"I'll never forget the time'
Buck season is just around the corner, and that two-week period means different things to different people.
Many women look forward to their men going off to "deer camp" so they have a few days to "do what they want to do," and as Thanksgiving falls into that time frame, what they need to do, as well.
And so the men go off, responding to the "call of the wild."
Pocahontas County is quite the hunting ground, and unless you stay at home with the shades drawn, you will likely cross paths with a hunter.ﾠ If you want to start a conversation and be thoroughly entertained, all you need do is begin a sentence, "I'll never forget the time," and let the hunter finish it.
It produces some hilarious recollections.
One of my favorite hunters is Dr. Ernie Shaw, of Marlinton.ﾠ He is a good go-to guy when you need a hunting story and he didn't let me down.ﾠ However, I may need to add the disclaimer, "Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is strictly coincidental."
Many years ago when Shaw was the "kid of the bunch," he hunted with the likes of the late Sam Brill, Arch Wooddell, Chisel Sheets, Bill Harper, and fisherman companion Charles Edward McElwee.ﾠ The group spent hunting seasons at "Sam's Camp" near Thornwood.
One year a member of their group, who was not named in the previous paragraph, got a little intoxicated before retiring for the evening.
He informed the group that he had to get up early and get to the observatory (NRAO) by 7 a.m.ﾠ He was going to make $1,500, although Shaw said he never told them how.
By 8:30 a.m., the gentleman had not made it out of bed.ﾠ
Bill Harper and Shaw headed over to the West Fork of the Greenbrier River.
"One of the God-awfulest trips," Shaw said. "You had to carry your fishing boots, cross the creek, stash the boots and climb to the top of the mountain.
"As I went panting up there, I heard a shot, and another shot. And there went someone walking across the top of the mountain, checking the bottom of the tree."
Shaw saw nothing that day and went back to camp.
When he got to camp, there was the 8:30 abed hunter - with a deer, which he had killed on that mountaintop.
The deer had been hit, shall we say, in the rear, and the shot exited through the throat.
The hunter informed the group that "if you shoot them in the, shall we say, rear, they will die!"
That same hunter's failure on another occasion to show for work at the NRAO led to his friends being called out as a search party.
He wasn't hard to find.
His car was sitting in the middle of Rt. 39 along Knapps Creek, door open, engine running.
He had spotted a buck, grabbed his gun, and work was the last thing on his mind.
In response to the bait, "I'll never forget the time," James Carpenter, of Dunmore, told of an elderly hunter in poor health who, for many years, was a member of his hunting party.
"I would take him to his stand -the best spot," said Carpenter.ﾠ "Then we would spread out.ﾠ I was at the lowest point and I heard a shot.ﾠ I went to the next guy and told him that the shot sounded like it came from my truck."
Making his way back to elderly man, Carpenter asked if he had shot his gun.
"Yes, I did," the man said.
"Did you shoot a deer?" asked Carpenter.
"Yes, I did," the man responded.
"We went up on the flat," said Carpenter, "and he had killed two deer."
It appeared that while the buck and doe were in the throes of romance, the buck was shot in the neck and the doe in the head.
I believe that would be called a two-fer.
Without hesitation, retired coach Elmer Friel, of Marlinton, responded to "I'll never forget the time," and told of killing his biggest buck.
"I killed it over by the high school [PCHS} on the Fertig place. It was in the fall of 1970, the first year of PCHS and Friel was hunting on Eldon Fertig's property across from the present day landfill.
"It was the biggest buck I've ever killed and it was in 0 degree weather," he said.
Friel's brother-in-law Arch Wooddell came to his aid.
"Arch said he knew I had killed something when he saw a big fog around me from sweating in the cold weather," said Friel.
Friel had killed something big.ﾠ He had seen the buck in the rhododendron, and when it hit an open place, he had his scope on it.
He fired, the buck ran, jumped a fence and died in mid-air.
It is a very clear 13 point, but if you take into consideration that sometimes points that will hold a ring are included in the count, it is a 16 point.
Friel told stories of his turkey hunting expeditions, as well.
"Turkeys see 10 times better than a man," said Friel.ﾠ "If they could smell, you'd never kill one."
Friel hunts by the "Moon times."
The deer can see best when the moon is directly overhead, Friel said.ﾠ They will feed every 12 hours. If you know when the moon is overhead, then you know when they will feed in the daytime.
Everyone has their hunting Bible.
But however you hunt, wherever you hunt, "just be careful out there."