View Full Version : (Long) Advice on stalking deer from the Revolutionary War Era

4V50 Gary
May 2, 2001, 09:35 PM
From Col. George Hanger's book, "To All Sportsment..." (see the Legal Forum for USP45's thread on Bellesiles - http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=64993), here's a tip George Hanger learned about deer stalking techniques during the Revolution:

"I will now, for the benefit of sportsmen in the Highlands of Scotland, instruct them how to approach a red deer within thirty yards. The red deer are so very wild and shy, that, I am told, it is most difficult to get within shot of them. This difficulty I will completely do away. My plan is nothing, more or less, than what, in both North and South Carolina, is so well known, and called FIRE-HUNTING BY NIGHT. I feel a very considerable degree of pleasure in reflecting, that I shall be the means of procuring much diversion and satisfaction to Highland sportsmen, by teaching them, whenever they choose it, how to approach, within a short distance, the wildest and shyest red deer. I will describe the whole particulars. I was an eye-witness to this amusement, when I first went about thirty miles up the country, just after the seige of Charlestown, mwith my old, intimate, and worthy friend, Colonel Simcoe, then commanding the Queen's Rangers, afterwards General Simcoe, now dead and lost to his country - I say, lost to his country, for he undoubtedly was one of the very best officers in our service.

"Two American Back-woodsmen went with me; all three of us on horseback: they go on horseback, for fear, lst creeping along by the edge of the swamps, they might thread on a rattle-snake, of which there are plenty near the swamps. The rattle-snake, when he hears the stamp of a horse's foot, flies away; for divine nature has so ordained it, that this deadly animal avoids you as much as you wish to avoid it; and no person is bitten by a rattle-snake, excepting he comes on it when it lies, coiled up, asleep, and basking in the sun.

"The Back-woodsman takes a large frying-pan, with a very long iron handle to it; puts about half a dozen middling-sized pieces into it, of the pine-tree, (the knots of the pine,) which are full of turpentine: these, when lighted in the frying-pan, give a very strong and great light. The pinetreeknots were stuck into an iron stanchion, on their tables, in their hosues, to light the house by night; for they had at that time no candles, and they give a very great light. He, after lighting this wood in the frying-pan, puts the pan over his left shoulder, and carries the light behind his head: he then mounts his horse; first putting strong, thick sacks over the rump of the horse, to prevent any fire falling down and burning the animal; and takes a soldier's musket, loaded with buck-shot, in his right hand. The other man follows, about seventy or one hundred yards behind, with a bag of turpentine knots, to replenish the fire in the frying-pan when necessary. I went on horseback, close behind the man with the gun. In following, you must be very particular. The frying-pan must be held directly straight over your left shoulder, never turning the handle one inch, even to the right or left. When you look before you, you must not move your head, but turn your whole body on the saddle to right and left, holding the frying-pan firm and straight, by fixing your elbow firm to your body.

"So far off even as two hundred yards, you will see the deers' eyes appearing just like two balls of fire. Remember, for certain, that you go directly up the wind, else the deer will smell you, and you will never get near one. The deer, astonished and surprised at so strange a sight, stands stockstill, terrified, and gazing at this very bright light, and permits you to approach him very near. We had not been long out, walking our horses very gently, by the side of a swamp, where the deer at night feed; but we found one. Before we came within one hundred yards of him, he ran away. To the best of my recollection, one of our horses snorted. We had not gone a quarter of a mile further, ere we found another: the Back-woodsman did not go directly up to him, but took his way about thirty yards to one side of the deer. The animal, I am certain, let him come within less than forty yards of him: he then pulled up his horse, which was going only at a very slow walk, laid his arm over the handle of the frying-pan, supported his musket with his left hand, fired, and shot the deer. The deer was standing rather sideways to him, with his head turned round to the light; so that he shot him in the fore-quarters, just behind the fore-elbow. The animal did not run five yards. We threw him over his horse, and returned home." Pages 106-111.

Hanger goes on with advice as to how to avoid shooting colts, oxens and heifers by mistake. Kids, don't try this at home or in the woods, or anywhere anytime. This was how our ancestors did it and (if legal), we'll use NVGs.

Art Eatman
May 2, 2001, 11:00 PM
What worried me about stalking deer from the Revolutionary War Era wuz that they'd be pretty tough eatin', bein' that old.

Now, I tracked one pretty good buck back to where he wuz born, but he wasn't all that old...

Ever notice how you can hold a Streamlight and the fore-arm of your rifle with one hand? And how a deer's eyes shine?


Say, how did that old shotgun turn out? Get it all fixed up and shooting?


May 3, 2001, 10:34 AM
LOL The first road hunters!