By Richard Bernier
-- In the fall of 1964 during Thanksgiving week, two of my uncles, Jerry LeMay and Leonard Allen, invited me to go hunting in Maine with them. I had heard stories of these hunts since I was a kid. My wife had given me a Winchester Model 94 for a wedding present the year before.
I leapt at the chance to go deer hunting with these "legends of the north." On the way to our hunting grounds, we stopped at the famous L.L. Bean for our hunting licenses and then proceeded up to the hunting lodge in Greenville, Maine, near Moosehead Lake. I was so excited I could hardly sleep. At around 10 p.m. on the night we got there, I had a glass of prune juice because there was nothing else to drink.
The following morning, we headed out, and by 10 a.m., I had to go do "you know what." I had to "WENT," as we called then. I headed about 100 yards from Uncle Len, picked out a tree and propped my rifle on another tree about 10 feet away. In the process of "wenting," a big 9-point buck appeared out of nowhere, like they always do. I could not get to my rifle in time.
The buck snorted, walked away, probably from the odor, thinking, "What a lot of nerve, stinking up my area of the forest." Did I get a ribbing from my uncles. Next morning, we headed out and stopped about a mile from where we hunted the day before. My uncle said he could still smell my odor, and that area of the forest was marked and probably mine for the rest of the year.
We walked down a small logging road, and off to my right I saw a buck, a big one. Because of the brush, I could only see its head and slowly lowered my rifle. Seeing this, my uncle promptly put a Winchester silvertip in the buck's breadbasket.
For years after, I was kidded about "Buck Fever" and took it like a man. The photo shows my uncle Leonard Allen with the "Went" deer as we called it. Both my uncles have since passed away, and I miss them a lot. The few years I spent hunting with them after that were some of the happiest times of my life.
Mebane, North Carolina
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