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A Huntin’ Ghost Story

By Linda Kirkpatrick

Names may have been changed
or added to protect everybody.
Besides being the time of ghosts and goblins, it is almost time for hunters to arrive. They come in droves to enjoy a little quiet quality time in the area of a deer camp. But those of you who manage hunting leases and should any of you hunters arrive early you might want to read this story very closely.

The late Bob Davis related the original story to his sister Lora B Garrison some time ago. Their mother is the first person to witness the event that you and especially your hunters, camped out in their lonely camps, might witness one day or more likely one night.

Now just because Annie Auld Davis was the first person to report this happening, it does not mean that she is the first person to witness the happenings. It just means that she is the only person brave enough to talk about it. After she spoke of what she saw, then several others spoke up, relating their own version of the story. Fear clutched the hearts of all of them. They could not explain it; they just knew that they never wanted to see it again.

Several years later a group of first time hunters to the hills between the Frio and the Sabinal Canyons, began to pack all their camping gear, guns and groceries anxious for their first hunt. They each had a list of things they were supposed to bring. F.P., Charley and Doug took their lists to Cabella’s to gather those last minute items before they headed to the hills. They planned to leave before daylight the next morning but little did they know as they went to sleep that night in the comfort of their homes that this might be the last peaceful sleep they would ever have.

They calculated that if they left around five in the morning that they would arrive with enough time to set up camp and be ready for the first light of opening day the next morning. As they pulled up to the ranch owner’s house for their instructions, they could hardly contain their excitement. For as you know this was their very first time to hunt and camp together. They had everything they needed so what could go wrong?

F.P., Charley and Doug bailed out of the jeep and headed for the owner’s gate. They were anxious to meet the ranch owner and get on with setting up camp and cooking their first outdoor meal.

Anthony, the ranch owner, said in a very cautious and questionable tone, “Afternoon boys.”

Charley, the bold hunter, replied, “Howdy Mr. Anthony. I am Charley this is F.P. and Doug. We are here to pick up our instructions for our fun filled hunting weekend.”

“Yes, I can see that,” answered Anthony. He could already see that the weekend might be heading for disaster. Disaster would occur, just not the way that he thought. You see Anthony knew the stories and he knew that areas of the ranch that needed to be respected and he knew that these guys were not cut out for a first time hunt in this rugged area of Texas.

“First off guys, here is your map. Now all of the feeders and blind locations are marked. Do not load your guns until you are in your blind.” Anthony felt as though he was talking to a bunch of twelve year olds but it was better to be safe than sorry. “Secondly, there are only a few areas where you are allowed to set up your camp. It is very important that you camp only in these areas. And the most important rule of all is that you must be in your camp by 10:00pm and for no reason, absolutely no reasons at all, are you to leave your camp in the night. To get to your camp go up the Blanket Creek road for three miles then go up Horse Track Hollow for two miles, you will know the area when you get there.” Anthony forgot that these guys were city boys and this was their first hunt. He really should have been more specific.

Back in the jeep, the boys were confused, where was Blanket Creek Road? They looked for a sign everywhere. Away from the house, they got out the map found what appeared to be a creek and took off on their adventure of a life time, or so they thought.

Back in the house and over a cup of coffee Anthony never noticed that the hunters drove away, in the wrong direction.

Doug, the cautious hunter, was the first to notice that they might be lost but Charley, who was driving, didn’t listen. He should have.

“This is it!” called Charley. “There is the Spanish Oak tree just like it says right here on the map.”

“But Charley,” said Doug, “I think that is a Cedar tree.”

“No, no it is an oak. Now boys let’s set up camp.”

All the time those two were bantering F.P. had an eerie feeling that he just could not explain. Someone or something watched them.

After a quick game of cards, the anxious hunters hit the bed rolls. Before long, Charley and Doug were snoring away. F.P., on the other hand, lay in fear. Something or someone was out there.

Little did these first time hunters know that they were not on Horse Track Hollow. Their camp was right smack dab in the middle of the forbidden, Indian Hollow.

F.P. didn’t sleep a wink that night. The creepy feeling that someone was watching kept him from closing his eyes and then the noise of leaves rustling and a soft vibration of the ground, like something walking at the edge of the camp. He dared not move and really wanted the night to pass.

Five a.m. rolled around and Charley and Doug began stirring up breakfast while F.P. moved around very slow. They got out the map to locate the blinds, never realizing that there were no blinds or feed pens in Indian Hollow.

Charley headed out in what he thought was a northerly direction towards where he suspected blind number twelve would be located. Doug followed the fence line to blind number fourteen but the entire time he wondered, “What is a fence line?” F.P. looked at the map again and left for blind number thirteen. Again, this was not a good sign.

F.P. had only gone a short distance when that same eerie feeling shrouded him again. It was darker than the inside of a black Crayola but he knew he was not alone. “Hello?” he softly said. Then he heard the walking sound, and leaves rustling and rocks grating and twigs snapping, not very far away. F.P. took the little LED flashlight that he had in his pocket and slowly moved the beam of light upwards. There in the edge of the clearing not twenty feet away was the most magnificent black stallion ever and astride that stallion was an Indian chief in full headdress and regalia. The stallion kept walking forward, one step at a time with steam blowing out his nostrils and the Indian never moved a muscle. But F.P. did! He turned and high tailed it back to camp and the jeep. How he found his way to the highway is still unknown. No one ever saw Charley and Doug again. The next fall, as the maples were turning in Lost Maples State Natural Area, someone spotted an Indian in full headdress on a magnificent black stallion walking away up the canyon. A beautiful Indian maiden rode behind him. No one has ever seen or heard of them since that day.

Could it be that for all these years the Indian chief was just hunting a lost loved one? I think so.

© Linda Kirkpatrick

Somewhere in the West
October 25, 2010 Column
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