By Richard Gappmayer, Jennifer’s father
My father loved the deer hunt. It wasn’t just the hunt, but the social activities that went along with it. It usually turned into a big male family outing. It included my father’s brothers, brothers-in-law, nephews, and sons. My aunt Edith would go along with us, but she was the only woman.
The preparations beforehand took many weeks and included collecting enough food and supplies for an army. The hunt started on a Saturday in October and would last for ten days. We would load the horses into the truck on Friday and proceed to the traditional camping site in the nearby mountains. The route took us up a canyon to a place called Diamond Fork and up that road until we reached a little area known as Dip Vat. At one time, sheep grazed there, and the dipping vat was used to remove parasites from their wool. The vat no longer existed but the name stuck.
The usual group of friends and neighbors would have arrived before us. Some of my uncles and other men would drink. They would soon begin to get silly and of course, stupid. My uncle M would get very boisterous and brag about his many physical exploits. My brother Leland challenged him to stand on his head in the little creek that ran by the campsite. M said that he could, and he made his way into the three-or-four-inch deep water. He put his hands down into the water and then his head. He tried to kick his foot into the air but all he succeeded in doing was to throw himself over backward into the freezing water and make a big splash.
By then it was time to get to bed so we could get up at 6:00 AM and head into the mountains to look for the wily deer. My brothers and I followed Dad on his horse. We trooped all over the mountains following deer trails. My aunt stayed in camp and read a book because she didn’t feel well. We saw nary a deer or any other animal. In the evening, we made our way back to camp, all worn out and unsuccessful. There in camp was Aunt Edith with a big buck hanging from a tree. She said that the deer had wandered into camp and so she shot it. So much for our male bravado.