Deer Season Opening Day (1948)

By Keith Gibson

The first Sunday in October was the opening day of the season.  As a 12 year old lad it was an important day and would never be forgotten.

Dad woke me up at 3 a.m. and after a good breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, toast, tomato juice (Dad always called it “battery acid”) and lots of black coffee we started to load the 41 Chevy sedan.  Very few pickups in those days and no 4 wheel drive outfits.  The first items put in the car were the guns, ammo and knives.  Next was a large lunch with a thermos of coffee.  It was cool outside and the stars were in full view thus indicating a nice fall day.

It was still dark when Dad parked the chevy at the bottom of the trees on Peacock Canyon.  We checked our gear, discussed where each one of us would be at all times, had a last swig of coffee and then started the long 3 hour trek to the top of the mountain.  It was eerie going thru the darkness and every sound was spooky, especially for a 12 year old.   Several times we could hear deer running in front of us.  We arrived at the big rock on the mountain top just at first light of day broke.  We separated and found a good spot within sight of each other.  I could smell the odor of a campfire drifting up from the Duck Creek side.  It was coming from the Boneyard area.  The smell of coffee and bacon was apparent.  Then horses snorting and some cussing and I knew it was Growler Munson and crew on their way up the hill.  They would be causing deer to move in our direction.

I caught the sound of branches breaking and soon several small bucks ran past me and then a nice 4 point came into view.  It was about 150 yards and clear, so I aimed my 30-30 Model 84 Winchester. My heart was pounding from the so called “buck fever” that is hard to describe unless you have experienced it.  Dad told me about it and I remembered to take a deep breath and then slowly squeeze the trigger.  It was a good shot and soon I was punching my first ever deer tag.  Dad and my brother Paul came over to help, but it was always the custom to dress out your own deer and get it back to the car.  It took me from 7 a.m. to after 3 p.m. to reach the car. What a day.  I was now a bona fide deer hunter.

It was quite a change from previous years when us kids that were too young to deer hunt would go down and sit on the benches in front of the McGill Club on opening day.  The successful hunters would be driving into town with their huge bucks tied to the front fender.  Cars still had fenders in those days.  We knew who owned each car and where they had been hunting.  Mike and Dave Robb hunted up East Creek.  The Coopers were usually at Indian Creek,  Dick Crane and crew would be at either Boneyard of McDonald Canyons.  I remember the mounted cougar standing in the window of the McGill Club that was taken by the Pescio boys.  All in all McGill was a great place to be on opening day.