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.
Well, I got out of that dilemma and got to the shore as quickly as it was possible in my unworkable apparel, not even stopping, after landing, to bid the old mischief-maker a final adieu, but left her, hoping the next fellow that sailed in her might have a similar happy experience to mine. You see, I was not even inclined to be selfish ! Well, to end up this morning's sport I was forced to do penance by walking in my stockinged feet from the shore of the lake to the house, with my back heavily laden with thirteen ducks, six mallards, four teals, and three blue-wings, with the waders added. My friend was also loaded, having secured as many as he could carry. The road was much longer returning to the house, and I wished for my pony a great many times to help me out, for I was completely done up. After a change of apparel, followed by a roasted wild-goose dinner, and a couple of hours' sleep, I was as good as new, and ready for the lake again; but we had planned in the morning to be on the route of the geese from the lakes in the afternoon, so, with the horse and waggon, we started at three o'clock, taking a spade and shovel to dig pits for the following morning's use.
After driving about three miles, we spied a flock on the wing crossing over a fence some 400 yards away, so we halted and tethered the horse, then concealed ourselves under the waggon, for we knew the flock we had seen was the precursor of others, as was afterwards proved. As many as fifteen flocks within half an hour passed on the same course. When we were assured the ground was clear for work, we approached the range, and dug two pits, 60 yards apart, the one a little to the east of the other, as the birds came from the west. The pits had to be large enough to allow us to sit down, and we had to be more than cautious that we left no new ground in sight, as the grey goose is a grand detective, and will not come within range of anything strange to him. In order the better to deceive them, we went some distance away and pulled stubble, placing it around and about the pits. This done, we felt satisfied there was some fun ahead for us.
The next morning, some time before daylight, Dobbin was harnessed and we were on the move, leaving Ready behind, as we had no way of concealing him. The horse was left some distance away, tethered, and we were in our blinds just at the peep of day. We were scarcely placed when I saw a flock on the horizon sailing towards us. " Look out, Harry!" (that was my companion's name). " There is a flock coming direct for us." As they approached they were so low and so near, only about 25 yards away, we could not make an effectual shot, So I threw up my gun and they rushed together, swerving towards Harry. When they were quartering, my trusty old gun saluted them, and down came four. The shot sent them right over Harry's pit, so that he hadn't an extra chance, yet he stopped the " houk !" of the old gander, which saluted him as he went over, and also landed low a goose for a company-keeper. "Harry, here comes another flock 1 Get ready I " Scarcely had he got the word when eleven came along, but turned to the north when 45 yards distant. They drew together, and I fired, dropping one dead and wing-breaking another. Eight birds were down out of two flocks, which was extra luck. By the time I was ready, three flocks were heading for us, all unsuspicious of danger, but, as they came within 150 yards, seemed inclined to edge off, probably had seen the geese . lying on the ground. But our wing-broken friend had heard the "houk" and, wanting companionship, answered. This turned the first flock right upon us, and they went along between us, three more biting the dust, while a fourth one which had left the flock, by which we knew he was badly hurt, went tumbling headlong to the ground, 350 yards distant. Harry was not satisfied with the result of his shot, so kept watching the flock, to see if any others would fall. " By Jove I " I heard him exclaim; "another one has just fallen short out of the flock, and I have got him marked." When we fired the last shots, the flocks accompanying that fired at turned short to the north and continued their course a long way off. The next flock also flew shy of us, but presently I spied five on the range for us, so I gave the alarm. Peeping over the edge of the pit, I noticed the wounded one had walked up beside one of the dead geese, and was lying with his neck stretched out along the ground, as if caving in. No sooner, however, did he hear the familiar " Houk!" than he replied, standing bolt upright, when the five made straight for him, and would have settled, but just as they were in the act, the chance was so tempting that I had to let them know I was there, and did so at the expense of three of them. As they did not see me, for they were on the right some 30 yards, the two remaining flew a short distance away, then circled and started to come back to their dead companions, passing within a perilously short distance of that hardhearted Harry, who actually stopped my chance of another shot at them by dropping one with each barrel. This was such wonderful luck that we had to halloa couldn't help it. Such special luck was making us drunk with excitement. Neither of us had ever even approached it. The ground all about was dotted with dead and crippled geese, and the poor old broken-winged chap hopped about when he saw the five geese coming so near him, as though able to get up and go along with them; yet he didn't.
Nor was this the end of our morning's sport not at all. There were several more fat fellows on which we had a mortgage to foreclose, and I spied them in the distance coming right for us, but they evidently saw our dead geese lying round, and became suspicious, turning or changing their direction of flight from us. Our old gander was on hand, however, to help them into the scrape. When he saw them, he spoke, and the leader of the flock answered, at the same time turning towards him; but, whether from his high position he saw any movement of mine in the pit, which caused him again to change his course, I know not, but something did. Yet while he led the flock by, out of my range, he was only about 60 yards away from Harry, who drew a bead on him, and down came Number 4 in the flock, fighting every inch of the way to keep up ; but his body was too heavy for him. His second barrel knocked out the old "houker" completely, and he struck the ground with a thud. We found afterwards a double " B " had gone up through his brain and another into his gizzard.