Angus' First Bird
Home Up The Black Hole Literary Review Wm. E. Allendorf, Prop.

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"I always thought it was hard killing a turkey," said Angus. "But then there it was, and it was all over."

That was Sunday morning. We had gone back to the place he had shot his first turkey last evening. He had a squirrel already in his bag, and the sun was barely up. He was on a roll.

Angus, Moose, and I had come down to enjoy the two-week bye between Kentucky deer seasons. Angus, 10, had taken his first deer during the Kentucky Yute season. Moose, 16, had gone out alone for his first deer hunt the next weekend, Early Muzzleloader Season. We were now in the lull. Deer goes out, Fall Turkey Hunting, the early Shotgun Season, comes in.

Moose and Angus were rigged for a combination squirrel/turkey hunt. Moose had his Mossberg 500 with a turkey choke. Angus carried his bolt-action New Haven  485B in 20 GA, with a Full Choke.  Both had low-brass #6 and a few high-brass #4's if a turkey presented itself. Angus still required to have an adult with him. One gun was enough, so I left mine back at the house.

Saturday morning, Moose found a roost on top of a finger-ridge, scattered the flock, and then spent a good long while calling them back in with a Dixie Darlin' box call he had borrowed from me. To his dismay, the flock re-assembled just on the on the other side of a small rise and took off to feed-- Moose in hot pursuit. He was not able to get a shot; however, chasing the turkeys, Moose was able to harvest 3 squirrels before he came in.

Saturday afternoon, Angus and I went went out to one of our favorite haunts behind a 150 year-old barn. Angus was primarily interested in squirrel. We set up amid some logs on the edge of the woods in the lee of a group of ancient white oak and pin oak. Along about sunset, a flock of turkeys came to feed at one of the white oaks that had its branches sprawling out into the field. I spotted them and whispered to Angus.

Angus and I were both armed with Heirloom calls. I had a Double-Barrel, glass and slate;. Angus likes the glass Single Barrel that Brian sent him with the turquoise inlays. We made some feeding calls and a cluck here and there-- more than anything to cover the noise of Angus reloading his shotgun than anything else. I crunched a few leaves as well. The flock was milling about in the field, weaving around under the low branches that kept the deer away from the choicest acorns. A few individuals were crossing the fence and heading down towards our position.

A smart old hen made us, just as Angus jacked the high-brass #4 into battery. She had climbed up on a tuft of dirt to get a better view and caught him cycling the bolt. Another hen close by got the idea too, and with a few clucks, they transmitted to the rest of their buddies that it was time to move on.

"If you're going to shoot, I suggest you do it now." I whispered.

"I don't have a shot." My son replied. My vantage was only a couple feet higher than that of Angus. However, I had been able to see everything, and he had been blind to the whole scene.

"Stand up and run towards them." I said. The branches were too tangled for them to fly right away. There would be enough confusion in that corner of the field as they tried to figure out which way to go that there would be an opportunity. That is exactly how it played out. Angus stood up and took two steps foward. A jake's head shot up, and Angus took the shot from about 10 yards out.

We all went back to the same spots on Sunday. I was now the guy in the dark, for as I sat there in the gloom, I heard Angus' safety come off from the other side of the tree.

"Fire in the hole!" he whispered. His shotgun went off, and the next thing I heard was the distant plop of a body on leaves. By the time I got around the big oak, Angus was already up, and jacking another round into his shotgun for the stalk to a grey squirrel that had fallen at the edge of the old Mossberg's effective range.

John bagged another four squirrels as well as having an encounter with a flock of 15 turkeys down in Soggy Bottom. They had stayed just out of gun range. With a total of 8 squirrels in two days, he is now the reigning King of the Tree Rats, and is giving pointers to both myself and his younger brother.

"Does Heirloom make squirrel calls?" Angus asked.

 


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