THIRTY MINUTES OF GOOD BROADBILL SHOOTING IN BRIGHTMANS POND
Fellow Sportsmen, as an excuse for writing this article I will say that I have always been a great lover of outdoor sports especially hunting and having always read all the sporting magazines available. I think perhaps some of you might be interested in one of my hunting trips. Hence the following:
It was an exceptionally warm day for mid October. The sun was doing its best to offset the inevitable chill of the season, and Fred Kaithel and I were dozing in the blind, debating whether to call off the hunt or to remain and take a chance on getting a little afternoon shooting. The weather was so fine that the birds were not cruising, but were dozing out in the shallows, where they were safe. The morning shooting had been very tame. In fact, we had killed only one merganser, although we knew that there were hundreds of broad-bills on the pond.
At last we decided to go back to the shack for dinner, and to return to the blind later •n the day. Then, if the ducks did not fly, Fred volunteered to leave me in the blind, row around the birds, and, if possible, drive them my way.
On returning to the blind, things turned out ju5t as we expected. Not a shot did we get so about two hours before sunset Fred put out in the boat to scare up the birds.
0! Man! I can truthfully say that the next half hour afforded me the best shooting I ever had; better than I will ever again enjoy; and, by heck! Better than I ever want to have again! If you can imagine flock after flock of broad-bills swinging by at about -25 yards and yourself in the blind with a good old Ithaca and lots of ammunition, you will know lust what seventh heaven of hunters' paradise I was in. I had them coming and going; head on and straightaway: angles and curves galore! And when the old Ithaca spoke, how they did tumble!
Soon the water out in front of the blind was covered with dead ducks, and while I was looking them over. I noticed that the tide had turned, and was carrying them out toward the ocean! Put yourself in my place, and imagine how I felt to see those ducks drift slowly down the beach, round the bend out of sight, and sail on toward the old Atlantic. There I was, marooned on a little Island. Fred had the boat, and the water was too deep for wading!
How I longed for Fred to come with the boat! Long after the birds had stopped flying? There was no sign of him.'
Soon my spirits rose, however, for I saw a fellow put off in a boat a little way down the shore of the pond. I hailed him, but received no answer. I fired my gun. But no answer. And then 1 longed to be within reach of him. For he coolly rowed out into the beach, picked "P some of my dead birds, rowed ashore, and disappeared over the sand hills!
All evil things, as well as all good, must nave an end. And soon I spied Fred coming down the pond. You can bet he was a welcome sight. Slowly he rowed up to the blind and looked all round. "Well, where are your birds." he asked, seeing only two or three that had not drifted off.
You can bet it didn't take me long to tell him; nor did it take him long to row down the beach and around the bend. And there, GLORY BE! Strung out along a friendly sand bar, and almost within sight of the ocean, were my ducks. Lucky? Well, I guess! There were thirty-three as nice broad-bills as one could wish for.
Game Hog? Well, perhaps; but that was several years ago, before the Federal Game Laws went into effect, and before I had learned the important difference between enough and a superabundance. How many boys like myself there were at that time, who thoughtlessly did their best to kill every bird they saw! I can realize now, however, what inroads we were making in the ranks of our feathered friends, and although I will always remember this hunt as the best shooting I ever had, I am glad that the Federal Law limits us to fifteen ducks in one day. That is enough, a good liberal amount.
If any of you still doubt the efficiency or advisability of the present game laws, just watch the spring flight of waterfowl. You will see thousands of ducks and geese; where ten years ago you saw hundreds. The future of our waterfowl is assured, and is a happy one.
Now just a word about guns for — I have used many guns; of many different makes, bores and lengths of barrel. Nearly all of them would kill a good percentage of game, if rightly aimed, but I have one gun to which I pin my faith; one that has never gone back on me. That gun is my little old 26-inch barrel 12-ga. Ithaca. When she speaks she means business, and woe the duck that ventures within 4o yards of her.
I bought this Ithaca more than ten years ago, intending to use it for a brush gun. One day I gave it a trial at ducks, and O Boy! She sure could pull 'em down. I have always used her since when hunting ducks. During those ten years I have shot all kinds of loads, some as heavy as 32 grains of infallible. Hundreds of ducks and several geese are to her credit to say nothing of quail, partridge, woodcock, rabbits and squirrels and when I want to be reasonably certain of a long shot I take my old Ithaca, as she has pulled off more long shots than all the other guns I ever owned or -shot.
So you see, boys, it is not policy to discard a gun just because it has short barrels. Give it a fair trial. Length of barrel is doubtless necessary in some guns, hut I guess that makes a difference in the quality of the Run. Of course we all know that the best gun is no good without a good man behind it but anyone who is a fairly good shot also knows what a good gun really is. Every man to his own choice, but my choice is an Ithaca.
Charles L. Bliven, R. I.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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