The Legend of Preacher's Point
By Dan Infalt
A deep voice over the phone asked if I had placed an ad in the Florida newspaper looking for bow hunting clients for my guiding service. I said, "Yes Sir, I placed that ad."
The voice then asked every conceivable question about hunting Wisconsin's whitetails. At the end of the conversation he asked the usual question, "How much is this going to cost me?" I told him my fee was $400 for a 3 day weekend. The man then explained that he was a Preacher of a small congregation and that he could not afford much and asked if I could give one of God's friends a break?
There was a short silence, while I quickly thought it over. Hmmm, I thought, heck, this was my chance to get right with God! I get this preacher a good buck for the wall and that's my ticket to heaven. Sure, how about I knock $100 off the price?
"Sounds good Son," the voice said. "Is your 1st week available?"
I said, "Well that's my best week, and I am giving you a $100 break."
He said, "God would admire your generosity."
I swallowed hard and said, "Ok, I guess."
The Preacher said, "Thank you Son." Once again he hinted at getting in good with God. No, he didn't say it, but I could hear it in his voice. He then asked if he could stay with me for a week rather than the 3 days I had offered. He said he was only allowed 1 vacation a year, and he wanted to make sure he was successful bringing home meat and a trophy for his family. He said he would also have a feast for the poor families in his community. "Dan, you do want to help the poor families, don't you?"
"Yea, I guess so," I said.
"Good!" preacher replied. "Pick me up at the Milwaukee airport September 17th! Bye!"
He hung up before I could tell him pick-ups were extra. Oh well, this would surely make up for all the bad things I had done and all the church I had missed to sneak out hunting. Yep, I was going straight to heaven for this one!
Months later, a fat, old guy in overalls took me by surprise at the airport. He said, "You must be Dan! I'm G.W., the preacher."
On the drive back to Rome, Wisconsin, he started telling me all of his hunting stories. He talked of big mulies in the mountains, black bears in Ontario , and then he told of his last hunt for a Canadian Grizzly. I started to wonder if he went on that hunt for $300? He said, he had always been successful on every hunt he had been on. He said, the year prior to the hunt with me he took the biggest grizzly bear ever shot in that province. The outfitter was so impressed, he named the point where the bear was taken "Preachers point".
"Dan, My goal here this week is to make a 'Preachers point' right here in Wisconsin!"
I secretly wondered how an overweight preacher could be such a great hunter. I figured it must be his connection with God.
In the middle of the conversation the preacher just slumped over and fell against the door of the truck. I quickly pulled to the side of the expressway, thinking, "Oh my God, I killed the Preacher!!!! I am going to hell for sure!!!"
I ran around to the passenger side and opened the door to check his vitals. He had a pulse. I could see his chest rising and knew he was breathing. I used my thumbs to lift his eyelids up and check to see if his eyes were dilated.
He suddenly jumped up and shouted, "HEY! What the heck are you doing? Can't a guy even get a little rest with out being attacked by a crazy hunting guide?"
I apologized and said he would have been thankful if he were really dying. I wondered if maybe God could forgive that one. Heck, he must have a little bit of a sense of humor!
We finally got home and walked into the house as my wife was swearing at her pet potbellied pig that had wandered into the house. The words she used were unrepeatable, I said, "Honey!!! I'm home with the PREACHER!" (The preacher who was glaring at me over his glasses) I apologized, and explained that the pig must of really gotten her mad.
The preacher sat down at the kitchen table where we served him a roast coon dinner. During the middle of his meal he slumped over the table and started to make gagging noises. My wife said, "Quick, do something he must be choking!!!"
At first I didn't know what to do. I told my wife, "Last time I saved his life he yelled at me! And YOU cut the meat chunks too big!"
She said, "You can't just let him die!"
I ran around to the back of his chair and started the Heimlich maneuver. I could barely get my arms around him and had to get on my knees. I did 4 quick thrusts, nothing changed, he was now making loud gasping noises, I pulled him to the floor and did belly thrusts till he jumped back to life shouting, "What the HELL are you doing?? I was just sleeping!!"
"Oh my God, I made the preacher say Hell! My soul is doomed!!" I thought.
"Preacher, we thought you were choking on the coon!"
The WHAT???" He yelled. "You're feeding me COON????"
After he realized he would need me to guide him to his next trophy, and at the least, for a ride back to the airport, he calmed down and told me he has narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder characterized by brief, uncontrollable bouts of deep sleep! I apologized for trying to save his life again, and then we all went to bed.
The next morning I had a heck of a time waking up the old man, but finally he rose. He said he needed his rest and we would hunt in the evening. He finally got back up around 2PM giving us just enough time to get out to one of my favorite spots.
I took him to a spot where a point of timber coming off of a swamp island into the cattails made a perfect travel corridor. I told the preacher, "Every year the first guy to hunt this point gets a crack at a good buck. Maybe, just maybe, this can be the next Preacher's Point!!" I was thinking I wasn't even going to have to wait in line at the pearly gates. The Angels will certainly let the preacher's guide come right in after seeing this huge buck he shot from this spot!
I set up his stand and made sure he was belted in good in case he fell asleep. Then I quietly slipped out of the marsh.
When I got back, the preacher had a big smile on his face and said, "That buck came in just like you said! But I tried moving while he was looking at me and he bolted back into the swamp. I am looking forward to trying another one of these great spots tomorrow evening!" I started to wonder if my preacher was even capable of killing a deer.
The next few sits were uneventful and didn't produce any shooters. So I went out scouting in the morning while the preacher slept in. I found some really good deer sign coming out of a bedding area. Big rubs and scrapes showed the area definitely held a shooter. I took the preacher out there and explained the situation. He was excited and said if he got another chance he would make good on it. I helped him set up a stand quietly, then I quietly snuck back out.
Just before dark I slipped back in and sat down on a hillside a couple hundred yards from the preacher and looked with my binoculars to see if he had gotten anything. As I was looking I saw movement in the bedding area. A very large buck was heading right towards the Preacher.
Soon the buck was right under the preacher and was heading past. I waited for the shot, thinking any second now. But the shot never came. The buck just walked right by and headed up the hill towards me. I was not expecting the buck to come my way. He was supposed to get shot. Once he got downwind of my hiding spot he got alert and bolted back down the same trail he came out on, taking him right past the preacher as he ran back into the bedding area. I walked down to the preacher knowing the evening's chance was blown.
The preacher looked down and said "You just kicked a big buck past me!"
I said, "You didn't see him walk past you towards me?"
He said no, and confessed he may have been sleeping.
We only had one day left to make a Preacher's Point and give me a guaranteed spot in heaven. Of course, the old man wouldn't get up in the morning, so that left just evening hunts.
I started to take him to a remote woodlot way back in the marsh hoping for one last chance. About halfway back, the preacher stops walking and gets a funny look on his face. I new that look. I had seen it before. This was not a heart attack. Nope, the old man wasn't choking. I looked at him and said you gotta poop? He just nodded in agreement and asked, "Got any toilet paper?"
I explained that I did not carry it with me, but that I used it for tracking and had a roll in the truck. I told him to clench his butt cheeks as tight as he could and I would make a run for the truck. I ran as fast as I could and made it back in record time. He was still standing in the same position, but had a little more desperation in his face and a little more brown in his eyes. I handed him the paper and he hobbled off into the trees.
Suddenly the woods erupted with the sound of the preacher relieving himself, a sound burnt unpleasantly into my memory ever since. After quite some time, the preacher emerged and announced his hunt was over.
I put my hand on the preacher's shoulder and searched my sole for a way to describe the ordeal in an understanding way. Finally, I said, "I proclaim this spot from this moment on, "PREACHER'S POINT!"