I have done quite a bit in my 29 years, been a lot of places, and seen a lot of things.
I am going to start Storytelling Tuesday to share some of my life experiences...the good, the bad and the ugly. Stories that some may or may not believe...but they are all true...I had witnesses.
Today is the story that I will never live down.
"Something Hit Me..."
Several years ago (maybe 2002?), The Hunter and myself had gone on a hunt at Scotch Management Area. It is a local public management area. When you hunt here, you have to bring your own tree climber (for those of you who may not know what this is...it is a tree stand that you climb up a tree). It was VERY cold this day. You cannot drive a vehicle down to hunt, you must take a four wheeler or some type of ATV.
The Hunter took me to a spot and carried my stand to the tree and began putting it on the tree. In the mean time I was putting on my safety belt. At the time, the safety belt I had looked like a bunch of seat belts sewn together..and looked more like I was going to parachute out of a plane than climb a tree. But safety first! The safety belt has a long strap that attaches to another hook on the tree. I climbed up the tree and got settled in. I put on my coveralls when I began to get cold. Then I sat for 3 or 4 hours with not much action (story of my hunting life).
At dark, I hear The Hunter coming on the four wheeler and I start to climb down. When I got down I tucked in the long strap of my safety belt into my coveralls. The Hunter specifically asked me " don't you want to take off your safety belt"...to which I replied, " No it's too cold." I didn't want to take off my coveralls, just to take off the safety belt.
So we climb on to the four wheeler. I still had on my toboggan and head light. I hung the gun around my neck on its strap ( I had to hold on for dear life). The Hunter said we were going to haul butt back to the camp ground because it was cold and we were going to either freeze going slow or freeze going fast. So we decided to freeze going fast.
As we are speeding down this dirt road in the pitch black dark...I notice something out of the corner of my eye. It is darker than that night sky, it is big and it is coming at me.
(The Hunter is shaking me) "Hey, hey...whats wrong with you", I am dazed and confused. I can hear The Hunter talking...and he sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown. "Your strap is hung in the four wheeler wheel. It is all wrapped up! I almost jerked you off! I could have killed you! What is wrong...say something", I muster up some words in my beaten brain and say "something hit me". At this point I was not able to even hold myself up. I was lying down, as he cut my strap out of the four wheeler wheel. It was really hung up, the strap had jerked me down tightly to the four wheeler. "what do you mean something hit you?" The Hunter says. " nothing hit you....your strap fell out of your coveralls, and got caught up in the wheel. It jerked you down so hard it probably knocked you out." Again..I say "something hit me". For some reason these are the only words my brain would send to my mouth to spit out.
My neck was burning, my head was hurting. I felt as though someone had thrown a sand bag at my head. I rubbed my neck only to notice it was bleeding. "what happened to your neck, and where is your head light" The Hunter says. Hmmmmmm...." Something hit me" I say. "Nothing hit you...." says The Hunter. We crank up the four wheeler and ride down the road to see where my head light fell off at ( the head light is a light that is attached to an elastic band that goes around your head). No luck.
The Hunter had to hold me up the entire way back to the campground...I was still very much out of it.
When we arrived back at the campground, the game warden (who is stationed there) came over to see what was wrong with me. I was draped all across the four wheeler while The Hunter loaded the truck. "Whats wrong with her?" the warden asked. "She thinks something hit her" replied The Hunter. The warden pulls out a flash light and shines it in my eyes "something hit her." The Hunter then proceeds to tell him how the strap got hung in the wheel and jerked me down. While he is doing that the game warden is looking me over. The Hunter told him I was missing a head light. At that point I felt like I was missing alot more. Finally I mustered up enough energy to tell the game warden "something hit me." He sat me up and looked at my toboggan...." did you have your head light on?" he asks. I don't know what I had on....I barely even know where I am at. He then looks at The Hunter and says "she has owl feather stuck in her toboggan." What? Owl feathers? " Apparently she left her head light on, and ya'll were going so fast that he was curious, flew in and snatched it off her head." Lets back up for a sec....he didn't "snatch", snatch is a light term....he NAILED my head.....like Mike Tyson. He ripped open my toboggan, but thankfully did not penetrate my scalp. He hit me with such force that it knocked my safety strap out of my coveralls, and got hung in the wheel. When he hit me, my gun did a 360 turn around my neck, thus causing rope burn, and the bleeding. This was no dainty owl, this was the daddy of them all....the Great Horned owl (wingspan of 30"-60").
The next day another hunter found my head light. The elastic band was sliced into....looked as though it had been cut with a razor.
So there you have it...an owl flew into my head. And as crazy as The Hunter thought I was.....something did hit me!
In honor of that infamous owl.....I have honored him with a tree topper on The Hunter's Christmas tree. (Yes those are turkey feathers from our feathered friends on the right of my blog)