Some of my most treasured memories in life are those times spent hunting and fishing with my Dad, and later on with my son. I was blessed to have several years that all three of us hunted together. One day when we were walking out of a dove field at the end of a hunt, Cader IV eased up beside me and said, “Dad, Pop isn’t carrying his shotgun like you taught me to do.” Both Cader IV and I were walking out of the field with our shotguns broken down and empty while Pop was carrying his shotgun loaded and in a suitcase style carry. I responded to Cader, “I know that. Why don’t you go correct him because I’m still a little afraid of him.” One of the reasons that grandsons and grandfathers are so close is that they share a common enemy. In this case, that was always me. I would have just as soon have sand papered a lion’s butt as correct my father, but he smiled and agreed with his grandson.
I will say this about my Dad. He was one of the finest wing shots that I have ever seen. He rarely failed to double on a quail covey rise. However, the most amazing thing to me was that he could almost always tell me the gender of each bird that he had shot before the dogs ever retrieved them. In my case, all I could see was a whirl of feathers, and knew that I had either killed or missed the bird. I always aspired to outshoot my Dad, and I finally did it in Argentina when I was around 30 years old. We sat side by side, and counted our kills. When the day was done, Dad looked at me and said, “I have just paid for your last hunt. All future hunts will be on your own dime.” Pop was a man of his word; so let that serve as a parable for any young readers.
Several years later, only Cader IV and I made a trip to Argentina. At this resort, they gave out prizes for the number of birds one killed. One day I had shot all of the birds that I wanted to, and had been trying to hold Cader IV’s numbers down because they don’t give shotgun shells away down there. I went into Cordoba to try to find some leather item for Martha, and made the mistake of telling Cader IV that he could cut his big dog loose, and shoot as many birds as he wanted to. The top prize at this Estancia was a handmade leather gun case, which sold in their pro shop for $250. In the unlikely event that anyone ever killed 3,000 birds in one day, they won that leather gun case. Well, Cader IV killed over 3,000 that day. Even though he shot at an 87% rate of shells to birds, the shell bill for him that day was still over $800. I looked at him and said, “Son, you are an honor graduate in finance at UGA. You just spent over $800 to make $250. Now, tell me how that makes any sense?” His response, “Dad, it makes perfect sense—your money, my gun case.” That was when I knew that he had potential.
In closing with family hunting stories, I had the rare treat of taking two of my thirteen year old grandsons quail hunting this past Saturday. They are two in a set of triplets. Their sister was competing in a big gymnastics meet this past Saturday; so this was a perfect time. I could not have been prouder of Nate and Keaton. Their gun handling and safety was all that I could have ever asked for. I did not have to call them off of a single shot as they checked their swings automatically on any bird deemed an unsafe shot. The birds were all hard flying and burst out as entire coveys each time. They made some challenging shots, and missed a few “gimmes” like we all do. They managed to bag 11 quail, and I ended the day grinning like a mule eating briars.
I would encourage all of you to never miss an opportunity to teach your children and grandchildren the beauty of nature and the joy of those times spent together in it ! That’s all for now except to say that we still have a few March dates open, but they are going fast. Come see us before our season ends on March 19th.