Date of incident: 1960. Person wishes to remain anonymous, but this is his story:
When I was very young, my family went deer hunting every year. That was before Arizona was overrun with transplants (residents from other States), and hunting was just a matter of buying a license and a tag at the local Circle K or K-Mart. No lottery system like today where native Arizonans get drawn to hunt every eight or nine years apart. There were no restrictions to what area you could hunt once you bought a tag. You had the entire State to hunt!
My Family usually hunted the area around Springerville including Escudilla Mountains, Big Lake and Show Low which is now known as Area 1. The hunting event was a big to-do for the entire family and extended families. We would circle the eight or nine trailers and tents into a big family pow-wow and spent the whole week camping and hunting.
Usually, the men (the hunters) would leave camp very early before dawn to start the hunt, and most would return about lunch time. They would leave again after lunch and hunt until just before dark. Meantime the wives and children would spend the day around the camp cooking, cleaning, and washing the kids. The kids did their best to get dirty by playing hard within the circle of trailers and tents. The children were forbidden to leave the circle for safety reasons unless they were accompanied by an adult.
On one of these hunting trips, I was not quite old enough to hunt on my own, and I was waiting for my father to come back. He was going to take me out with him on the afternoon hunt. I remember listening for gun shots. We could usually tell who had a shot at a deer by the sound of the gun and the direction from which it came. Sometimes, it was possible to tell if the bullet hit or missed by sound when it hit a tree, rock, or the prey. My father hunted with a .264 Winchester Magnum, which had a very distinctive report. But, I had not heard a shot all morning.
Suddenly, two shots rang out from a short distance from our camp. It was close enough to hear the slap of the bullet hitting a tree or something hard. A few moments later, I heard what I thought was a freight train coming down the hill away from the shots but headed directly for the camp. I figured it was a big bull elk or buck. But, to my surprise, it was a huge hairy man.
To Be Continued…