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THE HUNTER'S PERIL
By David L. Falconer

  I donít believe in UFO conspiracy theories and the study I did of Project Bluebook files left me bored to death, but there is a phenomena that is real in Americaís hunting woods and it seems primarily targeting hunters. I am not making this up, it is real and 60 Minutes and 20/20 have totally overlooked the significance of the phenomenaís existence!! I write this today in hopes that I am not alone in cataloguing this clue to a higher power, a mystery that deserves to be answered and possibly revealing a hidden danger that each of us face as hunters in North America. Let me start this with an example.

  I hunt with a friend of mine I will call Kevin (His name actually is Kevin) and I can remember at least two times since we have hunted together in the past five years that Kevin entered the woods prepared to hunt Oklahoma Whitetail: a Winchester .308 rifle, blaze orange hat and vest, long sleeved camo sweatshirt and scent suppressant camo pants with water-proof boots, a grunt call hung around his neck. We parted ways at the truck, each of us heading to his respective stand with the hope of taking a trophy buck. Each time we have done this, nothing has marked the two times something happened as different or ominous. Yet, the results were the same. Around noon, Kevin would walk from the direction of his stand to the truck attired pretty much the same way he entered the woods, but with a sleeveless camo sweatshirt!!! That is right!! His sleeves had disappeared all the way to his shoulders! I donít mean they were just gone, but they had the look that someone had taken them off at the seam with a laser or a sharp instrument like a razor.

  The first time I brought this up I noticed his eyes dart away nervously, a scowl of some faintly remembered discomfort briefly flashing across his face. He tried to dismiss my observation nonchalantly claiming he often wore sleeveless shirts because as the sun came up the day grew warmer, but I told him I distinctly remembered him entering the woods with sleeves on his shirt. He was quiet, almost sullen when I brought it up later and I could see that it was not a subject that he would openly discuss with me, a friend of many years.

  Something had happened to my friend.

  Certain that Kevin had experienced an event that may have traumatized him, I was happy to see he was ready to hunt the next day with no seemingly ill effects. I did not bring up the disappearance of his shirt sleeves through lunch and during the evening hunt Kevin killed a nice doe. We dressed it quickly, Kevin letting me skin it as I am a little quicker than he is at skinning a deer as long as I have a sharp knife like Kevinís and we checked it in at the local check station, stopping at one of the grills across the highway for a burger before going home.

  Some of the locals were old friends and we talked about the hunt and I decided that Kevinís experience might be easier to handle if others had experienced similar events while in the hunting woods. I mentioned casually that Kevin had gone into the woods the day before with a long sleeve shirt and came out with a sleeveless shirt and the locals erupted in laughter. Kevinís face turned red and he ducked his head, his eyes burning holes right through me. I was shocked by the localís reaction to Kevinís trauma and I quickly paid for dinner, mollifying my friendís anger a bit at my seemingly indifference to his pain.

  As we drove home, he asked me not to mention it again in public. Deciding that his change in character warranted investigation I got out my old UFO encounter books, watched some of the Project Blue Book files and I came out with the only conclusion. Aliens had abducted Kevin. From all the tales I could find, it appeared that aliens preferred hunters and men accustomed to the rigors of the country life. For some reason aliens preferred the rough-hewn men of the woods over soft, slender runway models, professional athletes or even Republicans. Kevinís aversion to explain what happened to him was natural from the drug-induced trance many of the people professed to being in when the aliens were doing their thing to them.

  Sadly, I also figured out why he was increasingly hostile. Aliens prefer a method of study known in scientific circles as anal probing. Kevin had gone on an everyday hunt, had gotten probed and then had his shirtsleeves swiped with little or no memory of the occurrence. Hell, he had not even seen a deer!!

  It is important to remember Kevin was armed and not a single shot was fired the day his sleeves disappeared! This in itself suggests a power and technology above our own.

  I really felt bad about exposing this to the locals in my innocent attempt to bring solace to my friend.

  Thanksgiving is right in the middle of gun season in Oklahoma and Kevin was unable to hunt over the holiday weekend, but my friend Brentt from Texas was coming up. After buying the necessary tags, he said Kevin had mentioned that he had a good stand and Brentt was welcome to hunt in it. I was immediately faced with a dilemma! Do I tell him what happened to Kevin or do I keep my mouth shut?

  Based on the fact that aliens are normally not from our planet, I decided there was little chance of Brentt being accosted in the same manner Kevin had been earlier in the week. The first dayís hunt went well, Brentt had seen many deer, but opted to wait for something worth hanging on the wall. We had decided to camp out and we heated some chili I had made earlier in the week and kept on ice for supper that night. It was a nice night and we woke early, ready to hunt the holiday morning and then go to my house where my family was preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

  Brentt donned his orange vest; his long sleeve camo shirt remarkably like the one Kevin wore on that fateful day. We left the truck and I glanced at him, unknowingly picturing him in a way that would not be the same as he returned.

  Shortly after dawn I noticed a large 8-point trying to slip past my stand, angling across the flat bench I had been watching. A well-placed shot filled my tag and I walked back to the truck, unloading my 4 wheeler and retrieving the deer. I had hog dressed the deer when Brentt came stumbling from the woods, his face ashen as he held his gun in his left hand. His brow was beaded with perspiration, his eyes reddened as if he had had a major strain on his body. His orange vest was gone, but he appeared otherwise intact as I rushed to him.

  "Whatís wrong?" I asked and he just shook his head, rolling his eyes. I took his rifle, ejecting the magazine from the receiver and the round from the chamber before putting it in the back seat of my truck.

  "I donít feel right," he mumbled, climbing into the seat of my truck, facing out the door as he opened a bottle of water, drinking it with slow, long swallows that emptied the bottle in seconds.

  "What is wrong?" I asked.

  "I think it was the chili," Brentt said, obviously devising a cover for his confusion.

  "Where is your vest?" I asked, my eyes noting the now recognized reluctance in my friendís eyes, the hesitant manner as he struggled to put vaguely remembered memories into words.

  "I . . . Iím not sure," he stammered, wincing gingerly as he swiveled on his buttocks to put his feet on the floorboard. I hastily averted my eyes as I observed the very evidence I needed to confirm my suspicions! Brentt had been abducted and the aliens took his vest!! The deep painful wince on his face as he turned in my truck sadly confirmed that he too had been violated in the same heinous manner as Kevin.

  More savvy in the ways of handling the recently abducted, I did not pressure Brentt as he sat quietly, trying to gather his thoughts over the brain-numbing events that he tried so valiantly to piece together. A few times as we drove home he would lurch, hugging his stomach and moaning at some residual memory of his experience that the aliens had missed when erasing his mind of the occurrence.

  Brentt spent the holiday in bed, his nerves shot and his constitution divested of the amazing strength he had shown just the evening before in camp. The next morning he did not hunt, deciding through the night to go home after a fitful night of sleep.

  I did not hunt Friday; my doe tag lying unfilled on my kitchen table. Saturday morning I awoke before daylight and with a determination to set things right I strapped on my .44 Magnum pistol beneath my hunting coat and got the old .30-30 out of the gun cabinet.

  At daylight I was sitting in Kevinís deer stand, my eyes watching a trail that followed the length of the bench and the intersection of another trail from below the hill. My hand remained close to my handgun, my eyes sharply on the lookout for aliens.

  By 10 AM I had seen two smallish bucks and a doe that never presented a shot that insured a clean kill and I was getting tired. Climbing down the ladder when my feet hit the ground my stomach cramped and I felt in my pack for my toilet paper. Grumbling to myself as I found that it was missing, I remembered my wife had used it on a fishing trip and obviously never put it back. I walked back towards the truck until I could almost see it when I finally doubled over with cramps. Drawing my knife and taking a big sigh, I stepped off the trail to take care of business.

  My wife giggled as I complained to her that one of the functions of a proper hunting or fishing partner is to always make sure there is toilet paper in the daypack. Lying in bed, a smoozy romance novel in her hands, she said, "So am I going to have to buy you a new pack of underwear?"

  "No, I have plenty," I replied, my face blushing. She was unmerciful when she got started.

  "Did you cut up another pair of underwear?"

  Biting my lip, I said, "Had too. Did not have anything else to use."

  "How about the sleeves on your shirt?"

  I got real quiet, my eyes squinting as I studied my wife anew. Everybody knows if you donít have toilet paper in the woods that you cut off your underwear so no one knows your predicament. It is one of those things men know, that they don't have to be taught! My wife was from this area and as I thought about it I realized that I had not had any intentions of getting married when I met her 20 years ago. Her eyes seemed to glint in the light of the reading lamp beside the bed and I swallowed hard. Was it possible that the reason I had never been abducted was because I was married to one of the aliens?

  She laughed again at my silence and I realized that after 20 years of marriage that she knew how to tease me and she was no more an alien than I am. Besides, when she went to her sisterís house that night I went through every dresser drawer she had and I could not find a single sleeve or extra hunting vest, though I did find two pairs of shoes I didnít know she had.

  My point is whatever causes this phenomena is still out there and the only way to protect yourself is to be aware, donít hunt alone and if your partner SHOULD happen to stumble from the woods with no sleeves when he had sleeves before -- be sympathetic to his plight and his recent experience. If he seems a little grouchy just remember you would be too if a couple of little green men had just went home with pictures of your innards as a trophy!


About The Author: David is an avid outdoorsmen who grew up in eastern Oklahoma. He has hunted, trapped and fished his entire life. David also has a love of writing and has written two novels, The Realm Of The Wolf and The Realm Of The Wolf 2: Law Of The Wolf. David and his wife Sheila live in northeast Texas only a couple of hours drive from his hometown and his ranch. He has a daughter that is attending college.

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