By Allen Hamrick
Hey folks, it’s Lew comin’ at ya with another tale of the ridges. It’s been busier than a one winged hawk here on the ridge, what with deer season going into its second week and Thanksgivin’ takin’ a powder till next season. Yeah, here tables were full once again with turkey birds an’ all the fixins an’ people got fatter than mama bears in the spring. They still are whinin’ and complainin’ about how much they put away for their winter fat.
Prior to the first week of deer season, people laid down their long bows an opted for their ot 6’s. Once they blew a couple of boxes of ammo into their favorite targets and the insurance companies went broke replacing fenders an windshields, it was off to scour the hills in search of the biggest buck they could find to store up some meat for the freezer an’ hard times. Well, this season, at the end of the first week, the hunters all gathered into Pap’s Barbershop and swapped versions of their own near death huntin’ experience with Ox, the 20 point 400 pound super buck, an’ others just simply never saw a point pass their sights and all they got was the crackers. It is always a one week overview of the first week’s hunt at Pap’s so they can decide what or how they will find them the second week. In truth, nobody saw anything that first week and couldn’t figure out why. The bull shootin’ session lasts most of the day and some need medical attention for brain gas at the end of it.
The following Monday evening, Zeb came into Pap’s bragging to all the hunters about his new invention called the Poke n Pop Pocket Pow Pow, a pocket field device that he designed to reload his ot 6 shells while he was huntin’ to not waste money on bullets. He started makin’ drawings’ of it some three years ago. It is made from a C Clamp from his wood shop an’ nuts and bolts he found alongside his driveway. He also makes all his own accessories, powder, lead, dyes and primers. Primers an’ powder are his own family secrets so no need to ask the “how did” question cause he will give no answer. All the boys, after another unsuccessful day in the woods, sat around and listened carefully to what Zeb was sayin’. “Well, fellers,” he said, “I’ll grantee ya my slugs are at the top of the food chain when it comes to takin’ a buck an’ they are only 50 cent a shot if ya care to dare. I can shoot one in P Lug Dam, an’ it’ll go all the way to the head water before it stops. Pap said, “ Zeb, if you got a box of them bullets maybe the boys’ luck would change if they get to see a buck.” Well, all the boys got a box of Zeb’s super shells and set off to the woods the next day. An’ what happened the next day will be talked about around camp fires and tall tale conventions for years to come; it was called Rubber Duck Day.
Here is how it went, and this is no lie. All the boys, including Zeb, headed out hopin’ to set their sights on some big bucks. For whatever reason, the woods were full of bucks, or at least that’s what we thought. Soon as the sun started up over the horizon, gun shots and screams were heard on the wind and down in the hollers of the ridges we call home. As the mornin’ turned into noonday, the screamin’ and the shootin’ only got worse. The screamin’ turned to cussin’ an’ herds of big bucks stampeded our town. People were headin’ for cover under trucks and closin’ shudders on their houses while openin’ their last bottle of red eye figurin’ this was the end. Around two or three o’clock in the afternoon, all went silent; smoke seemed to drift in from the mountains and cover the valley like a blanket of eerie tales. People was thinkin’ the worst as they come out from under their hideouts and the hunters came out of the woods with their crazy tales.
Apparently Zeb’s newly loaded bullets didn’t work the way they was supposed to. Pap told it like this,” Well, we all went to the woods and was in our stands as some of the boys was drivin’ while others were just sittin’ in a blind. Well, sir, we caught sight of some of the biggest bucks to hit the woods in a long time. Those of us in the blinds loaded our Zeb loads, caught sight of the bucks first and unloaded a barrage of fire at them. Soon as the bullets hit them bucks, they cart wheeled in the air, rolled a couple of times, got up shakin’ their heads and took off runnin’ fast as they could. The bullet didn’t stop there; it bounced off those bucks and went straight at the boys drivin’ the deer to us. They were duckin’ for cover, an’ some got stung in the butt when they ducked the wrong way. We all thought we were getting the bucks and just kept firin’ but the Zeb loads was just knockin’ them down and knocking us down too. There was no place safe when the triggers were pulled – Zeb’s rubber bullets were flyin’ all over the hills knocking everything down but the trees. A couple of families decided it was time in the chaos to start a feud that had been brewin’ for a couple of years usin’ the Zeb loads as nobody would get hurt other than getting knocked down. All the deer headed for higher and lower ground – anywhere to get away from the Zeb loads. Of course, none of us bagged any of the bucks, but we got rid of the rest of the bullets and made sure Zeb’s reloader never loaded another one.”
Well, that was the end of the huntin’ season here for awhile until the woods returned to normal and the wildlife returned in muzzleloader season. Zeb had to promise the folks who live here never to make any more lead or powder, but we will see what he comes up with in the spring for bassin’ season. Until then, keep yer sights clean, a tight line, and have a Merry Christmas.