Wolf Fork is a mountain stream that plummets down a narrow rocky canyon in the
The year was 1951, and Dan was once more on the trail of the deer that he could “never” shoot. His dad had pulled him early from his warm bed and together they had revved up the old International pickup and headed into the foothills. They parked the truck close to the tumbling water, then proceeded on foot into the rocky terrain and brush with the stealth of two skilled hunters and trackers.
The October morning was hovering in the 30’s, but the biting wind had exaggerated the cold, causing both to shiver and grow stiff from the chill.
Around , the two hunters discovered a slight swale in the rocks that dipped below the canyon ridge. It was the perfect spot to take refuge from the wind and still afford them a panoramic view of the canyon. Within the shelter of the rocks, they maintained their hunting mode.
Dan was sitting close to his father, rubbing his hands together to increase the blood circulation, when, in a split second he was hit. His head was snapped by a speeding projectile that also propelled his seated body off balance. In his slightly disoriented state, he knew he had been shot by a hunter’s errant bullet.
As his head cleared and his senses began to return, he realized that the roaring in his ears was the unmistakable laughter bellowing from his father. He was, in fact, doubled over with mirth.
That is when Dan saw his bullet, a Quail, on the ground nearby in an equally drunken stupor.
The bird must have been startled into sudden flight and escaped over the edge of the canyon. Instead of the hiding place it was prepared to enter, it collided with Dan’s camaflauged head.
The story ended well. The Quail recovered after a short rest and flew away. Dan went home “deerless,” once more.
(Dan, my co-worker who refuses to retire, shared this 1950 something picture of Elk hunting in the Blue Mountains to prove that some of their hunts ended successfully. An unfortunate incident resulted in the destruction of most of Dan's childhood photographs. )