I was heading west with our old Mack and a good load of machinery for Winnipeg late in September. It was a lovely fall day, sun shining, crisp and bright, and the old truck was humming right along. Just passed through Hearst and was back up to highway speed when there was a crash and glass splinters were flying everywhere - I also heard a thunk, thunk. Looked over and my passenger’s side front windshield had a small hole in the upper right corner, so I hammered on the brakes and pulled over to the side. I hopped over into the passenger’s seat to see what had happened and was just starting to investigate when I noticed smoke coming from the sleeper. Quickly pulled the curtain back and saw that my nice new Hudson’s Bay blanket was smouldering, and there was something shiny lying on it. I grabbed the shiny thing and pulled it out, burning my fingers, and dropped it on the floor of the cab. I smothered the smouldering part of the blanket to put out the fire. Once the fire was out, I started to look around to see what had happened. There on the floor,(where I had tossed it ), was a bullet and in my windshield was a bullet hole. The hole also went through the back of my cab and my sleeper, and there was an indentation in the padding on the back wall of the sleeper. The bullet had gone through my windshield, cab and sleeper and then did not have enough left to penetrate the back wall of the sleeper and had bounced off into my bed and being as hot as it was had started to set my bed on fire. I got on the CB right away and managed to get hold of someone who had a base unit. They contacted the OPP for me and had them head in my direction. The bullet by now had cooled off enough that it could be handled, so I picked it up and checked it out. It was a perfect 30 calibre 180-grain soft point bullet, looked like a standard Winchester bullet or something similar.
Little shaken, I got out of the truck and checked everything else, and then the Police arrived. The cop looked around at all the evidence and asked me what I expected him to do. He stated that some Moose hunter had probably taken a shot at a Moose and had missed, and it was just bad luck that the bullet had hit my truck. I asked him to at least fill out a police report so I could contact my insurance company and get covered for a new windshield. He wrote a short statement in his notebook, then gave me a case number and a notice that my windshield had been broken by a bullet. It also said that he was authorizing me to keep driving until I got somewhere that I could get a new windshield.
I put some tape over the hole in the back of my cab and also managed to get the sleeper hole plugged, but what about the windshield? I still carried a tire repair kit, so on the outside of the windshield, I put a small, one-inch square patch, and then stripped half an inch of rubber off the top of my windshield wiper so it would not snag the patch. On the inside, I put a 4-inch square patch to reinforce the windshield and then headed out again.
The next afternoon I pulled into the Falcon Lake scales and guess who got a Red Light. I was still collecting all my paperwork when Mr. DOT walked up to my truck and demanded to know what the hell was on my front window. It took about an hour with me explaining what had happened, showing him all my papers and then waiting for his call back to the Hearst OPP before I was allowed to leave. I was told that at the next scale I crossed, I had better have a new windshield, or I would be shut down and locked up. I delivered in the Peg the following day and then went right over to a glass company and had new glass installed.
Both my Dad and Grandpa were ex-soldiers, and they had taught me how to shoot, but it was Len, one of our drivers and also our next farm neighbour, who had instilled in me the need to always know, when shooting, where your bullet was going and if you missed where the round would impact. Unknown to most people is the fact that a 30-06/308 round will travel 13 miles if fired at the right angle, and even a lowly 22 will carry 3 miles. I was lucky that the bullet had not hit my side of the truck as even after penetrating the windshield, it still could have killed me. Guess you could call me “The one that got away.”