By CHAS. HARTMAN
THE hunting in Missouri woods was fine. The whistling of quail was continuous and in my stealthy, slipping along, I would surprise numerous squirrels that would bark their surprise at me but no shots were fired. I was after larger game.
Walnut hollow was reached. My bird dog showed increased anxiety on the turkey trail. I knew they were close at hand. A hazel patch in front, I knew would be about the place I would likely find my game. Slowly my dog worked ahead of me. Stopped at times on a set. The bushes were scarcely reached when Sport came to a rigid set. My double barrel was ready for them. Looked to my left, out ran a monstrous big gobbler. I cut him down at 40 paces; a dead shot. At the report of my gun, several turkeys flushed up. I selected another nice young gobbler and tumbled him in a tree top, but the largest gobbler flew away. I spotted him down where he lit on the point of a ridge. I picked up my two dead turkeys, I hid them, then lined out for the big one. On reaching the place where I expected to find the trail, I saw an old tree uprooted and small shrubbery grown up about it; an ideal place for him to hide, but he wasn't there, and in passing under a-tree a small piece of bark fell on my hat. I looked up expecting to see a squirrel, but there stood the gobbler just on a spring to fly. My gun flew to my shoulder, but too late.
He passed behind a tree, then emerged again. A quick shot and he passed on, but feathers came drifting back. I knew I had hit him. I took the course again, sending Sport on ahead to hunt. Going some distance I heard Sport tree. I hastened to him and coming close up, I spied a turkey's tail sticking out past the opposite side of the tree. Sport began to whine and bark. PutPut came to my ears from the turkey. I said, "alright, I'll put a load to you in a moment," and I did and at the crack of my gun he pitched head first off the limb to the ground. Sport was on him in a jiffy and he sure was picking that turkey mighty fast. It looked like a feather bed in that little plot of woods. I pulled Sport off and held him at arm's length until I picked up the big Old Bird, looking pretty ragged. But Gee! what a fine bird, eleven and one-half inches, beard flowing from his massive breast. Sport wanted to take another turn at him and finish picking him, I guess, the way he acted. But I said, "no old boy. you have done enough already," and he seemed to understand and I let him loose, to caper his delight, to show me he was pleased. I will say here Sport was an uncommonly wise dog and seemed to understand nearly every word spoken to him in the hunting pursuits and was a. genuine all-round hunting dog for birds or animals.
1 shouldered my last bird and proceeded a half mile return trip to the two first turkeys killed. I placed the three together and viewed them over and a finer trio would be hard to find than those three. I had left my horse a mile or more from where I killed the turkeys. I decided to get a few quail and take home with me also, so I put Sport to work and I soon had a fine covey located and for twenty minutes I had some fine wing shooting and bagged a nice bunch that I took back and piled up with the turkeys. Cutting across through the woods, I soon reached my horse, also, the game. A few minutes later my horse was pretty well loaded, when they were tied to the saddle.
I was satisfied with my hunt and rode for home, arriving without shooting any more, although the temptation was great. Many bunches of quail were seen on, the way home but I said, "No, I have enough," Some other day may do to hunt that flock.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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