The Island King, the Youngest Island Boy and I were spending the weekend up there and Friday night, after the Youngest went to bed, the Island King and I were hanging out around the fire, talking and enjoying how peaceful the woods are at night.
He was standing on the other side of the fire and suddenly I noticed his entire posture change. He was staring at the tree line and when I asked what he was looking at he told me to ssshhhh.
Immediately, he turned around and walked over to the truck, loaded his shotgun and walked back towards the fire.
I knew he had his 45 on his hip and I knew that if a deer sprang out of the woods into our camp he wouldn't shoot it so I had no idea what was happening.
I picked up my 38 and stood up, fully expecting him to tell me to sit back down because everyone knows he gets a little nervous when I have my gun out.
But he didn't. He walked a little closer to the tree line, shotgun pointed at the trees. I walked up and stood a few feet away from him, aiming my gun into the woods as well.
He motioned at me and we both stepped a little closer to the tree line.
By this time I could barely breathe. Honestly, I don't think I've been that scared in a LONG time.
Suddenly, I'm not the crazy woman with a gun trying to shoot snakes, I'm an armed asset - which means he obviously believes there is a threat in the woods.
Buddy the Beagle, who had been snoring in a chair by the fire, woke up and immediately went to growling. He came and stood between the Island King and I and then started towards the woods.
The Island King called his name, loudly, and then racked a shell into the chamber of his shotgun.
Which sounded SO loud in the quiet of the woods.
Right then something went crashing through the woods down the tree line and I swear I almost wet my pants. Until that moment, us standing there in the moonlight, guns pointed at the woods seemed almost surreal but the sound of something running made everything crystal clear.
The Island King told me to put Buddy on the leash, he turned on his flashlight and into the woods we went.
Buddy was tugging on the leash and led us down a trail out onto a fire break road.
Again, I realized this could be really serious because I'm walking along behind the Island King, gun drawn and he's ok with that.
I could see our campfire through the woods and was torn between following my husband and getting too far from my sleeping son.
Just then Buddy led us to the spot the Island King says he first heard the noise come from and Buddy's whole demeanor changed. He went from growling dog to baying beagle and in the moonlight I saw the Island King relax.
“It was a deer” he says.
And the very next words out of his mouth were “You can holster that cannon now.”
We beat our way through the woods and into our camp where the only thing I could say was “What in the hell just happened?”
He says that when he first heard the sounds in the woods they didn't sound like a deer or animal at all and he believed there was a human out there, watching us. He got his shotgun because his 45 is great but in the woods he felt better having his shotgun.
And he said he believed that if it was a human one of two things would happen when he racked the shell – someone would either start hollering “Hey, don't shoot!” or they would run away.
It's funny how that sound can be almost as powerful as the weapon it comes from.
He was back at ease almost immediately but I was so full of adrenaline I couldn't sit still.
It didn't help when he went on to bed a few minutes later and left me wide awake and very nervously sitting by the fire.
The next morning the first thing I did was investigate.
I put on my Officer Obie hat, took 27 8x10 color glossies of the scene of the crime and came to the conclusion that it was indeed a deer.
This is the trail that Buddy led us into and it's the same spot the Island King first heard the noises.
Turns out there is a nice little clearing right on the outside of the fence facing camp.
When he racked the gun I heard whatever it was run off down the tree line - not back out the trail we came in on and as I was standing in the clearing I could see an obvious deer trail that led along the tree line.
A trail that had no broken branches on it. I'm no tracker or CSI expert but I am a geocacher and if a human had run down this trail branches would be broken and it would look like someone plowed through there.