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.
This, we expected, would bring the battle to an end, for the sun was coming up; but we had noticed that all the birds we had yet seen were grey geese, while in the flight the afternoon before were several flocks of wavies, so we were encouraged to think there were still more in reserve for us. Bight now I seem to hear some of my over-scrupulous readers say, "Those chaps weren't sportsmen; they were slaughterers. Such shooting as that wasn't sport nothing but slaughter! " Well, I once heard a crank talk in that strain, who was with me afterwards plover-shooting, and when we had bagged nearly a hundred, I suggested we ought to stop, as we had enough, but his " crankship " had not had enough. The sport was too keen and exciting. While he was a participator, a cart-load was not too many; but when he heard of others having equally good luck, then it was slaughter? You have met such people, I presume. Don't you be one of them.
Now, after this digression let us go back to the pits before the wavies get along, as they are very restive in the lakes now, and we may expect to see them soon. Harry hailed me, "Had we not, while the horizon is clear, better gather up some of the birds, and put them in the pits ? " As it seemed wisdom to do so, we were soon stowing them out of sight, at the same time keeping our eyes in the distance, so as not to be taken by surprise, if there were, others to come. We left one goose with our wounded tollers, and got back into the pits. All this while not a sign of a goose was seen, and we had about concluded to go home when Harry called out, " There they come, a big flock of wavies, a little to the west of the course of the greys, but they are making in this direction, and we may get a shot." Now, a wavy goose is not nearly so keen in sight nor so shy as his neighbour the grey, consequently he oftener gets into trouble. This flock came along without a call, and in fine range for a shot for each of us, when the toller spied them and spoke, in his misery wanting company, and he soon had it. In answer to the call they set their wings, and would have actually lit alongside of him had I allowed them. They came where Harry had a poor chance, for the wounded goose was to the left of me, having walked some distance in that direction after we placed him, and the wavies inclined towards him, so that unless the unforeseen happened, he would not have been in it. They were now within 30 yards of me, with wings set and feet down ready to light. This brought them so low, I had to rise above the pit. In doing so I gave a shout which produced "bedlum and hoodlum" too, for they were so startled at the unexpected, they got terribly mixed up, which my shooting did not help, for I sent both charges through them at a 36-yards' range, and counted seven lying on the ground as the result, with three others within a short distance that had fallen.
Now, those foolish fellows were not satisfied with my reception, but evidently were curious to know what those that had fallen to the ground were doing. They had flown some 200 yards away when they circled and came around within range of Harry, when he tumbled two more. This seemed to satisfy them, and they continued their flight to the fields. Harry spoke, " Hie I Look out I There are a lot more coming." And sure enough, there must have been three hundred wavies in sight, in different flocks. We watched them anxiously, and they were coming for us splendidly, when all of a sudden the leading flock must have seen the dead birds, for they turned at right angles directly across the flight of all the others, which also turned and passed by us more than 200 yards distant. " Good for you, old chaps!" we were forced to say, and although I was disappointed in a shot, yet from my heart I was glad. We waited some time longer without any more appearing, then gathered up those on the ground, got the horse, and went for those we saw fall in the distance, which we found with two others that had fallen unobserved. Then we loaded up the waggon and it was loaded thirty-three greys and thirteen wavies. A most wonderful morning's sport. Only once in all my shooting did I have as great success, and that was at Fox Harbour, Nova Scotia, when a companion and myself, in separate ice-boats, shot on the wing thirty-eight Canadian geese in an afternoon. This incident will be found in the recital of a week's outing at Wallace Harbour, Nova Scotia, elsewhere in the volume.
With our waggon-load we returned to the house, well satisfied to give the birds and ourselves a rest the remainder of the day. The farmers in the neighbourhood heard of our wonderful success, and came to see them, and as most of these had no appliances for getting game, we presented each of them with a goose, which was very pleasing to them, as well as most gratifying to us.
Harry knew a lagoon some five miles distant, celebrated for duck-shooting at sundown, so we decided to vary the programme, and drive to it the next afternoon. We reached the spot shortly before dusk, and found some thirteen others ahead of us. From one of these, an old attendant there and a genial fellow, I found what had to be done to have the best sport. Advised by him, I went out about 40 yards from the shore, where the water was a foot deep, and the wild rice and rushes abound, forming quite a shelter. He also supplied me with an old soap-box, with legs attached, so that I could sit when I wished. Ready was left on the shore with Harry, and from there gathered up the birds. As sundown approached, the others distributed themselves up and down the lagoon, and evidently, from the amount of shooting that night, those we had met were only a modicum of the number. There was a complete fusillade from the time the ball opened till quite dark. A continuous " Pop! pop! pop! pop! pop! pop!" the whole length of the water, and, judging by our success, hundreds of ducks must have fallen that evening. As fast as we could load the birds were there for us to shoot at, but we made quite a few misses, arising from ducks of different flight coming. I think every mallard I levelled on came down, but not always short, while the swift little teal and the blue-wing escaped me several times.