During my freshman year of college Mike and Bobby, two of the active members of my fraternity, invited me to accompany them on a night road hunt. I didn't have a clue what a night road hunt was but the older boys told me it would be great fun. Mike was the president of the fraternity I had recently pledged, and Bobby was the treasurer, so I figurered they must be trustworthy. I knew they were both well respected, both in our fraternity and on campus.
I met the pair in the parking lot of the fraternity house after dark. Bobby was armed with a 12-guage shotgun and I brought along my Remington 22-caliber pump action rifle. Mike had borrowed a 1957 Ford from one of the "brothers", so we piled in. I sat in the back, Bobby rode shotgun (no pun intended), and Mike drove.
The college we attended was in a small town about 50 miles southwest of Kansas City. It didn't take long to leave the paved streets of the city behind as we drove into the country on the gravel roads that crisscrossed the county in a one-mile grid pattern.
When we were a safe distance from the city Mike slowed the car to a stop. He turned around in his seat to look at me and said, "OK, this is how this works. You and Bobby will ride on the front fenders of the car. I'll drive real slow and when you see any animal eyes light up from our headlights you signal me and I'll stop the car. When I stop you and Bobby jump off the car and shoot whatever varmit happens to be standing in the middle of the road. Normally what happens is that, when we light up an animal they freeze on the spot. Whatever we shoot we'll clean and take it back to the fraternity house and put the meat in the freezer. Before the weather gets too cold we will have a huge wild animal cookout out back of the fraternity house. Last year he had enough wild game to cook that we fed everyone in the fraternity, about 90 guys. It's a tradition."
Feeling a little uneasy I joined Bobby on the hood of the car. I was on the starboard side of the old Ford and Bobby was on the port. We both chambered a round in our long guns and Mike took off down the road at a snails pace. We drove a couple of miles without seeing a thing, and I was getting cold. Mike stopped the car and Bobby and I hopped in. Mike said, "I know a better place to hunt."
Mike drove us to the city golf course and stopped in the parking lot. We all got out of the car. "I've never failed to shoot something here. I'll drive slowly around the treeline and I'm sure we'll scare something up. I'm going to leave the headlights off so nobody spots us. You should be able to see OK since the moons full."
Bobby took his place on the left fender, but I told Mike I was cold and I would just ride in the car for a while. Mike just shrugged his shoulders and then started following the tree line around the perimeter of the golf course. At one point he stopped next to a gate in the fence that ran along the southern boundary of the course. He got out and opened the gate, then got back in the car and said, "Escape hatch. If anyone sees us out here they will call the town cop. If he shows up we'll drive like mad to the back gate and leave him in our dust."
I was now beginning to have serious reservations about my decision to join these two nutbags. I was just about to suggest to Mike that we call it a night when Bobby signaled for Mike to stop. Bobby jumped from the front fender of the car and charged the treeline, aimed and fired. A rabbit charged out of the brush and made a mad dash for safety. Bobby fired again and missed. Mike turned the car parallel to the treeline and switched on his headlights. We could see the glow of the rabbits eyes about 50-yards away. I got out of the car and took aim with my 22. I figured I didn't stand a chance of hitting the rabbit so far away and in the dark. I pulled the trigger on the Remington and the rabbit jumped about 10 feet in the air.
"I think you got him!" exclaimed Bobby.
"No way" I replied. "I think I just scared him."
We all piled back in the car and drove towards where we'd last seen the rabbit. Mike found it almost immediately, a bullet hole through it's left eye. They both looked at me in awe. "Lucky shot," I said, but I was ready to roll.
Mike threw the rabbit in the trunk of the car. "We'll clean him when we get back to the house. Our gunshots may have disturbed the neighbors who live close by. Why don't you guys get back on the fenders and I'll drive slowly across the middle of the golf course to the back gate. If you see anything let me know. I'll leave the headlights on."
Bobby and I took our fender seats and Mike started a slow drive across the course.
Suddlenly, Mike yelled out the driver's side window, "The cop is coming. Hold on!" With that, Mike floored the old Ford and we went flying across the golf course.
"Lay down on the hood!" Bobby yelled at me.
I took his advice and laid back, my loaded gun across my chest, the barrel pointed directly at Bobby's head. I guessed we were probably moving about forty miles per hour.
The first bump Mike hit was a doozy. I flew into the air and so did my rifle. I sat up in an attempt to grab my rifle just as Mike hit a second and even larger bump. My rifle flew out of my hands and I flew off the front of the car. I actually hit the ground running, but I couldn't outrun the car.
I didn't feel the car hit me, but the next thing I knew I was rolling along the ground. When I looked up I could see the undercariage of the car. The front tire rolled over my left leg. My automatic reaction was to pull both legs back. My action saved me from being run over by the rear tire.
I tried to stand up but I couldn't. Every time I tried to stand I fell back to the ground. Mike had stopped the car about thirty yards away and Bobby ran back to me. "Are you OK? Are you hurt? Don't try to get up, just stay down."
I was shaking like a leaf. Mike just sat in the car. I'm sure he felt like he had probably killed me.
Finally, with Bobby's help I was able to get on my feet. I walked around a little and felt no pain. My blue jeans were covered with grass stain and mud, and the button above the zipper had been torn away. Mike approached with my rifle.