Chapter 1: Number One
“Should see that dude walk. Each step is measured, definite, taken with confidence. Truly this is the dominant buck of this area. He is the king and he knows it….”
Roger Drennan, circa 1980
The following is a hunting story that is full of terror and survival. It is told from two points of view. One is a human observer and the other is a whitetail deer who reigns as leader of his herd. Each tell the story of a summer and fall, and one’s near loss of it all.
“Tom and I put our stands up behind the pond. Saw nothing until about 7:45. A spike came out to my right. Two more came out above the pond. Then the ground started shaking…Sludge ran under Tom’s tree and in front of mine. Did not get a picture of the buck, but it was awesome. Sure wished I could’ve got a…show more content… He could see their startled reactions out of the corner of his eye. He paid them no mind. This was not the human’s time for hunting. For whatever reason these humans were just watching, writing and having fun. Humans are so hard to figure thought Sludge as he walked on past the two men who so keenly watched him.
“Saw the boys this AM about 5:30. Would you believe there is almost an identical twin for Sludge? One for me, one for Tom. No. 1 is a lite brown, kinda washed out looking. No. 2 is darker and rack not as massive.”
Sludgefoot was number one in this part of the woods, as far as deer were concerned. He was the leader, the wise teacher who guided the other whitetails. He was the oldest male deer in Crittenden County. When he had first come here, it was a safe land, a land that was free where deer could prosper. Now it was very dangerous as more and more hunters arrived to kill his family. Sludgefoot had lived through many hunting seasons already, but each time the humans came, it brought grief to the kingdom. Sludge was their number one target