Upland game bird seasons bring back childhood memories.
It wasn’t quite the burning desire of having a horse, but hunting was right up with fishing in our anticipation of activity as a youngster. Because (TV) cowboys always had a gun on their hip, that was our style, as well. We’d seldom be seen without a pistol
and holster strapped on and drawstring tied tight. We had several play rifles, too.
As soon as our folks would allow, we insisted on tagging along with Dad and Uncle Don for fall bird hunting, carrying our favorite toy long arm, which we still have. Doves and ducks weren’t our prey, but prairie chicken season, as said earlier, was anticipated.
We’d start well before light in feed fields waiting for the birds to fly over. Then, we’d go to Flint Hills pasture roosts and hunt with dogs. Eastern Kansas didn’t have many pheasants yet, so it was a tradition to go west for that hunt. Jackrabbit populations were large, and sometimes they would be bagged as well.
Quail were prevalent, and Don knew where to find them. He was an excellent marksman with his 16-gauge, so the bag limit was a sure thing. Dad, despite only having a right hand, was a good shot with his 12-gauge, and got his fair share,
Our plastic guns graduated to a BB gun, and we’d always claim, when a bird dropped, that was the one we aimed at. The single-shot pellet gun was our next firearm, and we really did hit a quail with it one time, but when we went to pick it up, off it flew. Excitement was bubbling when Dad gave us his single-shot .410.
We can still remember the first quail we dropped, and by the next season we shot a prairie chicken and a pheasant. We even got our limit of eight quail once. Our Christmas wish soon was a Browning Sweet Sixteen, just like Don’s, and Grandma Buchman, with Aunt Lu’s guidance, answered our pleading.
As proud as we are of that semiautomatic shotgun, we never became a very good shot with it. Likely, it’s because we just aren’t any more talented at shooting than at any other sport. An automatic .22 rifle, however, was added to our artillery and used as a
sparrow weapon to help collect points in the FFA pest eradication contest.
Our interest in hunting continued to dwindle, as the thrill of the kill disappeared, and it’s never returned. Wild game wasn’t our dinner delicacy. We do have a real six-shooter, with low-hanging holster, just like Matt’s, which we’ve used in a couple of pageants with blanks. Our horse hasn’t been thrilled with the noise when we shoot from the saddle.
While we still have our favorite guns, keep up on hunting seasons and like to see upland game birds, we don’t shoot them. We would like to shoot clay pigeons with a shotgun and balloons with a handgun from the back of our horse, but we haven’t yet.
Jesus advises in Saint Matthew 6:26: “Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, nor reap nor gather, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Thus, the most important quarry is in Proverbs 21:21: “Whoever
goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself: a glorious life.”