- Mendocino County
- Anderson Valley
by Maurice Tindall, December 5, 2012
Many years ago I was hunting in the Sherwood Valley area with a friend from Fort Bragg. We started early in the morning and had trouble right away. We had a big terrier named Snooper and a big hound who was a great deer dog. Before we could get them loaded and tied fast in the truck for the drive out, they found a skunk and attacked him with an usual result.
We finally retrieved them, cleaned them up and started out Sherwood Road. A few miles out the hound became sick and we had to stop and take care of him. A little further on Snooper got wind of a deer or saw one and leaped out. We didn't have his chain short enough so he hung by his collar out the truck for aways and he had to hop along on his hind feet until we got the truck stopped. It didn't seem to bother him much because when we got ready to hunt out near Sherwood Valley he was ready to go.
The area had been heavily logged and was very brushy. We had no luck finding any deer at first so finally we went over the hill and took a tour around the Valley. There were several different places with the old-time houses all built basically the same way with an upstairs balcony across the front and a lot of old-fashioned climbing roses. We made a circle around the Valley and started back out to try hunting again. We passed a man and a boy unloading hay near the road and they gave us a mean look as we went by although we were only driving along a country road. But they saw our two dogs sitting in the back. My friend said he didn't believe those people liked us very much.
Anyway, we went back over the hill two or three miles where there was a spring by the roadside. It was about noon and we decided to let the dogs loose for awhile because we were a long way from any habitation and we were on the west side of the mountain.
After a while a couple more young men drove up and we stopped to talk and offered them some coffee. They were also hunting although they had no dogs.
After a while one of them said, “If you are driving along the road and a buck walked out of the brush what would you do?” I said, “I would shoot him it wasn't near someone's house.” He said that he had done that back on the roadway, but wasn't too sure of his rights. So they went back and picked up the deer and came on back to our camp.
The deer those boys had shot didn't amount to much of a buck, only a small forked horn and not very fat. I dressed it out for them and they were pretty pleased. It was infested with liver fluke but I didn't tell them. It was this boy's first deer.
About a time a game warden drove up and those two characters from Sherwood Valley were with him. Evidently, they had heard the shot and called the law. The warden asked about the deer which was laying there in the shade and the young hunter readily told them all about it until we finally got a chance to tell him to keep quiet. But the damage had been done. We felt that there was a strong doubt that it was illegally shot.
Our dogs were still gone and my partner asked the young man if they had seen them as they drove up. But he got a very surly answer. So he told the young man that he expected more civility — in fact, he would insist on it.
While my friend walked up the road to see if he might hear the dogs, the warden was looking into the pickup under a canvas we had over our grub box. I told him that while it was not my vehicle and didn't think he should be looking into it. He replied that if he didn't think he had a right, he wouldn't be doing it.
About that time my partner and the dogs returned. Things were not on too friendly a basis as we thought the young hunters were being done wrong and we surely had little use for those two mean characters from Sherwood Valley.
The warden took the deer and had the boys go in to Willits. Being the middle of the day and warm, the dear probably spoiled. We never heard of the final outcome.
Many times we don't cherish our legal rights until we find out what they really are and we have been cheated. All too often a citizen is awed at the presence of the law and they lose sight of the rights given them by law. After that we went down on the river to a ranch where we planned to hunt in the afternoon. The people there had killed a very nice buck but it must have been one of the last ones in there. We searched all around but saw nothing and the dogs found no trails.