A shocking lesson in hunting
I had a very shocking experience, recently, in my tenth season of hunting: I was shocked by an electric fence.
Now, I know, one of the first things they teach you in firearm safety is to treat a wire fence as if it’s turned on. I remembered that, and I was still shocked.
To my memory, my instructor never said that barbwire fences could also be electrified nor did he tell me I wouldn’t always hear the snapping or buzzing of the fence.
My shocking experience began with a gung-ho search for two big bucks my cousin saw behind his barn.
The two had blazed past me last year, but my bullets flying after them never found their target. Fast forward to this year, we were informed they were still out there.
I’d already shot a buck this year, so I was to drive the deer toward my dad. I don’t enjoy driving unless the woods are clear of brambles and thickets of buckthorn, but like I said, the bucks had us in a gung-ho mood.
Dad dropped me off at one end of the property before walking through the valley to a spot about a mile away. Now, it was my turn.
Plunging into the woods, I started stomping around, knocking sticks together, whistling, yelling and generally making any kind of noise to frighten the deer out of hiding.
Once free of the woods, I walked down into a cow pasture, where black Angus cows grazed quietly. They looked up at me in what I imagine was wonder. Taking sight of a small wooded area near the pasture, I tromped through there in hope of flushing out the deer.
After trekking up a steep hill without hearing a single shot fired, I decided the deer must have moved on or someone had already driven them out.
When I came upon a barbwire fence, I walked its length searching for a place to cross. Finding none, and unable to go under it as I normally would, I was forced to go over it.
I laid my gun down in the grass and placed my left boot on the bottommost wire. It was about this time I took note of the plastic insulators holding the wire to the posts.
Thinking nothing of it, I grabbed onto the metal post nearest to me with both hands and swung my right leg over the fence and that’s when I realized I’d made a mistake.
The only warning I had was a buzzing noise just before I felt the shock.
I don’t remember how I got back over the fence, but I’m guessing it was somewhere between a leap backward and a fall.
The back of my leg tingled where the wire had been. My foot also tingled where the bottom wire was on my boot. I realized I hadn’t passed out, gotten fried or died. I was okay and then I really started flipping out.
Hysterical, I started screaming, “Dad!” I didn’t stop screaming it until he walked nonchalantly up to me.
At this point, I was still afraid something would happen to me. I worried would suddenly keel over.
My dad asked what happened. I pointed to the fence, just barely getting words out. The realization dawned in his eyes as he put two and two together. I was still flipping out.
After he made sure I was okay, he told me where to go next: Through the red gate at the end of the electric fence, along another fence line and under the gate there. Walking along the fence line, I could clearly make out snapping and buzzing of the electrified fence.
Later I learned my other cousin, who also has electric fences, once told my dad that if he ever touched one of the fences, they would make him cry for a week.
I was okay, but I was shocked. I was still in shock, even as I walked into the next woods.
The shock itself had felt like one of those trick shock pens we used to joke around with in school. You click it once and the pen comes out, click it again and you get shocked a little.
It was just a little buzz, not even enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room, but I am shocked for life. Never again will I trust any kind of fence. Not even a wooden one, because too often farmers will put electric fencing up on those too!
Getting shocked by an electric fence, for the first time in 10 years of hunting, was an extremely shocking experience indeed.
- Have you ever been shocked by a fence?
- What lessons have you learned the hard way?
- Share one of your “oops” moments?
- Have you tagged a deer this year?
Jordan Gerard is a weekly reporter, avid fisher, hunter and photographer from Southeastern Minnesota. When she’s not running to an interview, she’s probably on a boat testing the waters. Find her blog at jordang360.wordpress.com .