#23 – Early Encounters with Real Trouble – 1982

Written by Russell Burrows:

In all the time I had spent at the cave site I had never been directly accosted by anyone expressing an interest in why I was spending so much time in that area. I began to notice that during every visit I would meet a pickup truck or auto going in or coming out of the area, but I was never directly approached.

Several times I had seen a man standing along the roadside cradling a rifle in the crook of his arm. He never seemed to be looking directly at me, but I had the feeling that he was observing me, although he was always standing there looking out over one or another of the fields.

This fellow was not a very handsome man. He was walleyed and you just didn’t know where he was looking. I would guess him to be about six feet tall and he seemed to be a very rangy type of fellow. His teeth kind of made me think of a picket fence (when he smiled, which was not very often). The rifle he carried was a Remington ADL 7mm magnum, and that is a whole lot of gun. I could not figure out how he could shoot that thing but let me tell you, I have found out since that he can hit what he is aiming at. But as I said, I always seemed to see him at one end or the other of my visits.

After two or three months of this I began to suspect that I was not alone in those woods. I began to notice slight movements out of the corner of my eye that one wouldn’t expect to see, and there seemed occasionally to be a bump on the silhouette of a tree trunk that looked out of place and a few minutes later that bump would be gone and the tree would have a straight outline.

Then things really began to happen. Rifle shots fired, with the whack of a bullet hitting a tree just before I heard the crack of the rifle. Never too close, mind you, but close enough so that I started thinking about it. These were no stray bullets from hunting.

Up until that time I had carried a .22 caliber pistol with me so that I could put any snakes I ran across out of their misery.

I want to tell you about snakes in that area. We have prairie rattlers, and they are, without a doubt, the meanest and most ill-tempered rattlesnakes there are. They seem to go out of their way to get you and they will let you have it two or three times just for the fun of it. We also have copperheads and I hate them too, they’re just plain sneaky.

When this shooting started, I began to carry a little heavier caliber guns with me, like two of them: one a .45 and the other a .357 magnum. I also started carrying about ten pounds of ammunition for each one of them. You must realize that I had no cause to be thinking that I shouldn’t be there, no one had said anything to me and the property was not posted. In fact I had no idea who owned it.