This section is from the book "Moose-Hunting Salmon-Fishing And Other Sketches Of Sport Being The Record Of Personal Experiences Of Hunting Wild Game In Canada", by T. R. Pattillo. Also available from Amazon: Moose-Hunting, Salmon-Fishing and Other Sketches of Sport: Being the Record of Personal Experiences of Hunting Wild Game in Canada.
To commemorate this grand outing the birds were hung up in front of the house, the gunners were placed in suitable positions, and the "kodak" brought into requisition.
Then they were stowed away in boxes and packed in bags, ready to be removed to Wallace the next morning, provided provided what ? that the ice between us and the mainland moved out. It was then so rotten as to be unsafe to cross; nor could we work through it with boats. This was our position when we retired Friday night one of uncertainty; so you can imagine all were pleased to find the channels in both harbours open to boat navigation the next morning. At seven o'clock our boats were loaded, and half an hour later Derry Island was bade adieu by the writer and his pleasant companions, realizing that this outing had transformed us into vigorous men, and given us a new lease of life. Our birds were weighed at the station, and totalled upwards of 700 lbs., several] being over 12 lbs., and there were a hundred geese besides those we used. Some thirty of our friends were remembered in the distribution, and the balance sold to a poultry-man in one of our principal towns. This sale realized sufficient to pay every expense of the outing, and we separated, feeling that the last twelve days had been amongst the happiest of our lives. The success attending this cruise is so much out of the ordinary luck of sporting mortals, that some of the unfortunate ones may consider it is exaggerated; nevertheless, it is strictly true.
The wonderfully successful outing recorded above became widely known amongst our sporting friends, and little persuasion was needed to induce them to travel hundreds of miles to participate in the sports and pastimes Derry Island and its vicinity usually afforded. So April 4th the following spring found us there again that is, S. and the writer, with a friend from New York, and another from Toronto. These shall be known in this narrative as Pat, Bac, Gun, and Bob, with our helpers, Will, Jack, and Jonah. This season was as unseasonably early as the previous one had been late, consequently, the Canadian geese we expected to meet here as before had preceded us a fortnight, and only scattering small flocks were lingering. Fox and Wallace harbours and rivers had been open several days, and Northumberland Strait was free of drift ice, so that the geese had open feeding-ground everywhere.
It was difficult, for want of ice, to approach in our ice-boats the few seen; nor did they come to Derry's Well, so that the days passed by without producing very satisfactory results. Yet we were encouraged by the knowledge that brants were behind, and might be expected in large bodies any day. We were living like fighting-cocks on the fat of the land: oysters, clams, cohawks (I am doubtful if that is right), razor-fish, blue-wings, roast beef, baked beans, filling in the gaps by reading, smoking, yarning, and playing forty-fives. Of course you do not know what they are. If not, then guess. Each morning the horizon was scanned with the glasses, in the hope that the long looked-for had come at last; but not they. On the Monday forenoon of the second week a large flock of geese, a couple of hundred at least, was observed feeding on a clan-spit, in a deep cove, half a mile to the east of the island. How to get a shot at these at once became the exciting question. If not disturbed, we felt reasonably sure they would be on the same ground the following tide, so we began to plan an attack upon them accordingly. The most feasible way of approaching them to within shot seemed to be by lantern and reflector, especially as the nights were pitchy dark. This plan was decided upon, therefore, while Fat and Jack undertook to get the necessary gear ready, by making a box sufficiently large to accommodate a railway-engine reflector and lantern, which we intended using. Thus equipped, and the box securely attached to the bow of a gunning-punt 13 feet long, with four thwarts, we considered ourselves ready for the performance when the tide suited. Now, all of us could not go on this murderous cruise, so the hardest-hearted fellows were selected Pat, Bac, and Gun to do the slaughtering, while Jack, the courageous scout, was to pole them to those unsuspecting birds. " Old gander, if you could only hear what these companions of mine are saying, you would not stay out there 'houking,' but get up and get away quickly. Why, there's Bac has a dozen of you down already with the double discharge of his trusty No. 8, while what Gun is planning with his trusty circle-shooter I hesitate to name here, but suppose you ought to know. Have you ever heard of the gunner that was sitting in the corner of his old-fashioned fireplace, loading his old Queen Anne, and, just as he had the powder rammed, he heard the 'houk!' of one of your family overhead. Leaving the ramrod in to supply the place of shot, he fired up the chimney, and strung you up by the dozen! Now, Gun is not going to treat you so cruelly, but listen, he told Pat just now that he was going to lay you out in windrows. I just think that is awful, and told him so. Would you think it, the cruel fellow just laughed at the prospect of the fun for him, without the slightest consideration for you. Linger a little, and you will hear more plotting. There is that Pat, who always boasts of the way he knocked spots out of you last April, is worse than cross to think the bulk of your relations stole a march on him this year, and got away before he came. You can see the murder in his eye by the machine he has rigged on that boat to blind you. If my spectacles would help you out of the terrible trouble confronting you, my sympathy of soul would send them ahead to you. Pat, by working ingeniously on the generosity of his friend Gun, has got his consent not to fire until he has stopped his score or more. The only hopeful escape I see for you is that the recoil of his No. 8. blunderbuss may knock him overboard, which it occasionally does. Poor birds ! It is well you can't see into the future, or you would take out life and accident policies."