It was a frigid night in the first part of January. I was sitting high up in a tree looking through the snow covered woods along side a little river. My eyes were fixed on an "island" in between the river that is a couple hundred square foot and thick with trees and brush. Soon enough, just as I had expected, a nice buck walked into my shooting lane. I pulled up my gun, found him in my scope and let off a shot. Confident in my shot, I went to get my cousin to help me retrieve the deer.
We grabbed a canoe and marched through the woods to a place where it would be easy to cross over to the island. The only problem was that the river was high and running very fast. We placed the canoe in the water and made it across safely.
"He oughta be layin down near by...... I don't miss" were my confident words that I told my cousin as we began walking through the thick shrubs in the freezing weather.
As we get closer to where the deer was standing as I took my shot, I see it plain as day......... My sabot (bullet) had splintered a small tree around the entrance hole. I had missed the deer! Very uncharacteristic of a great hunter as myself. But anyway we headed back to the canoe. The canoe is old and very unstable, on top of the high and rough flow of the river. I got into the canoe first and my cousin was attempting to when he put too much weight on one side of the canoe.
There I went into the river. I was fully equipped with my winter hunting gear as well as my muzzle loader and knife. The coldness of the water immediately took my breath away as I fully submerged into the water. I threw my head out of the water with the rest of my body in complete shock. I thought to myself "I'm not going to make it". Since I had on so much clothing and gear I could not raise my arms to take breast strokes toward the island where my cousin was standing dry and warm.
"Just stand up" says my cousin knowing the river can't be that high form it's normal level. But when I try to stand up there is nothing below my feet and I go down again.
"I...I...I...I... Ca...ca...can't....tou...tou..touch" I whisper out shaking like crazy. By this time I have told myself I will have to let the current pull me down to a place where I can attempt to grab a hold of something. But I tried to doggy paddle to my cousin, against the current, anyway. Eventually after what seemed like years of being in the water I made it to the bank and grabbed a hold of my cousins boot and climbed on out. I was sitting there shaking and my cousin, who is more like an older brother, is worried and asks me if I'm alright. Even though I was freezing and still trying to catch my breath, I knew I had to let him know I was okay. So I looked at him, smiled, and said "That's an awful lot of shit to go through for missin a deer, huh?"