Hey, it’s Lew again. As you know, hunters are are a gittin’ geared up for the first day of buck huntin’. Plenty of bottles, makeshift paper targets, matchsticks, wives’ pie pans and sides of barns have done tasted lead.
Big bore rifles have sounded off like a war zone through the hollers and ridges as hunters to be have burned through a couple of boxes of hollow points linin’ up their sights. Where Zeb and me live, we send the wives and our little ones in the root cellar ‘til the firin’ ends. Last year we lost a week’s wages buying back stuff that caught a stray bullet. So far they have shot down the clothes line and Zeb’s new gas can took a bullet from a ricocheted ot 6 that blew the whole backside out of it. He lost a gallon of gas. The chickens have stopped layin’ eggs and our milk cow has went into hidin’ for fear of her life. It will all end soon as the hunters will hit the woods, if they have any ammo left. Well, I’ll tell ya, Zeb and me look at it a little different. We took the sights clean off our guns and have relied on instinct, that way we don’t waste our cartridges. Let me tell you what happened last year.
Ol’ Zeb, he had a better idea last buck season. He figured that instead of goin’ out the first week and baggin’ a buck for the freezer, me and him would get a little of our money back from the damage and cash in on the live buck market. His plan was for us to set up camp at one of the hollers coming out of Toenail’s Bend and trap the bucks as they was runnin’ for cover. This way we could put an advertisement in the local paper and sell hunt trips on his 20 acre plantation. We enlisted the help of some of the local boys that just itch for a chance to get in the woods. Their names have been changed to protect their identity. First up was the local barber, Pap, and his son, Pip. Now Pap and Pip are fine trackers; Pap has seen more footprints in hair shavings and knows most people by the jib of their shoe. Zeb has a stand of bamboo shoots so we made a trap that would catch the strongest buck. We decided to set up camp the night before the first day of the hunt. All was going well til’ Pip turned on his flashlight to set the cage door. Sure enough, eyeballin’ us the whole time was the game wardens who were apparently interested in what we were doin’.
Quick as a cat Pap popped Pip in the pen and slammed the cage door shut. Pip immediately went crazy, knowin’ Pap’s plan as they had done this before. The wardens thought we were spotlightin’ with the light, but they soon realized we were just settin’ up camp. They were more interested in why we had a cage and even more interested in why there was a wild man inside of it. We played dum’, and with a silly grin on our faces, we told the wardens that we didn’t know trappin’ wild men was out of season. They didn’t seem to like the humor in it so we told them the “truth.” We explained that we used Pip as a blood hound to drive the deer to our camp and the only way he could assume the role was to leave him in a caged like a wild animal for a week. We continued that it was dangerous to let him out ‘til the first morning of buck season. Pip played the role well; he hung upside down in the cage and screamed like a wildcat. It was hard to keep a straight face in front of the wardens. So, the wardens, considering we were too crazy to be in the woods, insisted we get him out of the cage and further insisted that we go to our homes and get some help. So, Pap told Pip that the jig was up and opened the door to the pen. We were unprepared for the next minute of our life. Pip, being a strappin’ lad of 250 pounds, jumped out of the cage, tore the bamboo cage to shreds and disappeared into the night running on all fours. We all stood there in shock including the wardens who knew then that our tale was true. Why, we even started to believe it ourselves. An APB was put on Pip, and the hunt was on. Several wardens, neighbors and fellow hunters scoured a thousand acres through the night and never caught site of Pip again.
Nobody bagged a buck that season in Toenail’s Bend. The way we figured it Pip had tore through the mountains and scared the bucks into different counties. Matter of fact, some hunters felt it was like hunting buffalo as the herds stampeded through their counties. Pip played his part well to get us out of a jam, but nobody has seem him since.Some say they hear a cry in the night that aint quite a wolf or coyote, more like the sound of a lion’s tail getting caught under a rocking chair. We know it’s Pip. If you see him this season, tell him his mom’s worried and there are chores to be done. Also, the wardens want to have a talk with him. So, a tip for this season is to leave buck trapping to the pros, and above all, don’t cage your kids. You may never see them again. Hopefully, Zeb and me will have some good luck this season, but they made us leave the traps at home.