Today's News-herald story on the death of 91-year-old Felix "Fritz" Neubauer includes several reflections on the life of the cantankerous Geauga County sportsmen, Labrador retriever owner and conservationist.
Anyone and everyone who spent any time at all with Fritz has at least one or two good stories to tell. Myself included.
Many moons ago Fritz had invited me to participate in one of the drives he annually hosted at his Burton Township hunting reserve. The drive was for later in the general firearms deer-hunting season.
This also was way back when Ohio deer hunters still used smooth-bore shotguns firing Foster-type slugs; neither of which were was conducive to accuracy.
Anyway, I was positioned at the edge of a swamp; me holding my late father's smooth-bore Browning A-5 shotgun much more suitable for killing rabbits than white-tails.
A doe came running past at pretty close range and I uselessly fired three or four rounds at the escaping deer. Fritz was none too happy with my effort and totally ignored my pleas for mercy.
On toward evening Fritz posted me in a rather comfortable hand-built tree house, instructing me not to come down until he fetched me.
Well, the hours went by and it got beyond legal shooting time, entering early nightfall.
I climbed down out of the stand, walked through the darkening woods and hiked up the rutted, gravel road to Fritz's house/hunting lodge/and whatever else you want to call it.
There sat Fritz, who figured he was going to teach me a lesson.
I felt pretty sheepish then and still do now though I continue to chuckle at my error and the resulting chastisement from Fritz.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn