Dad's Memories

- 22 February 99 - 22 February 99

Bill Hall / Good Samaritan

Sitting here - thinking about the four Good Samaritan strangers, who came and cleaned up a veritable unholy Hurricane's mess about my house (October '98) reminded me of an adventure Bill Hall and I had one day when out hunting on Haddam Neck, CT.

With Venison already in the freezer, we were - more than anything - just out in the woods for "exersize" and to check on things in our "hunting preserve". It was a bitter cold February day, a scattering of fresh snow on the ground atop old icy crusted snow . We came across fresh Deer track and decided to just see if we could follow, and get a look at this lone creature.

We separated, as usual, one to follow - the other to circle ahead and look for the quarry. The trail led down toward the Salmon River, frozen solid, where we saw the Deer floundering out on the ice, unable to regain it's footing on the glare ice surface. This was a wide spot in the river, the same site where I'd earlier in the season tried duck hunting with a neighbor - unsuccessfully.

The deer was only about 20 yards out from shore and we watched it struggle to stand for a bit. Out for excersize, we had no interest in shooting deer this day, and it looked as tho its struggles to move were not going to succeed. Then Bill decided to go out on the ice and drag it back to shore, or at least to where a fringe of snow at the river edge might provide some footing.

Having "gone thru the ice" as a kid growing up in Brooklyn, with brother Art luckily around to pull me out, I'm gunshy about roaming about on untested ice and tried to discourage Bill from venturing out there on the tidal river. No way did I want to try to get him ashore if he went thru the ice.

So he stomped about on the ice near shore and it seemed solid. We found an 8 or 10 ft long downed tree, protection from going thru the ice, tied both of our lines together, me holding one end, the other tied to Bills belt - and Bill crawled out on the river after the deer.

After unsuccessfully trying to grab a thrashing leg, he said the ice was solid enuff, untied our line and fashioned a loop to put over whatever he could snag and gradually horsed the deer toward shore. This took a lot of time as the line slipped off a leg, or the head, but eventually they reached the snowy fringe near shore. Once off the glare ice, the deer scratched about and was able to stand. It wasted no time saying thank you, and ran back the way it had come - up the hill and away from the river.

Bill was hot, sweaty, and tired from struggling to make it back to shore with the deer, said " that makes up for one of the four I shot before by mistake".

That earlier disastrous time when he shot four deer, thinking he was shooting at the same deer behind a stone wall , must have bothered Bill no end. Going out on that frozen river to save a deer in trouble was a risk I'd not want to undertake. More "Good Samaritan" than I...

Once thru the ice was enough for me.

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