To my Sistah from a Yeti mistah! OK, for the Bigfoot story: From one size 10 to another:
For a number of years I have hunted whitetail deer down in Dallas, Perry and Wilcox Counties, Alabama, on some private land owned by a family who run a cattle and timber business. Their land consists of pine forests in various stages of growth, clear cuts, green fields, and swampy areas, all located near and along the Cahaba and Alabama Rivers. Permanent tree stands are located throughout the properties, offering many, many hunting opportunities. This is located in the fabulous Black Belt region of Alabama, where the habitat is managed closely and the deer herd is extremely healthy
There are lots of deer there, and the whitetail season runs until the end of January, extending the hunting season and providing for a nice winter vacation from the Northern snow and ice. In January, you can get a mixed bag of weather. Some years, you can be hunting in afternoon temperatures of high 60′s and other years, it has been into the 20′s. Normally, the temperatures are pleasant, and it is a true relaxing vacation, complete with comfortable accommodations and excellent Southern cooking that is SO good including perennial favorites such as fried chicken, biscuits, gravy, piles of sausage, bacon and eggs for breakfast, and some of the other oh-so-scrumptious yet artery clamping dishes would send a cardiologist into hysterical fits. But y’all know that sitting in a tree stand all day is mighty hard work, and makes for a powerful appetite. And one certainly does not want to offend the cook!
Incidentally, hunting deer in the Deep South is a unique experience for a Northerner, used to the snowy woods of Maine and Vermont. Warmer Southern ‘Spring’ weather, singing birds and strutting turkey, even in January, adds to the wonderful fun. I just LOVE it! Sitting high in a tree stand, surrounded by piney woods, palmettos, kudzu and Spanish Moss stirring softly in the wind is quite pleasant when one is accustomed to snowy stump-sitting in single digit temperatures.
Anywho, the good old boys on the property down there, had lots of stories, and maybe delighted (good naturedly) in yanking the chain of a Yankee from time to time. So they were telling me one year, probably back in 2002, that there was a Dallas County version of Sasquatch roaming around, visiting hunters sitting in tree stands, and that the creature was huge, smelled bad, popped its teeth like a bear when angry and lots of people had run into it this Southern Sasquatch. It apparently had scared the Bee Jesus out of many tough and grown men. They talked it up big that night, in front of the fire, and while I could tell they had told this story before, I sensed this tale was enjoying some impromptu embellishment just for me.
Intrigued, I went home that year and googled up ‘Dallas County Sasquatch’ and saw that indeed one was frequently sighted around Dallas County and this creature was still a dark mystery. I found myself thinking of this Southern Sasquatch once in a while, and conjured up an image of a large, hairy swamp ’thang’, covered in wet, slimy kudzu, that roamed the countryside during deer season peeking into hunter’s blinds and keeping hunters in their tree stands long after dark.
The following year I went down to hunt, and one afternoon was sitting in a very remote tree stand, overlooking a cut swath and a gas line easement. The cut swath was about 50 yards across, and my view stretched about 300 yards in front of me, and up the gradual incline of a hill. The ladder tree stand was along the edge, with thick pine woods behind me, and nothing for miles but piney woods and cotton fields. I was all alone, way out in the middle of East Boo Foo, and one of the good old boys was supposed to pick me up at the black top road, about 1/3 mile away after dark. I had my .357 revolver and my rifle, a .270, and of course a daypack and a flashlight. After dark, all I needed to do was to follow the cut line back to up the road.
So I sat all afternoon, and saw no deer. I saw a few turkey and a bobcat that afternoon in the clearing, and as I waited and watched the sun go down, everything turned to fuzzy dark shadows in the dimming light of the cut line. The moon began to rise, two owls began their back-and-forth dialogue, and a nearby pack of coyotes started their evening yipping and howling. And, of course I started thinking of Sasquatch! It was about then I saw this long dark shadow cross the cut line about 100 yards away. I looked through the binos hoping they would give me a little illumination, but no. I know I saw something and it looked like an upright form, walking across the clearing and disappearing into the woods. I felt an icy finger touch the back of my neck, and I was officially spooked!
My heart was pounding, but not like it pounds when buck fever strikes. I was a little unnerved and for one of the few times in my life, I could not move. I felt as if I were made of lead! Then I heard rustling in the woods behind me. So I sat and sat, not wanting to get out of the stand. Finally I talked myself into braving the walk to the road. Heck, I had two firearms with me! Why should I be afraid? I climbed out of the stand and beat feet up to the road, feeling a little foolish, and heard no teeth popping behind me as I moved as fast as I could to get out of there, glancing all around me as I streaked to the road. I did not dare tell the Alabama boys my story, as I knew they would be laughing at this Yankee!
I probably saw a deer cross that evening, but it was dark and my mind was spooked. Feels silly now to think of it, and how I reacted, as I do not usually get spooked in the woods, and I can laugh at myself now, but I am still not sure about what I saw, Kirstie….
Maybe yo’ Mama?