First Solo Hunt


At 87 years old, Angelo Whitlow is still a powerfully built man. Known better as Angie or Ange, he is not one given to wasting words so when he told me this story, I sat up and listened intently.

At 87 years old, Angelo Whitlow is still a powerfully built man. Known better as Angie or Ange, he is not one given to wasting words, so when he told me this story, I sat up and listened intently.

“It was my first time hunting by myself,” he said. “Before this day, I used to accompany my dad or one of my uncles, but I never had gone alone.”

At 14, Ange finally got his first hunting license and it was decided that he could go with the men and they’d all go their separate ways. With him, Ange carried a 1903 Springfield, given to him by his father’s eldest Uncle.

“Still have that rifle too,” he said.

As he had learned over the past two deer hunting season, Ange set about finding a game trail and then a quiet place to sit and wait. On that day, he found a fallen log that faced an open field some 200 yards wide, filled with tall grasses and a trail clearly etched through the vegetation.

“After sitting there for was seemed like forever,” Ange said. “I saw movement slightly beyond the trees out in front of me.”

It was a white tail deer.

“I quietly slid the bolt back and slowly moved the rifle around so I could bring it up to my shoulder at a moments notice,” he said. “The deer was so close I was certain I wouldn’t miss, all I was waiting for was a clean shot, with no trees in the way.”

The deer moved slowly and with some caution according to Ange. He was surprise when the head of the animal poke out beyond the trees.

“As it’s head came clear of the trees, I could see a rack of 12-points and then my heart leapt in to my ears making it hard to concentrate. That’s how excited I was,” he said. “But then it looked at me and I was sure the jig was up and he’d go dashing into the woods and I’d be out of luck.”

But then things got weird as the buck stepped out of the trees fully and turned to face the teenager.

“I knew it had seen me,” Angie stated. “But it came out and into the open anyway, and then it turned its body so I couldn’t get a good shot at it and I certainly didn’t want to shoot it between the eyes because I wanted that beautiful set of horns.”

Ange shifted in his seat and sipped at his coffee before continuing.

“It bowed its head twice at me. I thought it might be some sort of challenge and that it might charge me and I would have to shoot it, horns or no horns,” Angelo said. “Then it came straight at me and you know what?”

“What?” I said without thinking, knowing that interrupting an Elder was bad form, not to mention, impolite.

“I froze,” he smiled. “I couldn’t even lift my rifle as all thought drained my head and strength from my body.”

He took a sip of coffee, shook his head and chucked before continuing.

“I sat there, dumbstruck, knowing I was about to be gored, killed, when suddenly the deer dipped his head and raked the tall grass at a dead run,” he said. “That’s when the mountain lion that I didn’t know was stocking me, sprang out of concealment and with a hiss and growl tried to swipe at the deer as it butted it with its horns.”

Still, Angie said, he was frozen in place.

“The two moved clockwise, the buck with its head down and the cat, spitting and hissing,” Ange said. “Till finally that had come a half circle so that the buck was nearer me and the cat was where the buck had been.”

Angelo describes the scene as a ‘Mexican stand-off,’ as the buck and deer challenged one another.

“But it was that cat that blinked first,” Angie said. “Must’ve decided my skin and bones wasn’t worth the fuss. It surrendered, turned and darted off into the woods to the far side of the field. I could see spots of blood on its side and butt from where the buck nailed it.”

The buck stood with its right flank fully exposed and blowing hard, winded from the short battle, according to Ange.

“Then it looked towards me, turned its back on me and with it white tail flashing that danger signal, bounded off in the opposite direction from the cat,” he said. “I finally came to my senses, got up and making sure that cat wasn’t following me, made my way back to the station wagon where I stayed put.”

Angelo didn’t go out for the remainder of the season.

“That was enough excitement for me for that year,” Ange said. “But I never missed the chance to go deer hunting after that again, except during the Korean War when I was drafted and sent overseas to fight for my Uncle Sam.”

ds, so when he told me this story, I sat up and listened intently.

“It was my first time hunting by myself,” he said. “Before this day, I used to accompany my dad or one of my uncles, but I never had gone alone.”

At 14, Ange finally got his first hunting license and it was decided that he could go with the men and they’d all go their separate ways. With him, Ange carried a 1903 Springfield, given to him by his father’s eldest Uncle.

“Still have that rifle too,” he said.

As he had learned over the past two deer hunting season, Ange set about finding a game trail and then a quiet place to sit and wait. On that day, he found a fallen log that faced an open field some 200 yards wide, filled with tall grasses and a trail clearly etched through the vegetation.

“After sitting there for was seemed like forever,” Ange said. “I saw movement slightly beyond the trees out in front of me.”

It was a white tail deer.

“I quietly slid the bolt back and slowly moved the rifle around so I could bring it up to my shoulder at a moments notice,” he said. “The deer was so close I was certain I wouldn’t miss, all I was waiting for was a clean shot, with no trees in the way.”

The deer moved slowly and with some caution according to Ange. He was surprise when the head of the animal poke out beyond the trees.

“As it’s head came clear of the trees, I could see a rack of 12-points and then my heart leapt in to my ears making it hard to concentrate. That’s how excited I was,” he said. “But then it looked at me and I was sure the jig was up and he’d go dashing into the woods and I’d be out of luck.”

But then things got weird as the buck stepped out of the trees fully and turned to face the teenager.

“I knew it had seen me,” Angie stated. “But it came out and into the open anyway, and then it turned its body so I couldn’t get a good shot at it and I certainly didn’t want to shoot it between the eyes because I wanted that beautiful set of horns.”

Ange shifted in his seat and sipped at his coffee before continuing.

“It bowed its head twice at me. I thought it might be some sort of challenge and that it might charge me and I would have to shoot it, horns or no horns,” Angelo said. “Then it came straight at me and you know what?”

“What?” I said without thinking, knowing that interrupting an Elder was bad form, not to mention, impolite.

“I froze,” he smiled. “I couldn’t even lift my rifle as all thought drained my head and strength from my body.”

He took another sip of coffee, shook his head and chucked before going on.

“I sat there, dumbstruck, knowing I was about to be gored, killed, when suddenly the deer dipped his head and raked the tall grass at a dead run,” he said. “That’s when the mountain lion that I didn’t know was stocking me, sprang out of concealment and with a hiss and growl tried to swipe at the deer as it butted it with its horns.”

Still, Angie said, he was frozen in place.

“The two moved clockwise, the buck with its head down and the cat, spitting and hissing,” Ange said. “Till finally that had come a half circle so that the buck was nearer me and the cat was where the buck had been.”

Angelo describes the scene as a ‘Mexican stand-off,’ as the buck and deer challenged one another.

“But it was that cat that blinked first,” Angie said. “Must’ve decided my skin and bones wasn’t worth the fuss. It surrendered, turned and darted off into the woods to the far side of the field. I could see spots of blood on its side and butt from where the buck nailed it.”

The buck stood with its right flank fully exposed and blowing hard, winded from the short battle, according to Ange.

“Then it looked towards me, turned its back on me and with it white tail flashing that danger signal, bounded off in the opposite direction from the cat,” he said. “I finally came to my senses, got up and making sure that cat wasn’t following me, made my way back to the station wagon where I stayed put.”

Angelo didn’t go out for the remainder of the season.

“That was enough excitement for me for that year,” Ange said. “But I never missed the chance to go deer hunting after that again, except during the Korean War when I was drafted and sent overseas to fight for my Uncle Sam.”

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.