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As It Was: Hunter’s Bullet Misses Buck, Hits Half Case of Blasting Powder

A Forest Service employee who wrote about his work in the 1950s, Gordon Jesse Walker, tells this story about a stray bullet:

A logger who had been blasting stumps from a road he was building needed to store the blasting powder for use the following week.  To keep it safe and dry, he placed the half case of powder under an air compressor hood.

On the opening day of hunting season that weekend, a hunter came up the road, spotted a four-point buck in the woods and fired his high-power rifle.  His aim was too low and missed the buck.

When the logger returned to work on Monday, he found pieces of his air compressor scattered over the hillside.  The radiator grill was hanging in a tree 100 yards from where the compressor had been, an empty 30-06 rifle shell lay in the road, and a very dead four-point buck was 50 feet away. 

The bullet hadn’t hit the deer, but shrapnel from the explosion did.  A piece of metal had severed the buck’s neck, and the hunter was long gone.


Source: Walker, Gordon J. "Six Years with a Government Mule."  G.J. Walker, 1990.

Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.