelerated right out the top of the tree! I swear it was a pure evil knievel across-the-canyon launch! My eyes couldn't believe it! He just blew right out the top of the tree into the clear open sky! As he arched, ballistically, to the ground, the bobcat didn't even slow down. Right out the top of the tree he went, like out of a cannon!
By this time you couldn't have dragged me away, I had to watch! Well, this big fox squirrel hit the ground flat-bellied, feet down and it sounded like, "Whump!" He was up and on the run instantly. He had just sailed about 25 feet high and 20 feet away from his launch point through the air and acted like it was nothing. Zoom! he was on the run!
Then the bobcat landed. Now the squirrel was yelling and the bobcat was screaming and I was just about to start rooting out loud for the squirrel, when the bobcat caught up with the squirrel. That's when I saw something I'll never forget.
The instant the bobcat reached out and hooked the haunch of the squirrel with his front set of claws, the squirrel transformed. I mean TRANSFORMED, as in morning cartoon Xformer.
This big ass fox squirrel looked to be about a 4 pounder. Huge. It looked like a Siamese house cat. Strange non-squirrel-like markings on the guys are pretty normal. Well, he/she turned around to defend itself and I thought the friggin' Disney Tasmanian Devil had gotten out loose in our woods. All I can figure is an old wise kick-ass rodent against a young inexperienced bobcat just isn't a predictable matchup.
The confrontation lasted about one half second! Apparently the squirrel bit the bobcat one time real good. The bobcat didn't run, but he jumped about eight feet straight up and back about three feet. By the time he came down and got reoriented, the squirrel was gone!
The bobcat ran about four-five feet and got that "Aw, the hell with it" posture and went back into the bottom, apparently to wait on smaller, less able-to-defend-itself prey. It did stop to lick a leg. Maybe that's where it got bit.
I didn't want the sucker to see me and come investigate my tree, so I had to hold both hands over my mouth while I tried to stop laughing. I was holding my rifle on my knees with my elbows and almost dropped it. I laughed all the way back to the truck and when I got home I still had tears coming down my face. Gawdamighty. What had I just seen? A squirrel had defended itself against a bobcat? Say what?
Whichever it was, boar or sow, I learned a lesson from the squirrel that day. The biggest mistake you can make when closing with the enemy is underestimating his commitment to survive.
March 10, 2000, 02:00 PM
Thanks for the great stories, both of you!
March 11, 2000, 01:30 PM
MORE! MORE! MORE!
I am, for once, completely without any kind of comparable hunting story. These are great.
March 11, 2000, 11:15 PM
Well, I'll try: I guess, call this "Sneaky Snake Bugs Buck".
I was hunting a leased ranch north of Uvalde, Texas, one year. This particular morning I had done just like my Dear Old Daddy told me, and had gotten a pretty nice buck. After hanging him at camp and having some lunch, I figured I'd go out and just watch the world.
It was in the high 30s/low 40s, and came a bit of mist and spitty drizzle. Even a tree stand in an oak wasn't much fun, so I figured that even a deer wouldn't be out in garbage like this. So, I start down from the stand.
I was all spraddled out among the branches, trying to find a non-slick foothold, when I glanced over my shoulder and saw a nice, fat little eight-pointer. For sure, not a doggoned thing I could do about him, right then. Plus, he wasn't all THAT big. (Yeah, them grapes woulda been sour.)
So he wandered on, and I climbed down. I figured that with wet grass and leaves, I might just be quiet enough to stalk him, just for fun. Away we went, me trying to be Mr. Noiseless of 1975.
After about a hundred yards I stopped and looked around. There was a clump of brush at the edge of a little cliff about 40 feet high, and from the brush stuck a deer's rump. I sneaked, and sneaked--and got to within about ten feet of the back end of Mr. Bucky.
What to do, what to do? Obviously, pick up a rock a bit bigger than a marble. Toss onto Mr. Bucky's rump. Wish they'd had video cameras, back then. That buck turned inside out his own exit to his alimentary system, put it into overdrive plus a bit more, and floor-boarded his adrenalin system.
Ears flat, eyes rolling, and kicking rocks in all directions! It wasn't until the ground wrinkled up and he got a bite before he made any real headway in his effort to practice not being there.
My roaring with laughter didn't help anything...
And I guess that sort of fun and games is a large part of why I love to hunt--you don't have to shoot anything to get a big kick out of a day.
March 19, 2000, 03:43 AM
Okay, here's another one from NW FL ...
I used to hunt the Blackwater Management Area just north of I-10 and Eglin AFB. In those days (I don't know how it is now) Blackwater was divided by FL Hwy 4 east to west and north of the road, dog hunting of deer was allowed, but on the south side it was stalk hunting only. We were on the south side.
I put my son in a tree stand alone as he was 16 and had gotten the Hunter Safety Course (not required then) and had satisfied me that he was safe with a gun and knew the rules of hunting.
Fog is real common in the area and it was a heavy blanket of cold mist this morning. It was in the low 40s. I was about 400 yds away in my tree stand and it was nearly 10 minutes into good shooting light, but the fog had not cleared yet and it would be another 45 minutes, at least before one could get a shot.
That's when I heard a whitetail give out with one of those steamwhistle blows they do when they are spooked. Then another and another in rapid succession. But the last one had a litte different sound to it and it got me moving out of my stand. The sounds had come from dead on the direction where my son was and the last blow I had heard extended into a prolonged scream!
As I was double timing it out of my stand to go see what was wrong I heard it again! Now I was really worried and jumped the last step down, slung the rifle and started off on a trot to see what was going on. It was pretty clear going. That's why the sound had carried, even in the sound deadening fog.
About half way there, I met my son going the other way, fast! He didn't even slow down and as he went by, he said "Come on dad!"
"What is it?", I asked him. "I don't know.", he said, and kept on going. I had to run a couple of steps to catch up and stop him.
"What happened?", I asked again. "Something's back there and we need to get to the truck quick! I wanna go home!"
"What do you mean, "Something's back there."?" He said, "Didn't you hear it?" Well now I was confused.
Okay, time to stop, take a breath. Talk.
Since he kept edging away (he was definitely going to the truck!) I started walking with him and told him I had heard a couple of deer snorts, but I had heard a scream that I thought might have been him!. He stopped and looked at me and said, "Deer snorts? Is that what that was?" Oh, no ... I'm starting to get an itch in my laughing gear about this time. "Yeah, I think that's what I heard. We've heard 'em before," I said.
He gets this look on his face and kinda looks down. "That was me you heard scream. I didn't even think it might be deer. They were coming through the brush like bulldozers and got me real scared. Then they stopped just a few feet away and made that Gawd-awful steamwhistle noise and started stompingthe ground I couldn't even see them and it just scared the pooh outta me! I jumped out of the stand and took off!"
Jumped out of the stand? "Say, you jumped out of the stand?" "Yessir" Oh, did I forget to mention that I was in a ladder stand, but he was in a climber? He jumped out of the stand?
We walked back to his tree and there it was ... about fourteen feet up on a nice big pine tree as pretty as you please. He had leaped for dear life right out of the tree from fourteen feet up, landed on his feet and took off for his life to escape the fog monster!
We went back that afternoon and rescued the climbing stand 'cause I was laughing to hard to help right then! God bless him. I've never let him live it down, just between him and me.
When I asked him why he didn't think it might be safer to stay in the tree, he said he thought it could see him and he didn't know if it could climb. It? Say what? I just let him off the hook. He was embarrassed enough. I still chuckle when I think of it.
PS: The part of his tale of jumping to the ground, landing flat-footed and taking off is another part I just smile about, but at least he came out unharmed, in spite his best efforts to commit suicide.
[This message has been edited by sensop (edited March 19, 2000).]
March 21, 2000, 02:08 PM
sensop, thanks for the post about the deer hunt with your son. That brought back vivid memories of the first time that I ever heard a screech owl when I was a boy.
I'm still wiping away the tears of laughter!
March 22, 2000, 06:27 AM
It reminds me of that one remaining primordial cell we all still have, way down in the middle of the brain that kicks in and puts you on automatic for a few seconds.
It's hard to believe that we still have an instinct "switch" that can close so easy. 'Sure can make a fool out of you. But, in the right circumstances it could save your life.
Yep, I just jumped out o'that ol' tree and took off! Well, yeah, I mighta rolled a couple of times when I hit the ground, but I don't remember cause I was haulin' ass!
[This message has been edited by sensop (edited March 22, 2000).]
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