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Arnold Dyre
 
A Commentary by Arnold Dyre

   I am sure that I am not the only one who remembers Clifford Marter’s deer named Buck.
   I guess it can be said that Mister Clifford did not put a whole lot of thought into a name for the deer, but it was indeed a buck and the name Buck did nicely.
    Buck resided for many years in a dog yard shared with Bardo and Mitch, two of Mister Clifford’s pointer birddogs. The dog yard was a large enclosure equipped with a really high fence situated beyond the Marter house, alongside Graysport Road. Since the dog yard was somewhat removed from the bait shop known as Marter’s Sporting Goods, many folks came and went without ever noticing that Mister Clifford had a deer in his dog pen but, from time to time, a passerby would come into the bait shop to ask Clifford if he knew there was a deer inside the fence with his dogs.
    Clifford would seldom pass on an opportunity to pull a good joke and frequently replied, “That dad-blame deer keeps getting in there. I built a high fence to try to keep him out, but he jumps it. He loves to eat the dog food.”

Cajun Deer
    I am not absolutely sure that I know the truth of how Mister Clifford came to have Buck. For many years, I was given to understand that a couple of fishermen from Louisiana had found Buck on the roadside next to his mother, where she had been run over by a car. The story was that they picked up the fawn and left it with Clifford when they stopped to rent a boat and buy bait before enjoying a day on Grenada Lake.
    However, more recently I have learned from Clifford’s daughter, Joy Marter Tippit, that her daddy got Buck from a farmer named Mr. Wright of the Sabougla area east of Gore Springs. It might be that the story about the fawn being brought to the store by Louisiana fishermen arose out of the fact that, at one point, the game warden advised Clifford that the laws of Mississippi did not allow a private citizen to have possession of a deer. Reportedly, Clifford told the game warden that Mississippi did not have jurisdiction of Buck since he came from Louisiana. That apparently satisfied the game warden, and there was no more talk of taking Buck away from Clifford.

Buck Loved Cows
    Over time, Buck became something of an attraction, and people would stop at the bait shop wanting to see the deer that stayed with the bird dogs. Joy states that before her daddy got Buck, the young Buck stayed with the Sabougla farmer’s cows, and that from time to time, Buck would jump the high dog yard fence and go looking for cows to visit.
    Joy recalls on at least two occasions she took telephone calls at the bait shop from Mr. Burl Williams and one of the Petty boys advising that Buck was grazing with their cows just down Graysport Road a piece. It was relatively easy for Clifford to retrieve Buck by putting a little sweet feed in a paper sack and letting Buck sample a little, and then leading him back by walking to the dog yard while shaking the paper sack.
    On account of Buck’s becoming used to being fed out of a paper sack, there came about a rather amusing incident involving Buck and a fisherman who went to fish down Red Grass Creek.
    Clifford had come to the point of letting Buck out of the dog yard during the summer months while keeping the deer up religiously only during hunting season. The Red Grass Creek area down near Grenada Lake’s flood pool was Buck’s established domain. Most of the folks who lived in and around Gore Springs knew about Clifford Marter’s deer; however, it came about that one particular fisherman who knew nothing about Buck drove down Red Grass Road and found a spot to park near the water and was experiencing a pretty good day of bank fishing where the lake was backing up into the creek.

Surprised for Lunch
    At lunch time, the man sat on the tailgate of his truck and broke out the lunch that his wife had packed for him in a paper sack. As soon as the man started rattling around in that paper sack, ole Buck came out of the woods and walked right up and stuck his nose into the man’s paper sack lunch.  The fellow did not notice Buck until the deer had stuck his head in the bag, and apparently the man just about died!
    He was still very excited when he got to the bait shop and tried to explain that he had been attacked by a huge buck deer while he was eating lunch on the tailgate of his truck. Of course, Clifford acted like he doubted the man’s sanity and never let on that he knew anything of the culprit.
    Joy says that, if there was anything that Buck liked to eat better than sack lunches or sweet feed purchased at the local co-op, it was kudzu. Joy’s younger brother, Buddy, would cut and gather kudzu and feed it to Buck in the dog yard.
    Joy further reports that her father saved most of Buck’s antlers, which were shed each year, and eventually mounted the best set produced at the peak of his prime. Now, years later, after both Buck and Clifford are gone to their respective rewards, Joy and her husband, Yalobusha County Justice Court Judge Gary Tippit, have Buck’s antlers displayed above an archway in their home near Enid Lake.
    One day, Judge Tippit was adjusting the mount when it accidentally fell and hit him just beneath his left eye, striking the bone near the corner of the eye and causing a prominent shiner. Judge Tippit presided over court the next day and the days that followed without ever uttering a word of explanation to curious onlookers who wondered how the right proper judge got such a humdinger of a black eye.


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Grenada, MS
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