The Buck Know As Old Golden Horn

Hunting was the an important part of men in what we call the pioneer days of the early settlers.

Families without bread between planting and harvesting of crops and taking the grain to the mill for grinding depended on the hunting of wild game to survive. Furs and pelts were the currency of the times. The hunter had nothing else to bargain or to pay with at the time for guns, salt or ammo. Hunting and trapping was rather part of their job than sport like we know it today. Hunting was addressed with enjoyment just as much as we hunters who enter the woods for a pastime and recreation today.

When the leaves were gone and the weather became cool and brisk, with the skies showing the potential for snow the men who had been farmers while the sun was shinning began to feel that they were now hunters. They got uneasy at home, Everything seemed to get on their nerves.

The wife kept the house too warm, the bed was too soft. They felt smothered. They had spent their days from daylight to dark outside in the fields all summer long and now they had the feeling of being trapped. They wife annoyed them and the kids made them on edge. They would get up early in the morning and go out into the frosty air, walk around a bit with glances towards the mountains, sniff the fresh autumn air with a degree of enjoyment that only a hunter can imagine just to return to the house and look at his rifle hanging on the wall. Then and there they would decide, the house could hold them no longer.

Then hunting dogs knew it too. They seemed to have an understanding what the mood of their master was and by the wagging of their tales and eagerness in their powerful expressions their readiness to hit the woods and the chase.

Hinting by these men wasn’t a ramble in hope of harvesting game for profit and pleasure or by the chance of favor on their behalf. Before they started to the woods, they thought of the weather and what might they be in for during the day and what the effects of the weather might have on the game they were pursuing. They knew from experience that in cold and windy weather deer always headed for shelter places on the sides of the hills and on rainy days with little wind, they would stay in the open woods on the high ground.

They knew that every situation it was important for the hunter to know the direction of the wind. It was very important for them to know the cardinal points because back in those days they didn’t have a compass but they had taught themselves by nature which way was North and South. They used a simple analogy. The bark usually grew thicker and rougher on aged trees on their north side than on the south and that moss on tree’s showed about the same growth on the north and south sides. In this way they were able to navigate the wilderness with about the same precision as the mariner at sea with the needle pointing to the pole.

They knew the habits of what they were hunting and studies ways to circumvent them. They had learned that to imitate the bleat of a doe would bring the wisest buck of the woods to a stop and give them a shot at. They knew that a deer’s ears and nose were keen but it’s eyes were dull and that if they played the wind they just might get into shooting distance of a deer. They also knew that if his foot stepped on the smallest twig in the woods or if the deer got scent of him would send the deer running to greater security.

The hunters knew from experience that not only the deer but all the other animals of the forest when hunted came down to skill of the hunter against skill of the hunted. It was a regular thing for some old buck by his keen senses and wariness to save the family that he was in charge of from the skill of the hunter by giving timely notice of his approach.

Usually at the end of hunting season, some old buck was left free and uninjured from all the hunters and one such buck was tagged with the name Old Golden. A deer that became the desire of every hunter who hit the woods.

Old Golden, had been hunted for several seasons, unsuccessfully. The buck seemed to have a charmed life. After several years of being hunted he seemed to make the entire wilderness his domain. He was seen by hunters in all parts of the wide range of wilderness. He was unmistakable because he a white spot on his neck just below the ear. Several hunter’s fired on him but none seemed to make a killing shot or a good enough shot to bring him down. Finally one fall morning a hunter spotted the old buck at the head of a creek and downed him with one shot. The hunter was screaming to the empty woods that he had just killed Old Golden when the buck sprang to his feet and headed straight toward him. He managed to get out of the way of his antlers just in time. The hunter told the tale had he had put a bullet right under the bucks left ear, a shot that would have killed any ordinary deer.

The belief that Old Golden couldn’t be killed only grew. It became so that some hunters finally gave up on him.

Was Old Golden bullet proof, some say so. Finally about four years later Old Golden was found dead. Not from a bullet but a fallen tree. He was about 100 miles from his normal range and where Johnson had thought to have made the kill shot. He was found at the base of a oak that had blown down in high wind, his back was broken.

Upon examination of the deer’s body, not a sign of a bullet had ever made contact with him, not even Johnson’s ear shot. It was decided that when Johnson shot the deer had been shocked because the bullet had hit the base of his antlers

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