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May 27, 2008

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Bourjaily on Ducking and Covering

The other day I was talking to John Clouse, who runs Ballistic Specialties in Batesville, AR. Clouse is a fine Beretta doctor, and he was diagnosing my balky 391 when somehow the subject turned to Clouse’s nose. Several years ago on a crow hunt, Clouse stoned a bird a ridiculously high distance in the air. He took his eye off the falling crow to exchange high fives with his hunting buddy. When he looked back, the crow hit him in the face, breaking his nose.

I saw a similar accident in Saskatchewan. We were hunting geese in a pea field, leaning against round bales of straw. My friend Tom folded a goose, found a second bird and was about to shoot it when the first one hit him square in the side of the head. When I looked over, Tom was on his hands and knees ten yards from the bale. A ten pound goose falling from 30 yards up could probably kill you if it hit you just right. At the time, Tom thought he had been shot. A year after the hunt he had so many headaches and so much neck pain he eventually had to have surgery. 

Tom blamed me (it wasn’t me, I missed, then my gun jammed) for years, but he realizes now he did this to himself. Ever since that day, whenever I hunt geese I shoot one, then look to make sure I know where all the falling birds are before I look for a second. Maybe I’m being too cautious – maybe those were the only two times in the history of hunting that falling birds hit people, but I doubt it. Has anybody out there ever seen a bird hit someone?


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This happened to my dog Max,.. a big happy Chessie ,.. in 1984.
I say happy as many Chessies back then had a bit of an attitude.,.but not Max,.. he liked everybody ,.. unless some other dog was trying to take a bird downed by our guns .
Then there would be a squabble , some growlling and whinning and the accompanying ARRR ARRR ARRR As the offending honorless animal made its way back to the his mutt of an owner.

Thusly,.. it was Nov,..
Hunting Geese (Granad River March WI) ,.. About and hour before shooting hours were over a big front moved in,.. ceiling dropped,.. wind picked way up
It quickly turned into as nasty a day as i can remember in the Marsh. Snow and sleet bagan to spit wind was howling
Birds were spilling in from all directions

Many were coming in on the wind ,. no circling just fast low landings,..
Never saw anything like it before or since just screaming in low ,..and skiding into the lee of the shore ,..

We were three that day ,.. and we dumped three Canada Geese in short order,..Limit was one each.
I sent the dog ,.
pretty sight,.. all the bird were dead and only about 30 -40 yd retrieves
On the last retrieve ( 3ird goose) buddy folded a big drake doing about warp 3,.. coming from right to left ,..
The drake hit max on the shoulder just as he was getting out of the water with the third goose.
Max waighed 110 LB most of the time and it Knocked him A$$ over tea kettle ,..
To his credit however he got up with a looked that said
WHAT IN THE " H " was THAT,.. shook off stood there a few seconds looking around for the unseen offender ,.. picked up the goose and brought it in.
Max was OK ,. but his shoulder was tender for a few days,..
After I had satisfied myslef no serious injury had befallen my beloved retriever ,.. the laugter set in.
Two buddies litterally could not stay on ther feet,...
They were laughing too hard,.
one was kneeling the other was on his back ,..both purple with laughter.

These guys had known Max his entire life,.. it was like they were his uncles rather than my friends ,..so not only were they familar with Max,. they were what you would call very familiar.
Max knew there cars if that helps

But it was the look on the dogs face that got em ( me too)
You see Max WAS a bit of a chacter,.. (my fault I spoiled him rotten) and The look on his face after he got smacked by that duck was something you would just have to see to believe.
Again my fault,. One of Maxes quirks was that after hunting he expectd a cheeseburger ,.
He pefered MC Donalds to be honest ,..that night he got two.

daddy d

i was deer hunting with my back to a tree and was so still that i had a chickadee land on my knee
also i had a canadian goose land on my arm and break my wrist

Dr. Ralph

Damn Yohan I had an English Springer Spaniel named Max who was sired by a field trial champion and I probably shot 1,000 quail over him... he used to share Snickers bars with me on the way back from the hunt. I would hold them in my mouth and he would take a bite from the other end sitting next to me in the front seat of a truck. May have been the first French kiss I ever got.

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