In 1978, quail season in Georgia opened the Saturday before the opening of deer season and John Walton, a hunting buddy, Mark Greenberg, a church friend and also a hunting buddy, and I had arranged a quail hunt south of Jonesboro. Supposedly this was a good place.
We arrived at the hunting area and unloaded the dogs, Rooster, my Brittany spaniel, and Crystal, John’s German shorthair and began hunting around the edge of a large, cut, soy bean, field. Not a hundred yards into our hunt Crystal froze and Rooster backed her point. We spread out and walked in on ‘em and “whirrrr”, a big covey of twelve or fifteen birds, came rocketing out of the brush along the edge of the field. Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, we unloaded on the birds and several fell. Both dogs began to hunt dead and we collected four, fat quail. Looked like this would be a good day!
We continued around the field and within three hundred yards, both dogs came down on point and we collected two more birds. Definitely look good as we cut through some woods and brush on our way to another bean field and, ahead, in some honeysuckle,
saw Rooster on point
“Point up here,” I shouted, as John came up on my right and Mark on my left. Crystal, saw Rooster’s point and froze next to John’s right leg. I’m right behind Rooster, stepped past him into the honeysuckle awaiting the customary “whirrrr”, and, of all things, up jumped a buck deer!
All at once, literally all “hell” broke loose. Crystal rushed between John and the deer; the deer lunged at me and I unloaded three, number eight, shots at three feet distance, straight at the deer’s head, obviously missing; Rooster charged the deer; the deer hooked Crystal and threw her to the side; John yelled “Crystal,” and as he moved to his right and reached for the dog, the deer hooked John and ripped his left pants leg; then turned toward Mark and tried to hook him too!
Finally, finding the two double ought bucks I always carried and fumbling them into my twenty gauge pump, the deer lunged a second time at Mark, and Mark all five foot seven inches of him, calmly “high ported” his Browning Superposed, right into the deer’s horns. The deer shook Mark like a rag doll as John drug Crystal away and I noticed Rooster was now posted strategically behind me as I finally got my shotgun loaded and shouldered. The deer continued shaking Mark; and Bam, Bam, I put two double oughts into the deer’s head and he dropped in his tracks!
Whew! This battle lasted for not quite thirty seconds. The longest thirty seconds we could imagine. As we loaded up Crystal and hurried to the nearest Vet’s office, we took stock of our situation; no hunters hurt, one dog down and seriously injured, Mark “all shook up”, one dead deer, and deer season was still one week off. In fifteen minutes we pulled up to a Vet’s office in Jonesboro and ten minutes later found out Crystal was dead. John was crushed!
Returning to the scene of the battle, we looked closely at the deer and saw that it was a nice, seven point buck, probably a fifteen inch inside spread, that, at least three days before, had been shot in the left hindquarter. The wound was festering and gangrene, or the deer equivalent, had set in and the buck must have been in great pain. Checking out the area, we found a large quantity of corn spread around the honeysuckle patch. At least two game laws had been broken. Shooting deer in Georgia over bait was illegal and the deer had been shot at least 8 days before deer season opened.
We found the local Game Warden and told him the entire story, but don’t know if any action was taken or if the perpetrator was apprehended. Three weeks later we returned for another hunt at this spot and discovered that someone had come in and cut off the deer’s horns.
Some may not know what “high porting” is. It is a term applied to hand to hand combat training with a rifle, expensive shotgun in this case, where the weapon’s weight is evenly balanced in both hands, at shoulder height, and using it to block and parry opponents thrusts with a bayonet or butt stock. Mark, a Viet Nam veteran, former Air Force Officer and navigator on a B-52, used the technique perfectly!