By J.B. Salter
For The North Jefferson News
Editors note—the following article first appeared in the Dec. 7, 1989 issue of The North Jefferson News.
Daniel Boone was born November 2, 1734 in Berks County, Penn. He's thought to be the greatest of the American Outdoorsman.
In the year 1773, as Daniel, his brother-in-law and a few other pioneers were attempting to settle Kentucky, the party ran low on supplies. Daniel sent his eldest son James back to the settlement for supplies. James, who was 16 years old at the time, and his companion Henry Russell were only three miles from his father's camp when they were captured by indians and tortured to death.
The would-be settlers found them and buried them on the spot where they lay, wrapped in one of Rebecca Boone's linen sheets. Daniel visited the grave later only to find it had been disturbed by wolves. The great explorer and outdoorsman commented that this was the darkest hour with the deepest despair of his life.
Nobody knows how many times that scenario has been repeated over the years since that tiny group went about the grisly task of picking up the pieces and trying to carry on in a time of extreme hardship.
I remember the passing of fellow outdoorsman and hunter, Chuck Baker. Chuck was fortunate enough to have a father, Harold Baker, who still lives in the Piney Woods, who appreciates the great outdoors and passed along his knowledge to his son, along with a strict set of rules for safety, conservation and preservation without which we could not continue to enjoy the bounty of our forests and streams.
I was told that Chuck was taught so well, he became a better hunter and outdoorsman than his father. Sometimes when Chuck and his father talked about plans for their future hunts, they exchanged ideas for outsmarting the old mossy antlered buck, or the old Monarch Gobbler of the hardwoods that was sighted but never bagged.
As Chuck and his father talked about future plans and strategies, the conversation always drifted back to the Old Gobbler Chuck had sighted while deer hunting.
Of course, everyone knows that you can't hunt turkeys in most of the state until the spring. Chuck even told his father about the giant oak tree that he planned to use as a back rest as he called in the old Monarch.
As many people will remember, Chuck lost his life in a car accident just before the spring turkey season opened, and like Daniel Boone, Chuck's father buried him.
However, Chuck's father had an idea. He told himself he'd go into the woods and find that big old oak tree Chuck had always talked about.
As he made his plans, he decided he might as well carry the hunt for his son, and bag the old Monarch as a symbol of their partnership as hunters outdoorsman and above all, father and son.
As he gathered his equipment, mixed with some of his son's turkey callers, about two hours before daylight, he felt a presence around him as if he were not alone. He approached the large oak three by flashlight. Finally, he came upon the tree he determined to be the one his son Chuck had chosen. He felt he was accompanied by his son's spirit and knew he wanted to bag the turkey no matter what.
Calling on all his skills, patience, woodsmanship and helped by his son's spirit and the great spirit that makes it all possible, Baker bagged the old Monarch.
He had finished the hunt that his son had started. In doing so, he realized he would never hunt alone again.
This story is also dedicated to the memory of Glenn Allen Chandler, who passed at 22 years of age in 1984 and Michael Loebler, who also passed at 22 in 1988.
By J.B. Salter