Chasing Birds On a Saturday

It was a Saturday morning in the fall. It wasn’t raining, but it wasn’t real warm either. After all, summer was over, the days were getting shorter and the leaves were starting to fall. It wasn’t cold enough to go skiing. In other words, I had no idea what I was going to do that day. Just when I feared that my mom was going to ask me to rake the leaves, the phone rang. It was my friend Jeff. He wanted to know if I wanted to go hunting that day, naturally I said yes.

Jeff’s dad was an avid hunter who had plenty of guns and two hunting dogs. Both dogs were German Shorthairs, which is a good breed for hunting. Sally was the older dog; she had a bad case of arthritis in her two rear legs, so she was semi-retired from hunting. Betsy was young and hadn’t been on very many hunts, so she still had a lot to learn.

I went over to Jeff’s early on that Saturday morning not knowing what to expect. As soon as I arrived, Jeff got out two shotguns. One was a 12 gauge and the other was a 20 gauge. Sally, the oldest dog, absolutely went nuts as soon as she saw the guns. She started barking, running around the house, and waging her tail. There was no way that we could leave her behind as we originally intended.

We loaded the guns and the dogs into Jeff’s car and only had to drive about three miles to the field where we were going to hunt. Back then we were out in the country, but now, suburbia has taken over.

After we got to the field I noticed three or four duck blinds around the field’s perimeter. I figured that the farmer must rent the field to a hunt club during duck hunting season.

Jeff gave me the 20 gauge while he used the 12 gauge. I really liked the 20 gauge. It had very little kick and was light, so it was easy to carry.

We walked around the field and shot pigeons whenever they flew by. I had done some skeet shooting in the Boy Scouts, so shooting at a moving target was something that I was used to.

After we took a few shots, I was really glad that I didn’t have the 12 gauge. Jeff was an experienced shooter, but his shoulder was turning red, even though he was wearing a coat.

At one point, Jeff and I walked around some blackberry brambles. As we came around the back, a flock of quail took off. They were way too quick for me, so my shot missed. Jeff’s shot, however, got one, so I got to see where experience helps.

As we walked around the field, we could see a pigeon perched up in a tree. We both threw rocks at it because we figured it wouldn’t be very sporting to shoot a pigeon that was just sitting there. Rocks didn’t work and yelling didn’t work, so I shot it. Neither one of us wanted to take it home though because we were afraid that maybe it wouldn’t fly because it was sick.

Sally and Betsy pretty much did as we thought they would do. Sally was good at fetching downed birds, but Betsy didn’t know what to do. She picked up everything we shot, then she would take off running. We ended up retrieving a lot of the birds ourselves.

At the end of the day, we had 15 pigeons and Jeff had gotten a couple of quail.

When I got home, my mom called Jeff’s mom and found out how to cook the pigeons. I was surprised at how good the pigeons tasted. I was also pleasantly surprised that I didn’t bite into any birdshot. To this day, I still don’t know what happened to it.