15 August 2007

"Deer Killed In Chatham." (1906)

[The Rabbit samples stories from past issues of Chatham County's longest-running newspaper. See Chatham Rabbit Reads the RECORD, version 2.0.]

Anyone who has driven the roads of Chatham County the last, oh, several decades is bound to be startled by the letter that follows, from the February 22, 1907 edition of the Chatham RECORD. WARNING: Animal lovers, you might want to turn away. We have here a genuine example of "History, red in tooth and claw." It's not as if the evident thrill that the hunters took in their chase is remarkable of itself; but the author of the letter does have a certain flair for detail, and his sense of revelry in the kill comes through. But for the strong-of-stomach, the real kicker lies in the editor's note at the end. Let's just say that where the rabbit once held dominion over the lands of Chatham, the deer now rules ...
Deer Killed In Chatham.
Williams Township, N.C.
Feb. 12, 1906.

Mr. Editor:

Yesterday afternoon as Mr. N.W. Beckwith was feeding his sheep, he discovered a fine female deer a short distance from the flock of sheep. He knowing that I had a Winchester rifle came in a hurry for me to go and shoot the deer. It so happened that Mr. W.H. Goodwin, a well known turkey hunter and trapper, was visiting me. So Messrs, Beckwith, Goodwin and I got on Goodwin's buggy and drove to the sheep pasture in great haste. It was only a very few minutes before we came in sight of the deer. All hearts thumped very hard at the sight of the deer. At this point we separated for the deer was disappearing down in a certain bottom. I went around and headed the deer off and got the first shot, about 100 yards distant. I being excited and so nervous, missed my mark, but not the deer. That shot took effect in the upper part of the shoulder and went through and through. The deer fell on its fore-legs, but arose and took to flight. I shot three other shots at it on the run, one shot taking effect in its fore-legs, almost severing it. At this point I gave Mr. Goodwin the rifle and he again headed the deer (it could not travel fast with two severe wounds) and got four shots. The third shot made a mortal wound, piercing the body through and through behind the shoulders.

Mr. Goodwin, not being satisfied with that last shot, fired the 4th shot and sent a steel-cased ball through the head. That one killed the deer. In all, the deer had six severe sounds, but did not give up until shot through the head.

The shooting on Sunday attracted much attention, and before the deer had been dead five minutes it was surrounded by many excited neighbors. We tied its legs together and bore it to Mr. Beckwith's home where we dressed it, (but before dressing it we weighed it, 101 pounds being the weight.) Before we finished dressing the deer many others came to see the sight.

Since writing the above, I have enjoyed two fine meals off of the deer. I can not describe the flesh more than it is very firm, sweet and wholesome. I dare say that more than a hundred people have tasted some of the venison.

D.J Williams.

[The above letter ought to have been received in time for last week's RECORD. This deer must have escaped from some park, as no wild deer have been roaming in this county for many years. -- ED. RECORD.]

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