Saturday, September 22, 2012

2012 Wild Game Feed

Another Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake has made it into the history books.  As usual it was a great success, and the organizers are to be commended.  I didn’t hear the final tally, but I believe there were somewhere between 1200 and 1300 men in attendance.  It has become normal for the tickets to sell out long before the event, and anyone privileged enough to receive an order form for the tickets is well advised to return it with payment as quickly as it is received.
 
I can’t begin to name all the events that took place during the day, but among the many attractions were an incredible display of trophies by the Safari Club International, a Gatling gun (fired on a regular basis), and a Sportsman’s Challenge with target shooting, archery, and casting.  The only events I participated in were eating, visiting friends, eating, cigars, eating, beer, and eating.
 
Now the countdown begins again for another year.  I can hardly wait.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hubie

I tried many times to have a dog, but for various reasons it never worked out.  One failure that still hurts over 40 years later was Hubie.  I had decided owning a dog was never going to work for me, and I would never own another one.  Then a friend moved away and left me his dog.
 
Hubie was a trained hunting dog.  I know he was a mixed breed with both spaniel and German shorthair, but in spite of having both flushing and pointer in his genealogy, he was most at home retrieving waterfowl.  He and I were good friends almost immediately. 
 
I had rarely hunted birds, and never before had I hunted water birds, but that was about to change.  As soon as the season opened, he and I took the canoe out to the reeds on a nearby lake and when the sun came up, the teal were flying.  I took a teal about 30 yards out, and Hubie climbed over the gunwales to bring it to me.  In about 2 hours I had my limit, and I knew we would be doing this again.
 
The second and third hunts were about the same as the first one, except that there were more ducks than teal, but all I could seem to score on were the teal.  Never the less, Hubie was all I could hope for in a hunting dog.  He and I managed to get in some quail hunting, and he was good at it, but the water was where he belonged.
 
We had time for one more duck hunt before the season closed, and at sunup we were in place among the reeds.  It wasn’t the place we had been on previous hunts, but it was close enough.  The reeds provided a natural blind with just enough space for me to watch the flyway over my half-dozen decoys.  It was a cold morning, but we were as warm as we could get in a canoe.  I had spread out a number of blankets for Hubie to lie on, and I had plenty of towels to dry off some of the excess water he would collect while retrieving my birds. 
 
The birds were there on time that morning.  I sat and watched the first few fly by without taking a shot, and Hubie let out a low growl of disapproval.  I finally raised my twenty-gauge and fired off a shot.  As the bird hit the water, Hubie jumped out of the canoe, and I heard the yelp.  I looked at where Hubie entered the water, and I saw the stick before I saw Hubie and the blood. 
 
As quickly as I could, I moved the canoe a few feet so I could grab onto the dog, but it was too late.  The stick had killed him almost instantly.  Bringing him back into the canoe, I guess I flashed back on all the dogs I had tried to own.  I know I cried.  I think I screamed out my anguish.  Other hunters quickly motored and paddled over to me thinking I was injured, but one look at my dog brought tears to most of them.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one to loose a dog in a similar manner.