When whitetail deer first appeared on the scene here in Coffee County in the late 70’s, none of us country boys had a clue how to hunt them. I mean an animal with eyesight like an eagle’s, a nose like a bloodhound and ears like radar ain’t exactly easy to sneak up on. We soon discovered, however, that they had one weakness that made them obtainable; whenever you shine a light in their eyes they stand still and stare at you thus making for an easy shot. This isn’t exactly sporting but after chasing them around in the woods and always getting skunked, a desperate man will often skew his principles of fair play to include any method that works.
The best place for the local meat hunters to ‘fire hunt’ was a certain field in our neighborhood right next to the highway and it was the hot spot for deer. It was meat aplenty until the field’s owner got himself elected to state office. I am still amazed that this man my uncle had to take snipe hunting three times before he caught on could achieve such an elevation in his station in life, but wearing a newfound cloak of virtue and being about a half bubble off plumb, the field’s owner called the state game rangers and told them he wanted the night hunting stopped.
The rangers knew a request from one of the men in control of their paycheck was not to be ignored and vowed they would put a stop to the night hunting. They checked the situation out and at nightfall parked just off the road and waited for someone to ease by and flick on a spot light. Fortunately, the rangers were spotted first, and by CB radio every meat hunter was alerted to their presence. The battle seesawed back and forth between the rangers and the meat hunters and the rangers saw they would have to stay all night, every night, which soon got old because their wives started fussing about them being gone so much. Finally, the rangers hit on a devious plan to put a mechanical deer, a big buck, in the field. It was a motorized, radar controlled affair, and could move his head up and down. Now, I must say that this was not fair. I mean this battle between meat hunters and the game wardens has always gone on but there was a mutual respect between them as long as things were ‘fair’, but using a mechanical deer was like the wardens hunting over a baited field.
The first night, they caught a local boy who stopped and shot the mechanical deer three times before being arrested and jailed. And just to show how bright some people are, the next night the same boy came by the same deer and this time he had his Momma with him. He shot his gun empty and then reloaded, whereupon his Momma got out and said, “Give me the gun. I’ll kill the son of a gun”, and she shot the mechanical deer to pieces. The wardens could only shake their heads as the two were arrested and jailed.
The more astute night hunters got word to the owner that he better call off the dogs if he wanted to get reelected and didn’t want the fact he had been the guest of honor at three snipe hunts leaked to his opposition. As it turned out, reelection was way more important than stopping the night hunters.
Besides, deer became such a nuisance that the field’s owner tried to introduce a bill to allow night hunting year round. He is now a hero to the meat hunters and will probably do like Senator Robert Byrd and rot in office.
12/02/11 at 07:23 AM
Leo and I enjoyed this article so much! It made me think of a section of road #169 in Tattnall County. We were coming home from Hinesville on this road one night last winter; (there is rarely any traffic on this road.) All of a sudden we saw a truck on the side of this road with a spotlight shining from it into the woods. -- Of course I know the Game Warden would not have been able to identify the person--the vanity license plate on his truck said "DoeBoy"!!