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A Sure Shot

Notes from the North Woods

Across the North Country, in local tamarack bogs, the tall slender stalks of Common Cottongrass have sprouted.  They have the appearance of  marshmellows stuck on sticks, which were mysteriously lost in a bog.  With large cotton-like flowers, the plant provides a natural caution flag to warn of potentially deep and dangerous bogs.

Across the North Country, in local tamarack bogs, the tall slender stalks of Common Cottongrass have sprouted. They have the appearance of marshmellows stuck on sticks, which were mysteriously lost in a bog. With large cotton-like flowers, the plant provides a natural caution flag to warn of potentially deep and dangerous bogs. Photo by Joe Hackett.

Suddenly, the bell went silent as the dog froze on point. We approached the location, with Richard’s son in the center, flanked by both of us. On command, the dog flushed a pair of pheasants, which immediately took to the wing.

Before I could shoulder my shotgun, two shots sounded in the still morning air, and two birds fell to the ground. The youngster had dropped both of them, before either his father or I could even get off a shot.

“Pretty good shooting”, I muttered to myself, “Maybe I’ll let the kid take a few more shots before I get serious.” It was a good thing I kept those thoughts to myself.

For the remainder of the morning hunt, the pattern continued. The dog would fan the fields, until the bell went silent as the dog held on point, quivering with excitement. On command, the dog would flush birds and the darned kid knocked them out of the air like clockwork. Richard and I were mere spectators and occasional cheerleaders

My initial cockiness quickly diminished, and I began to wonder if I would ever manage to get a shot off. Fortunately, I had an opportunity when a bird flushed immediately in my direction, and I took it with a single shot. Unfortunately, it was only shell I used during the entire outing.

Together, we managed to harvest all but one of the released pheasants. Richard took two, which both flanked left and his kid took the others. I was humbled, darn kid.

Later, as we sat in the cabin sipping hot chocolate, I told Richard how impressed I was with his son’s shooting. “He was truly incredible out there!”, I exclaimed, “You know, he’s a fine shooter, and he’s very smooth. He’s certainly got a great future ahead of him.”

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

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