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Full text of "Fishing and shooting sketches"

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FISHING AND 
SHOOTING SKETCHES 




From Copyrij;lit Photo, by Pach. 




Fishing and 
Shooting Sketches 

BY 

GROVER CLEVELAND 



Illustrated by 
HENRY S. WATSON 




NEW YORK 

THE OUTING PUBLISHING COMPANY 

1906 



Copyright, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, by The Curtis 

Publishing Co. 

Copyright, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, by The Independent. 

Copyright, 1903, by The Press Publishing Co. 

Copyright, 1905, by The Country Calendar. 



Copyright, 1906, by The Outing Publishing Company. 



Entered at Stationers' Hall, London, England. 



All Rights Reserved. 



the outing press 
deposit, n. y. 



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CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE MISSION OF SPORT AND 

OUTDOOR LIFE ... 3 

A DEFENSE OF FISHERMEN . 19 

THE SERENE DUCK HUNTER . 49 

THE MISSION OF FISHING AND 

FISHERMEN . . . .79 

SOME FISHING PRETENSES AND 

AFFECTATIONS . . .111 



Contents 

PAGE 

SUMMER SHOOTING . . .139 

CONCERNING RABBIT SHOOT- 
ING 153 

A WORD TO FISHERMEN . , 165 

A DUCK HUNTING TRIP . .179 

QUAIL SHOOTING . .. .197 





The Mission of Sport and 
Outdoor Life 

I AM sure that it Is not necessary 
for me, at this late day, to dwell 
upon the fact that I am an en- 
thusiast in my devotion to hunting 
and fishing, as well as every other 
kind of outdoor recreation. I am so 
proud of this devotion that, although 
my sporting proclivities have at times 
subjected me to criticism and petty 
3 



The Mission of Sport 



forms of persecution, I make no 
claim that my steadfastness should 
be looked upon as manifesting the 
courage of martyrdom. On the con- 
trary, I regard these criticisms and 
persecutions as nothing more seri- 
ous than gnat stings suffered on the 
bank of a stream — vexations to be 
borne with patience and afterward 
easily submerged in the memory of 
abundant delightful accompaniments. 
Thus, when short fishing excursions, 
in which I have sought relief from 
the wearing labors and perplexities 
of official duty, have been denounced 
In a mendacious newspaper as dis- 
honest devices to cover scandalous 
revelry, I have been able to enjoy 
a sort of pleasurable contempt for 
the author of this accusation, while 
4 



and Outdoor Life 



congratulating myself on the men- 
tal and physical restoration I had 
derived from these excursions. So, 
also, when people, more mistaken than 
malicious, have wagged their heads 
in pitying fashion and deprecated my 
indulgence In hunting and fishing friv- 
olity, which, in high public service, I 
have found it easy to lament the neg- 
lect of these amiable persons to ac- 
cumulate for their delectation a fund 
of charming sporting reminiscence; 
while, at the same time, I sadly re- 
flected how their dispositions might 
have been sweetened and their lives 
made happier if they had yielded 
something to the particular type of 
frivolity which they deplored. 

I hope it may not be amiss for me 
to supplement these personal obser- 
5 



The Mission of Sport 



vatlons by the direct confession that, 
so far as my attachment to outdoor 
sports may be considered a fault, I 
am, as related to this especial predica- 
ment of guilt, utterly incorrigible and 
shameless. Not many years ago, 
while residing in a non-sporting but 
delightfully cultured and refined com- 
munity, I found that considerable in- 
dignation had been aroused among 
certain good neighbors and friends, 
because it had been said of me that 
I was willing to associate in the field 
with any loafer who was the owner 
of a dog and gun. I am sure that 
I did not in the least undervalue the 
extreme friendliness of those inclined 
to intervene in my defense; and yet, 
at the risk of doing an apparently 
ungracious thing, I felt Inexorably 
6 



and Outdoor Life 



constrained to check their kindly ef- 
forts by promptly conceding that the 
charge was too nearly true to be de- 
nied. 

There can be no doubt that certain 
men are endowed with a sort of in- 
herent and spontaneous instinct which 
leads them to hunting and fishing in- 
dulgence as the most alluring and 
satisfying of all recreations. In this 
view, I believe it may be safely said 
that the true hunter or fisherman is 
born, not made. I believe, too, that 
those who thus by instinct and birth- 
right belong to the sporting frater- 
nity and are actuated by a genuine 
sporting spirit, are neither cruel, nor 
greedy and wasteful of the game and 
fish they pursue; and I am convinced 
that there can be no better conserva- 
7 



The Mission of Sport 

tors of the sensible and provident pro- 
tection of game and fish than those 
who are enthusiastic in their pursuit, 
but who, at the same time, are regu- 
lated and restrained by the sort of 
chivalric fairness and generosity, felt 
and recognized by every true sports- 
man. 

While it is most agreeable thus to 
consider hunting and fishing as consti- 
tuting, for those especially endowed 
for their enjoyment, the most tempt- 
ing of outdoor sports, it Is easily ap- 
parent that there is a practical value 
to these sports as well as all other out- 
door recreations, which rests upon a 
broader foundation. Though the de- 
lightful and passionate love for out- 
door sports and recreation is not be- 
stowed upon every one as a natural 
8 



and Outdoor Life 



gift, they are so palpably related to 
health and vigor, and so inseparably 
connected with the work of life and 
comfort of existence, that it is happily 
ordained that a desire or a willingness 
for their enjoyment may be cultivated 
to an extent sufficient to meet the re- 
quirements of health and self-care. In 
other words, all but the absolutely in- 
different can be made to realize that 
outdoor air and activity, intimacy with 
nature and acquaintanceship with 
birds and animals and fish, are essen- 
tial to physical and mental strength, 
under the exactions of an unescapable 
decree. 

Men may accumulate wealth in neg- 
lect of the law of recreation; but how 
infinitely much they will forfeit, in the 
deprivation of wholesome vigor, in 
9 



The Mission of Sport 

the loss of the placid fitness for the 
quiet joys and comforts of advancing 
years, and In the displacement of con- 
tented age by the demon of querulous 
and premature decrepitude ! 

"For the good God who loveth us 
He made and loveth all." 

A Law not to Be Disobeyed 

Men, In disobedience of this law, 
may achieve triumph In the world of 
science, education and art; but how 
unsatisfying are the rewards thus 
gained if they hasten the night when 
no man can work, and if the later 
hours of life are haunted by futile 
regrets for what is still left undone, 
that might have been done if there 
had been closer communion with na- 
ture's visible forms! 
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and Outdoor Life 



In addition to the delight which 
outdoor recreations afford to those in- 
stinctively in harmony with their en- 
joyment, and after a recognition of 
the fact that a knowledge of their 
nerve- and muscle-saving ministra- 
tions may be sensibly cultivated, there 
still remains another large item that 
should be placed to their credit. 
Every individual, as a unit in the 
scheme of civilized social life, owes 
to every man, woman and child within 
such relationship an uninterrupted 
contribution to the fund of enlivening 
and pleasurable social intercourse. 
None of us can deny this obligation; 
and none of us can discharge it as 
we ought, if our contributions are 
made in the questionable coin of sor- 
didness and nature's perversion. Our 
13 



The Mission of Sport 



experience and observation supply 
abundant proof that those who con- 
tribute most generously to the exhila- 
ration and charm of social intercourse 
will be found among the disciples of 
outdoor recreation, who are in touch 
with nature and have thus kept fresh 
and unperverted a simple love of hu- 
manity's best environment. 

A Chance in the Open for All 

It seems to me that thoughtful men 
should not be accused of exaggerated 
fears when they deprecate the wealth- 
mad rush and struggle of American 
life and the consequent neglect of out- 
door recreation, with the impairment 
of that mental and physical vigor ab- 
solutely essential to our national wel- 
fare, and so abundantly promised to 
14 



and Outdoor Life 



those who gratefully recognize, in 
nature's adjustment to the wants of 
man, the care of "the good God" who 
"made and loveth all." 

Manifestly, if outdoor recreations 
are important to the individual and to 
the nation, and if there is danger of 
their neglect, every instrumentality 
should be heartily encouraged which 
aims to create and stimulate their in- 
dulgence in every form. 

Fortunately, the field is broad and 
furnishes a choice for all except those 
wilfully at fault. The sky and sun 
above the head, the soil beneath the 
feet, and outdoor air on every side 
are the indispensable requisites. 



15 




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A Defense of Fishermen 



BY way of introduction and ex- 
planation, it should be said 
that there is no intention at 
this time to deal with those who fish 
for a livelihood. Those sturdy and 
hard-working people need no vindi- 
cation or defense. Our concern is 
with those who fish because they have 
an occult and mysterious instinct 
which leads them to love it, because 
they court the healthful, invigorating 
exertion it invites, and because its in- 
dulgence brings them in close contact 
19 



A Defense of Fishermen 

and communion with Nature's best 
and most elevating manifestations. 
This sort of fishing is pleasure and 
not work — sport and not money-grab- 
bing. Therefore it is contemptuously 
regarded in certain quarters as no bet- 
ter than a waste of time. 

Generous fishermen cannot fail to 
look with pity upon the benighted 
persons who have no better concep- 
tion than this of the uses and benefi- 
cent objects of rational diversion. 
In these sad and ominous days of 
mad fortune-chasing, every patriotic, 
thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes 
or not, should lament that we have 
not among our coiuntrymen more 
fishermen. There can be no doubt 
that the promise of industrial peace, 
of contented labor and of health- 

20 



A Defense of Fishermen 

ful moderation in the pursuit of 
wealth, in this democratic country of 
ours, would be infinitely improved if 
a large share of the time which has 
been devoted to the concoction of trust 
and business combinations, had been 
spent in fishing. 

The narrow and ill-conditioned 
people who snarlingly count all fisher- 
men as belonging to the lazy and 
good-for-nothing class, and who take 
satisfaction in describing an angler's 
outfit as a contrivance with a hook at 
one end and a fool at the other, have 
been so thoroughly discredited that no 
one could wish for their more irre- 
deemable submersion. Statesmen, 
judges, clergymen, lawyers and doc- 
tors, as well as thousands of other 
outspoken members of the fishing fra- 

21 



A Defense of Fishermen 



ternity, have so effectively given the 
he to these revilers of an honest 
and conscientious brotherhood that a 
large majority have been glad to find 
refuge in ignominious silence. 

Notwithstanding this, weak, piping 
voices are still occasionally heard ac- 
cusing fishermen of certain shortcom- 
ings and faults. These are so unsub- 
stantial and unimportant that, as 
against the high place in the world's 
esteem claimed by those who love to 
fish, they might well be regarded as 
non-essentials, or, in a phrase of the 
day, as mere matters of detail. But, 
although it may be true that these 
charges are on the merits unworthy 
of notice, it cannot be expected that 
fishermen, proud of the name, will 
be amiably willing to permit those 

22 



A Defense of Fishermen 

making such accusations the satisfac- 
tion of remaining unchallenged. 

The Hangers-on of the Fraternity 

At the outset, the fact should be 
recognized that the community of 
fishermen constitute a separate class 
or a sub-race among the inhabitants 
of the earth. It has sometimes been 
said that fishermen cannot be manu- 
factured. This is true to the extent 
that nothing can supply the lack of cer- 
tain inherent, constitutional and inborn 
qualities or traits which are absolutely 
necessary to a fisherman's make-up. 
Of course there are many who call 
themselves fishermen and who insist 
upon their membership in the frater- 
nity who have not in their veins a 
drop of legitimate fisherman blood. 
23 



A Defense of Fishermen 

Their self-asserted relationship is nev- 
ertheless sometimes seized upon by 
malicious or ignorant critics as per- 
mitting the assumption that the weak- 
nesses and sins of these pretenders are 
the weaknesses and sins of genuine 
fishermen; but in truth these pre- 
tenders are only interlopers who have 
learned a little fish language, who 
love to fish only "when they bite," 
who whine at bad luck, who betray 
incredulity when they hear a rous- 
ing fish story, and who do or leave 
undone many other things fatal to 
good and regular standing. They 
are like certain whites called squaw- 
men, who hang about Indian reser- 
vations, and gain certain advan- 
tages in the tribes by marrying full- 
blooded Indian women. Surely no 
24 



A Defense of Fishermen 

just person would for a moment sup- 
pose that genuine Indians could be 
treated fairly by measuring them ac- 
cording to a squaw-man standard. 
Neither can genuine fishermen be fair- 
ly treated by judging them according 
to the standards presented by squaw- 
fishermen. 

In point of fact, full-blooded fisher- 
men whose title is clear, and whose 
natural qualifications are undisputed, 
have ideas, habits of thought and men- 
tal tendencies so peculiarly and espe- 
cially their own, and their beliefs and 
code of ethics are so exclusively fitted 
to their needs and surroundings, that 
an attempt on the part of strangers 
to speak, or write concerning the char- 
acter or conduct of its approved mem- 
bership savors of impudent presump- 
25 



A Defense of Fishermen 



tion. None but fishermen can prop- 
erly deal with these delicate matters. 
What sense is there in the charge 
of laziness sometimes made against 
true fishermen? Laziness has no place 
in the constitution of a man who starts 
at sunrise and tramps all day with 
only a sandwich to eat, floundering 
through bushes and briers and stum- 
bling over rocks or wading streams in 
pursuit of the elusive trout. Neither 
can a fisherman who, with rod in hand, 
sits in a boat or on a bank all day be 
called lazy — provided he attends to 
his fishing and is physically and men- 
tally alert in his occupation. This 
charge may perhaps be truthfully 
made against squaw-fishermen who be- 
come easily discouraged, who "tire 
and faint" early, and lie down under 
26 



A Defense of Fishermen 

the shade to sleep, or go in swimming, 
or who gaze about or read a book 
while their hooks rest baitless on the 
bottom; but how false and unfair it 
is to accuse regular, full-blooded fish- 
ermen of laziness, based on such per- 
formances as these ! And yet this is 
absurdly done by those who cannot 
tell a reel from a compass, and who 
by way of familiarizing themselves 
with their topic leave their beds at 
eight o'clock in the morning, ride to 
an office at ten, sit at a desk until 
three or perhaps five, with an hour's 
interval for a hearty luncheon, and go 
home in the proud belief that they 
have done an active, hard day's work. 
Fishermen find no fault with what 
they do in their own affairs, nor with 
their conception of work; but they do 



A Defense of Fishermen 

insist that such people have no right 
to impute laziness to those who fish. 

Why Fish Stories Should Be Believed 

It is sometimes said that there is 
such close relationship between men- 
dacity and fishing, that in matters con- 
nected with their craft all fishermen 
are untruthful. It must, of course, be 
admitted that large stories of fishing 
adventure are sometimes told by fish- 
ermen — and why should this not be 
so? Beyond all question there is no 
sphere of human activity so full of 
strange and wonderful incidents as 
theirs. Fish are constantly doing the 
most mysterious and startling things; 
and no one has yet been wise enough 
to explain their ways or account for 
their conduct. The best fishermen do 
28 



A Defense of Fishermen 

not attempt it; they move and strive 
in the atmosphere of mystery and un- 
certainty, constantly aiming to reach 
results without a clue, and through 
the cultivation of faculties, non-exist- 
ent or inoperative in the common 
mind. 

In these circumstances fishermen 
necessarily see and do wonderful 
things. If those not members of the 
brotherhood are unable to assimilate 
the recital of these wonders, it is be- 
cause their believing apparatus has 
not been properly regulated and stimu- 
lated. Such disability falls very far 
short of justifying doubt as to the 
truth of the narration. The things 
narrated have been seen and experi- 
enced with a fisherman's eyes and per- 
ceptions. This is perfectly under- 
29 



A Defense of Fishermen 



stood by listening fishermen; and they, 
to their enjoyment and edification, are 
permitted by a properly adjusted men- 
tal equipment to believe what they 
hear. 

This faculty is one of the safest 
signs of full-blooded right to member- 
ship. If incredulity is intimated by a 
professional member no Injustice will 
be done if he is at once put under 
suspicion as a squaw-fisherman. As 
to non-members who accuse true 
fishermen of falsehood, it is per- 
fectly clear that they are utterly un- 
fitted to deal with the subject. The 
only theory fitting the condition leads 
to the statement that any story of per- 
sonal experience told by a fisherman 
is to the fishing apprehension indu- 
bitably true; and that since disbelief 
30 



A Defense of Fishermen 

in other quarters is owing to the lack, 
of this apprehension, the folly of ac- 
cusing fishermen of habitual untruth- 
fulness is quite apparent. 

The Taking of the Leviathan 

The position thus taken by the 
brotherhood requires that they stand 
solidly together in all circumstances. 
Tarpon fishing has added greatly to 
our responsibilities. Even larger fish 
than these may, with the extension of 
American possessions, fall within the 
treatment of American fishermen. As 
in all past emergencies, we shall be 
found sufficient in such future exigen- 
cies. All will go well if, without a 
pretense of benevolent assimilation, 
we still fish as is our wont, and con- 
31 



A Defense of Fishermen 

tinue our belief in all that our breth- 
ren declare they have done or can do. 
A few thousand years ago the question 
was impressively asked, "Canst thou 
draw out leviathan with a hook?" 
We must not falter, if, upon its repe- 
tition in the future, a brother replies : 
"Yes, with a ten-ounce rod;" nor 
must we be staggered even if an- 
other declares he has already landed 
one of these monsters. If Ameri- 
can institutions are found adequate 
to the new tasks which Destiny has 
put upon them in the extension of 
our lands, the American Chapter of 
the world's fishermen must not fail 
by their time-honored methods and 
practices, and by such truthfulness as 
belongs to the fraternity in the narra- 
tion of fishing adventure, to subdue 
32 



A Defense of Fishermen 

any new difficulties presented by the 
extension of our waters. 

Why the Biggest Fish Are Always 
Lost 

Before leaving this branch of our 
subject, especial reference should be 
made to one item more conspicuous, 
perhaps, than any other, among those 
comprised in the general charge of 
fishermen's mendacity. It is constant- 
ly said that they greatly exaggerate 
the size of the fish that are lost. This 
accusation, though most frequently 
and flippantly made, is in point of fact 
based upon the most absurd arrogance 
and a love of slanderous assertion that 
passes understanding. These are 
harsh words; but they are abundantly 
justified. 

33 



A Defense of Fishermen 

In the first place, all the presump- 
tions are with the fisherman's conten- 
tion. It is perfectly plain that large 
fish are more apt to escape than small 
ones. Of course their weight and 
activity, combined with the increased 
trickiness and resourcefulness of age 
and experience, greatly increase their 
ability to tear out the hook, and en- 
hance the danger that their antics will 
expose a fatal weakness in hook, lead- 
er, line or rod. Another presump- 
tion which must be regretfully men- 
tioned, arises from the fact that in 
many cases the encounter with a large 
fish causes such excitement, and such 
distraction or perversion of judgment, 
on the part of the fisherman as leads 
him to do the wrong thing or fail 
to do the right thing at the critical 
34 



A Defense of Fishermen 

instant — thus actually and effectively 
contributing to an escape which could 
not and would not have occurred ex- 
cept in favor of a large fish. 

Beyond these presumptions we have 
the deliberate and simple story of the 
fisherman himself, giving with the ut- 
most sincerity all the details of his 
misfortune, and indicating the length 
of the fish he has lost, or giving in 
pounds his exact weight. Now, why 
should this statement be discredited? 
It is made by one who struggled with 
the escaped fish. Perhaps he saw it. 
This, however, is not important, for 
he certainly felt it on his rod, and he 
knows precisely how his rod behaves 
in the emergency of every conceivable 
strain. 



35 



A Defense of Fishermen 

The Finny Hypnotist 

All true fishermen who hsten to his 
plain, unvarnished tale accept with 
absolute faith the declared length and 
weight of the lish that was almost 
caught; but with every presumption, 
besides positive statement, against 
them, carping outsiders who cannot 
fish, and who love to accuse fishermen 
of lying, are exposed in an attempt to 
originate or perpetuate an envious 
and malicious libel. 

The case of our fraternity on this 
point of absolute and exact truthful- 
ness is capable of such irrefragable 
demonstration that anything in the 
way of confession and avoidance 
ought to be considered inadmissible. 
And yet, simply for the sake of argu- 
36 











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A Defense of Fishermen 



ment, or by way of curious specula- 
tion, it may be interesting to intimate 
how a variation of a few inches in the 
exact length or a few ounces in the ex- 
act weight of a lost fish, as given by 
the loser, may be accounted for, with- 
out meanly attributing to him inten- 
tional falsehood. The theory has been 
recently started, that a trained hunting 
dog points a bird in the field solely 
because the bird's scent creates a hyp- 
notic influence on the dog, which im- 
pels him by a sort of suggestion to 
direct his nose toward the spot from 
v/hich such scent emanates. If there 
is anything worth considering in this 
theory, why may not a struggling fish 
at the end of a line exert such a hyp- 
notic influence on the intensely excited 
and receptive nature at the other ex- 
30 



A Defense of Fishermen 



trcniity of the lishing outfit, as to sug- 
gest an arbitrary and independent 
statement of the dimensions of the 
hypnotizer? 

With the accusations already men- 
tioned it would certainly seem that 
the enmity of those who take pleas- 
ure in reviling fishermen and their 
ways should be satisfied. They have 
not been content, however, in the 
demonstration of their evil-minded- 
ness without adding to their indict- 
ment against the brotherhood the 
charge of profanity. Of course, they 
have not the hardihood to allege 
that our profanity is of that habit- 
ual and low sort which characterizes 
the coarse and ill-bred, who offend 
all decent people by constantly inter- 
larding their speech with fearful and 
40 



A Defense of Fishermen 

Irrelevant oaths. They, nevertheless, 
find sufficient excuse for their accusa- 
tion in the sudden ejaculations, out- 
wardly resembhng profanity, which 
are occasionally wrung from fisher- 
men In trying crises and In moments 
of soul-straining unklndness of Fate. 
Now, this question of profanity is 
largely one of Intention and delibera- 
tion. The man who, Intending what 
he says, coolly Indulges In Impreca- 
tion, is guilty of an offense that ad- 
mits of no excuse or extenuation; but 
a fisherman can hardly be called pro- 
fane who, when overtaken without 
warning by disaster, and abruptly 
hurled from the exhilarating heights 
of delightful anticipation to the depths 
of dire disappointment. Impulsively 
gives vent to his pent-up emotion by 
41 



A Defense of Fishermen 

the use of a word which, though found 
in the list of oaths, is spoken without 
intentional imprecation, and because 
nothing else seems to suit the occasion. 
It is by no means to be admitted that 
fishing tends even to this semblance 
of profanity. On the contrary, it im- 
poses a self-restraint and patient for- 
bearance upon its advanced devotees 
Vv'hich tend to prevent sudden out- 
bursts of feeling. 

It must in frankness be admitted, 
however, by fishermen of every de- 
gree, that when the largest trout of 
the day, after a long struggle, winds 
the leader about a snag and escapes, or 
when a large salmon or bass, appar- 
ently fatigued to the point of non- 
resistance, suddenly, by an unexpected 
and vicious leap, frees himself from 
42 



.-'~^ 




A Defense of Fishermen 

the hook, the fisherman's code of mor- 
als will not condemn beyond forgive- 
ness the holder of the straightened 
rod if he impulsively, but with all the 
gentility at his command, exclaims: 
"Damn that fish !" It is probably bet- 
ter not to speak at all; but if strong 
words are to be used, perhaps these 
will serve as well as any that can do 
justice to the occasion. 

Uncle Toby, overcome with ten- 
der sympathy, swore with an unctious, 
rotund oath, that his sick friend 
should not die; and we are told that 
"the accusing spirit which flew up to 
Heaven's chancery with the oath 
blushed as he gave it in; and the re- 
cording angel as he wrote it down 
dropped a tear upon the word and 
blotted it out forever." 
45 



A Defense of Fishermen 

The defense of the fishing frater- 
nity which has been here attempted 
Is by no means as completely sfated 
as It should be. Nor should the world 
be allowed to overlook the admirable 
affirmative qualities which exist among 
genuine members of the brotherhood, 
and the useful traits which an indul- 
gence In the gentle art cultivates and 
fosters. A recital of these, with a de- 
scription of the personal peculiarities 
found In the ranks of fishermen, and 
the Influence of these peculiarities on 
success or failure, are necessary to a 
thorough vindication of those who 
worthily Illustrate the virtues of our 
clan. 



46 



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The Serene Duck Hunter 

N the estimation of many people, 
all those who for any purpose 
or in any manner hunt ducks are 
grouped together and Indiscriminately 
called duck hunters. This is a very 
superficial way of dealing with an Im- 
portant subject. In point of fact, the 
objects of duck shooting and its meth- 
ods of enjoyment are so various, and 
the disposition and personal charac- 
teristics of those who engage in it 
present such strong contrasts, that a 
49 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

recognition of their differences should 
suggest the subdivision of this group 
into distinct and well-defined sections. 
Such a, subdivision would undoubtedly 
promote fairness and justice, and lead 
to a better understanding of the gen- 
eral topic. 

There are those whose only claim 
to a place among duck hunters is based 
upon the fact that they shoot ducks 
for the market. No duck is safe from 
tlieir pursuit in any place, either by 
day or night. Not a particle of 
sportsmanlike spirit enters into this 
pursuit, and the idea never enters their 
minds that a duck has any rights that 
a hunter is bound to respect. The 
killing they do amounts to bald as- 
sassination — to murder for the sake 
of money. All fair-minded men must 
50 









k. 



,> I 






" s I 



I I i&''Vl '."'P 






Y-- -^7 ^ <"* <h 






rvv' 



5^1 







The Serene Duck Hunter 

agree that duck hunters of this sort 
should be segregated from all others 
and placed in a section by themselves. 
They are the market shooters. 

There are others claiming a place 
in the duck-hunting group, who, 
though not so murderously inclined as 
the market shooters, have such pecul- 
iar traits and such distinctive habits 
of thought and action, as abundantly 
justify placing them also in a classi- 
fication of their own. These are the 
hunters who rarely miss a duck, but 
whose deadly aim affords them grati- 
fication only in so far as it is a pre- 
lude to duck mortality, and who are 
happy or discontented as their heap 
of dead is large or small. They have 
smothered the keen delights of imag- 
ination which should be the cheering 
53 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

concomitants of the most reputable 
grade of duck hunting, and have 
surrendered its pleasures to actual 
results and the force of external 
circumstances. Their stories of inor- 
dinate killing are frequently heard, 
and often enliven the pages of sport- 
ing magazines. There can be but 
little doubt that this contingent give 
unintentional support to a popular 
belief, originating in the market shoot- 
ers' operations, that duck shooting is 
a relentlessly bloody affair. These 
are the dead shots among duck 
hunters. 

The Vindication of the Gende 
Huntsmen 

The danger that all those who es- 
say to shoot ducks may, by the con- 
54 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

duct of these two classes, acquire a 
general and unmitigated reputation 
for persistent slaughter, cannot be 
contemplated without sadness. It is 
therefore not particularly reassuring 
to recall the fact that our countrymen 
seem just now to be especially attract- 
ed by the recital of incidents that 
involve killing, — whether it be the 
killing of men or any other living 
thing. 

It is quite probable that the aggre- 
gation of all duck hunters in one gen- 
eral group cannot be at once reme- 
died; and the expectation can hardly 
be entertained that any sub-classifica- 
tion now proposed will gain the ac- 
ceptance and notoriety necessary for 
the immediate exoneration of those 
included within this group who are not 
55 



The Serene Duck Hunter 



in the least responsible for the sordid 
and sanguinary behavior of either the 
market shooter or the dead shot. 
These innocent ones comprise an un- 
doubted majority of all duck hunters; 
and their common tastes and enjoy- 
ments, as well as their identical con- 
ceptions of duty and obligation, have 
drawn them together in delightful 
fraternity. By their moderate de- 
struction of duck life they so modify 
the killing done by those belonging 
to the classes already described, 
that the aggregate, when distributed 
among the entire body of duck hunt- 
ers, is relieved from the appearance 
of bloodthirsty carnage; and they in 
every way exert a wholesome influ- 
ence in the direction of securing a 
place for duck hunting among recre- 
56 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

atlons which are rational, exhilarat- 
ing and only moderately fatal. 

The Honorable Order of Serene 
Duck Hunters 

It must be frankly confessed that 
the members of this fraternity cannot 
claim the ability to kill ducks as often 
as is required by the highest averages. 
This, however, does not in the least 
disturb their serenity. Their com- 
pensations are ample. They are 
saved from the sordid and hardening 
effects induced by habitual killing, and 
find pleasure in the cultivation of the 
more delicate and elevating suscepti- 
bilities which ducking environments 
should invite. Under the influence 
of these susceptibilities there is de- 
veloped a pleasing and innocent self- 
57 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

deception, which induces the belief on 
the part of those with whom it has 
lodgment, thatboth abundant shooting 
skill and a thorough familiarity with 
all that pertains to the theory of duck 
hunting are entirely in their possession 
and control. They are also led to the 
stimulation of reeciprocal credulity 
which seasons and makes digestible 
tales of ducking adventure. Nor does 
bloody activity distract their attention 
from their obligations to each other 
as members of their especial brother- 
hood, or cause them to overlook the 
rule which requires them to stand 
solidly together in the promotion and 
protection, at all hazards, of the 
shooting reputation of every one of 
their associates. These may well be 
called the Serene Duck Hunters. 
58 



'■m/-fy'//'/^- 






if--!\k„.V 















'■«iii'iiu''i I -.-^' Tii" '"'Mil' 



i-^**jj, ^« 










The Serene Duck Hunter 



All that has been thus far written 
may properly be regarded as merely 
an Introduction to a description, some- 
what in detail, of the manner in which 
these representatives of the best and 
most attractive type of duck hunters 
enjoy their favorite recreation. 

A common and easy illustration of 
their indulgence of the sentimental en- 
joyments available to them is present- 
ed when members of the fraternity in 
the comfortable surroundings of camp 
undertake the discussion of the merits 
of guns and ammunition. The im- 
pressiveness with which guns are put 
to the shoulder with a view of dls- 
cov^ering how they "come up," the 
comments on the length and "drop" 
of the different stocks, the solemn look 
through the barrel from the opened 
6i 



The Serene Duck Hunter 



breech, and the suggestion of slight 
"pitting," are intensely interesting 
and gratifying to all concerned. 

When these things are supplemented 
by an exchange of opinions concern- 
ing ammunition, a large contribution 
is added to the entertainment of the 
party. Such words as Schultz, Blue 
Ribbon, Dupont, Ballistite and Haz- 
ard are rolled like sweet morsels un- 
der the tongue. Each of the company 
declares his choice of powder and 
warmly defends its superiority, each 
announces the number of drams that 
a ducking cartridge should contain, 
and each declares his clear conviction 
touching the size of shot, and the 
amount, in ounces and fractions of 
ounces, that should constitute an ef- 
fective load. 

62 



The Serene Duck Hunter 



Undoubtedly the enjoyment sup- 
plied by such a discussion is keen and 
exhilarating. That it has the advan- 
tage of ease and convenience in its 
favor, is indicated by the fact that its 
effects are none the less real and pene- 
trating in the entire absence of any 
knowledge of the topics discussed. To 
the serene duck hunter the pretense 
of knowledge or information is suf- 
ficient. The important factors in the 
affair are that each should have his 
turn, and should be attentively heard 
in his exploitation of that which he 
thinks he knows. 

There is nothing in all this that 
can furnish reasonable ground for re- 
proach or criticism. If under the sanc- 
tion of harmless self-deception and 
pretense this duck-hunting contingent, 
63 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

to whom duck killing is not inevitably 
available, are content to look for en- 
joyment among the things more or 
less intimately related to it, it is quite 
their own affair. At any rate it is 
sufficient to say that they have joined 
the serene brotherhood for their pas- 
time, and that any outside dictation 
or criticism of the mode in which they 
shall innocently enjoy their privileges 
of membership savors of gross imper- 
tinence. 

There comes a time, however, when 
the calm and easy enjoyments of 
in-door comfort must give way to 
sterner activities, and when even the 
serene duck hunter must face the 
discomfort of severe weather and 
the responsibility of flying ducks. 
This exigency brings with It new du- 
64 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

ties and new objects of endeavor; but 
the principles which are characteristic 
of the fraternity are of universal ap- 
plication. Therefore our serene duck 
hunter should go forth resolved to 
accomplish the best results within his 
reach, but doubly resolved that in this 
new phase of his enjoyment he will 
betray no ignorance of any detail, and 
that he will fully avail himself of the 
rule unreservedly recognized in the 
brotherhood, which permits him to 
claim that every duck at which his 
gun is fired is hit — except in rare cases 
of conceded missing, when an excuse 
should be always ready, absolutely ex- 
cluding any suggestion of bad shoot- 
ing. And by way of showing his fa- 
miliarity with the affair in hand it is 
not at all amiss for him to give some 
65 



The Serene Duck Hunter 



directions as he enters his blind as to 
the arrangement of the decoys. 

How to Take Good and Bad Luck 

It is quite likely that his first op- 
portunity to shoot will be presented 
when a single duck hovers over the 
decoys, and as it poises itself offers as 
easy a target as if sitting on a fence. 
Our hunter's gun is coolly and grace- 
fully raised, and simultaneously with 
its discharge the duck falls helplessly 
into the water. This is a situation 
that calls for no word to be spoken. 
Merely a self-satisfied and an almost 
indifferent expression of countenance 
should indicate that only the expected 
has happened, and that duck killing 
is to be the order of the day. 

Perhaps after a reasonable wait, an- 
66 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

other venturesome duck will enter the 
zone of danger and pass with steady 
flight over the decoys easily within 
shooting distance. Again the gun of 
our serene hunter gives v^oice, sum- 
moning the bird to instant death. To 
an impartial observer, however, such 
a course would not seem to be in ac- 
cordance with the duck's arrange- 
ments. This is plainly indicated by 
such an acceleration of flight as would 
naturally follow the noise of the gun's 
discharge and the whistling of the 
shot in the rear of the expected victim. 
This is the moment when the man 
behind the gun should rise to the occa- 
sion, and under the rule governing the 
case should without the least delay or 
hesitation insist that the duck is hit. 
This may be done by the use of one 
67 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

of several appropriate exclamations — 
all having the sanction of precedent 
and long use. One which is quite clear 
and emphatic is to the effect that the 
fleeing duck is "lead ballasted," an- 
other easily understood is that it has 
"got a dose," and still another of no 
uncertain meaning, that it is "full of 
shot." Whatever particular formula 
is used, it should at once be followed 
by a decided command to the guide 
in attendance to watch the disappear- 
ing bird and mark where it falls. 

The fact should be here mentioned 
that the complete enjoyment of this 
proceeding depends largely upon the 
tact and intelligence of the guide. If 
with these he has a due appreciation 
of his responsibility as an adjunct to 
the sport, and is also in proper accord 
68 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

with his principal, he will give ready 
support to the claim that the duck is 
mortally wounded, at the same time 
shrewdly and with apparent depres- 
sion suggesting the improbability of 
recovering the slain. 

If as the hours wear away this 
process becomes so monotonous as to 
be fatiguing, a restful variety may be 
introduced by guardedly acknowledg- 
ing an occasional miss, and bringing 
into play the excuses and explanations 
appropriate to such altered conditions. 
A very useful way of accounting for 
a shot missed is by the suggestion that 
through a slightly erroneous calcula- 
tion of distance the duck was out of 
range when the shot was fired. A very 
frequent and rather gratifying pre- 
text for avoiding chagrin in case of a 
69 



The Serene Duck Hunter 



long shot missed is found in the claim 
that, though the sound of shot strik- 
ing the bird is distinctly heard, their 
penetration is ineffective. Sometimes 
failure is attributed to the towering 
or turning of the duck at the instant 
of the gun's discharge. It is at times 
useful to impute failure to the proba- 
bility that the particular cartridge 
used was stale and weak; and when 
all these are inadmissible, the small 
size of the shot and the faulty quality 
or quantity of powder they contain, 
may be made to do service; and, 
in extreme cases, their entire con- 
struction as well as their constructor 
may be roundly cursed as causes for a 
miscarriage of fatal results. 



The Serene Duck Hunter 



How True Duck Hunters Stand 
Together 

When the ducks have ceased to fly 
for the day the serene duck hunter 
returns to camp in a tranquil, satis- 
fied frame of mind befitting his fra- 
ternity membership. He has several 
ducks actually in hand, and he has 
fully enjoyed the self-deception and 
pretense which have led him to the 
belief that he has shot well. His few 
confessed misses are all satisfactorily 
accounted for; and he is too well 
broken to the vicissitudes of duck 
shooting, and too old a hunter, to be 
cast down by the bad fortune which 
has thickly scattered, over distant 
waters and marshes, his unrecovered 
dead. 

71 



The Serene Duck Hunter 



When at the close of such a day a 
party of serene duck hunters are gath- 
ered together, a common fund of ad- 
venture is made up. Each as he con- 
tributes his share is entitled to add 
such embellishments of the imagina- 
tion as will make his recital most in- 
teresting to his associates and gratify- 
ing to himself; and a law tacitly 
adopted but universally recognized 
by the company binds them all to an 
unquestioning acceptance of the truth 
of every narration. The successes of 
the day as well as its incidents of hard 
luck, and every excuse and explana- 
tion in mitigation of small returns of 
game, as they are rehearsed, create 
lively interest and quiet enjoyment. 
The one thing that might be a dis- 
cordant note would be a hint or con- 
72 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

fession of downright and inexcusably 
bad shooting. 

In this delightful assemblage of 
serene duck hunters there is no place 
for envious feeling toward either the 
slaughtering market shooter or the in- 
satiable dead shot. They only seek, 
in their own mild and gentle way, the 
indulgence of the pleasures which the 
less bloody phases of duck hunting af- 
ford; and no censorious critic has the 
right to demand that their enjoyment 
should be marred or diminished by 
the exactions of veracity or self- 
abasement. 

Reference has already been made 
to the scrupulous care of this frater- 
nity for the promotion and preserva- 
tion, at all hazards, of the shooting 
reputation of all the associates. This 
71 



The Serene Duck Hunter 



is a most important duty. Indeed, it 
may be reasonably feared that any 
neglect or faltering in its discharge 
would undermine the entire fabric of 
the serene brotherhood's renown. The 
outside world should never gain from 
any of its members the least hint that 
a weak spot has been developed in the 
shooting ability of any of their num- 
ber; and In giving an account of hunt- 
ing results it is quite within bounds for 
them to include in the aggregate, not 
only the ducks actually killed and 
those reported killed, but those proba- 
bly killed and neither recovered nor 
reported. The fact that such an ag- 
gregate has been reported by an as- 
sociate should impart to every member 
absolute verity, and each should make 
the statement his own, to the displace- 
74 



The Serene Duck Hunter 

ment of all other knowledge. Such 
ready support of each other's allega- 
tions and such entire self-abnegation 
are absolutely necessary if the safety 
of the organization is to be insured, 
and if its success and usefulness are 
to endure. 

Thus the great body of serene duck 
hunters, who have associated together 
for the promotion of high aims and 
purposes, pursue the even tenor of 
their way. They do not clamor for 
noisy recognition or make cheap ex- 
hibition of their virtues. They will, 
however, steadily and unostentatious- 
ly persevere, both by precept and prac- 
tice, in their mission to make all duck 
hunters better and happier, and to 
mitigate the harsh and bloody fea- 
tures of duck hunting. 
75 















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T 



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yer/r)er^ 







The Mission of Fishing and 
Fishermen 

IT was quite a long time ago 
that a compelling sense of duty 
led me to undertake the exon- 
eration of a noble fraternity, of 
which I am an humble member, from 
certain narrow-minded, if not mali- 
cious, accusations. The title given 
to what was then written, " A De- 
fense of Fishermen," was precisely 
descriptive of its purpose. It was 
79 



The Mission of 



not easy, however, to keep entirely 
within defensive limits ; for the temp- 
tation was very strong and constant 
to abandon negation and palliation 
for the more pleasing task of com- 
mending to the admiration and affec- 
tion of mankind in affirmative terms 
both fishing and fishermen. A deter- 
mination to attempt this at another 
time, and thus supplement the matter 
then in hand, made resistance to this 
temptation successful; but the con- 
templated supplementation was then 
foreshadowed in the following terms : 
"The defense of the fishing frater- 
nity which has been here attempted 
is by no means so completely stated 
as it should be. Nor should the world 
be allowed to overlook the admirable 
affirmative qualities which exist among 
80 



Fishing and Fishermen 

genuine members of the brotherhood 
and the useful traits which the indul- 
gence in the gentle art cultivates and 
fosters. A recital of these, with a 
description of the personal influence 
of these peculiarities found In the 
ranks of fishermen, and the influence 
of these peculiarities on success or fail- 
ure, are necessary to a thorough vin- 
dication of those who worthily illus- 
trate the virtues of our clan." 

The execution of the design thus 
foreshadowed has until now been 
evaded on account of the Importance 
and delicacy of the undertaking and a 
distrust of my ability to deal ade- 
quately with the subject. Though 
these misgivings have not been over- 
come, my perplexity, as I enter upon 
the work so long delayed, is somewhat 
8i 



The Mission of 



relieved by the hope that true fisher- 
men will be tolerant, whatever may be 
the measure of my success, and that 
all others concerned will be teachable 
and open-minded. 

Lessons the Fisherman Learns from 
Nature 

The plan I have laid out for the 
treatment of my topic leads me, first 
of all, to speak of the manner in which 
the fishing habit operates upon man's 
nature for its betterment; and after- 
ward to deal with the qualities of 
heart and disposition necessary to 
the maintenance of good and regular 
standing in the fishing fraternity. 

There is no man in the world capa- 
ble of profitable thought who does not 
know that the real worth and genuine- 
82 



Fishing and Fishermen 



ness of the human heart are measured 
by its readiness to submit to the influ- 
ences of Nature, and to appreciate 
the goodness of the Supreme Power 
who has made and beautified Nature's 
abiding-place. In this domain, re- 
moved from the haunts of men and 
far aw^ay from the noise and dust of 
their turmoil and strife, the fish- 
ing that can fully delight the heart 
of the true fisherman is found; and 
here in its enjoyment, those who fish 
are led, consciously or unconsciously, 
to a quiet but distinct recognition of 
a power greater than man's, and a 
goodness far above human standards. 
Amid such surroundings and within 
such influences no true fisherman, 
whether sensitively attuned to sublime 
suggestion, or of a coarser mold and 
83 



The Mission of 



apparently intent only upon a success- 
ful catch, can fail to receive im- 
pressions which so elevate the soul 
and soften the heart as to make him 
a better man. 

It is known of all men that one of 
the rudiments in the education of a 
true fisherman is the lesson of pa- 
tience. If he has a natural tendency 
in this direction it must be culti- 
vated. If such a tendency is lacking 
he must acquire patience by hard 
schooling. This quality is so indis- 
pensable in fishing circles that those 
who speak of a patient fisherman 
waste their words. In point of fact, 
and properly speaking, there can be 
no such thing as an impatient fisher- 
man. It cannot, therefore, be denied 
that in so far as fishing is a teacher 
84 







'^-z^K} 










Fishing and Fishermen 



of the virtue of patience, it ought to 
be given a large item of credit in reck- 
oning its relation to the everyday af- 
fairs of life; for certainly the potency 
of patience as a factor in all worldly 
achievements and progress cannot be 
overestimated. If faith can move 
mountains, patience and faith com- 
bined ought to mov^e the universe. 

Moreover, if those who fish must 
be patient, no one should fail to see 
that patience is a most desirable na- 
tional trait and that it is vastly im- 
portant to our body politic that there 
should continue among our people a 
large contingent of well-equipped fish- 
ermen, constantly prepared and will- 
ing to contribute to their country's 
fund of blessings a liberal and pure 
supply of this saving virtue. 
87 



The Mission of 



To those who are satisfied with a 
superficial view of the subject it may 
seem impossible that the diligence and 
attention necessary to a fisherman's 
success can leave him any opportunity, 
while fishing, to thoughtfully con- 
template any matter not related to his 
pursuit. Such a conception of the 
situation cannot be indorsed for a 
moment by those of us who are con- 
versant with the mysterious and un- 
accountable mental phenomena which 
fishing develops. We know that the 
true fisherman finds no better time for 
profitable contemplation and mental 
exercise than when actually engaged 
with his angling outfit. It will proba- 
bly never be possible for us to gather 
statistics showing the moving sermons, 
the enchanting poems, the learned ar- 
88 



Fishing and Fishermen 



guments and eloquent orations that 
have been composed or constructed 
between the bites, strikes or rises of 
fish; but there can be no doubt that 
of the many intellectual triumphs won 
in every walk of life a larger propor- 
tion has been actually hooked and 
landed with a rod and reel by those 
of the fishing fraternity than have 
been secured in any one given condi- 
tion of the non-fishing world. 

This may appear to be a bold state- 
ment. It is intended as an assertion 
that fishing and fishermen have had 
much to do with the enlightenment 
and elevation of humanity. In sup- 
port of this proposition volumes might 
be written; but only a brief array of 
near-at-hand evidence will be here 
presented. 

89 



The Mission of 



Those who have been fortunate 
enough to hear the fervid eloquence 
of Henry Ward Beecher, and even 
those who have only read what he has 
written, cannot overlook his fishing 
propensity — so constantly manifest 
that the things he said and wrote were 
fairly redolent of fishing surround- 
ings. His own specific confession of 
fealty was not needed to entitle him 
to the credentials of a true fisherman, 
nor to disclose one of the never-fail- 
ing springs of his best inspiration. 
When these things are recalled, and 
when we contemplate the lofty mission 
so well performed by this noble an- 
gler, no member of our brotherhood 
can do better in its vindication than 
to point to his career as proof of what 
the fishing habit has done for hu- 
manity. 

90 



Fishing and Fishermen 

What Mashpee Waters Did for 
Webster 

Daniel Webster, too, was a fisher- 
man — always in good and regular 
standing. In marshaling the proof 
which his great life furnishes of the 
beneficence of the fishing propensity, 
I approach the task with a feeling of 
awe quite natural to one who has slept 
in the room occupied by the great Ex- 
pounder during his fishing campaigns 
on Cape Cod and along the shores 
of Mashpee Pond and its adjacent 
streams. This distinguished member 
of our fraternity was an industrious 
and attentive fisherman. He was, be- 
sides, a wonderful orator — and large- 
ly so because he was a fisherman. He 
himself has confessed to the aid he re- 
91 



The Mission of 



ceived from a fishing environment In 
the preparation of his best oratorical 
efforts; and other irrefutable testi- 
mony to the same effect Is at hand. 

It Is not deemed necessary to cite In 
proof of such aid more than a single 
incident. Perhaps none of Mr. Web- 
ster's orations was more notable, or 
added more to his lasting fame, than 
that delivered at the laying of the 
cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monu- 
ment. And it will probably be con- 
ceded that its most impressive and 
beautiful passage was addressed to the 
survivors of the War of Independence 
then present, beginning with the 
words, "Venerable men !" This thrill- 
ing oratorical flight was composed and 
elaborated by Mr. Webster while 
wading waist deep and casting his 
92 



Fishing and Fishermen 

flies in Mashpee waters. He himself 
afterward often referred to this cir- 
cumstance ; and one who was his com- 
panion on this particular occasion has 
recorded the fact that, noticing indi- 
cations of laxity in fishing action on 
Mr. Webster's part, he approached 
him, and that, in the exact words of 
this witness, "he seemed to be gazing 
at the overhanging trees, and present- 
ly advancing one foot and extending 
his right hand he commenced to speak, 
'Venerable Men!'" 

Mr. Webster's Remarks to a Fish 

Though this should be enough to 
support conclusively the contention 
that incidents of Mr. Webster's great 
achievements prove the close relation- 
ship between fishing and the loftiest 
93 



The Mission of 



attainments of mankind, this branch 
of our subject ought not to be dis- 
missed without reference to a conver- 
sation I once had with old John Atta- 
quin, then a patriarch among the few 
survivors of the Mashpee Indians. 
He had often been Mr. Webster's 
guide and companion on his fishing 
trips and remembered clearly many of 
their happenings. It was with a glow 
of love and admiration amounting al- 
most to worship that he related how 
this great fisherman, after landing a 
large trout on the bank of the stream, 
"talked mighty strong and fine to that 
fish and told him what a mistake he 
had made, and what a fool he was to 
take that fly, and that he would have 
been all right if he had let it alone." 
Who can doubt that patient search 
94 



Fishing and Fishermen 



would disclose, somewhere in Mr. 
Webster's speeches and writings, the 
elaboration, with high intent, of that 
"mighty strong and fine" talk ad- 
dressed to the fish at Mashpee? 

The impressive story of this simple, 
truthful old Indian was delightfully 
continued when, with the enthusiasm 
of an untutored mind remembering 
pleasant sensations, the narrator told 
how the great fisherman and orator 
having concluded his "strong, fine 
talk," would frequently suit the action 
to the word, when he turned to his 
guide and proposed a fitting libation in 
recognition of his catch. This part of 
the story is not here repeated on ac- 
count of its superior value as an addi- 
tion to the evidence we have already 
gathered, but I am thus given an op- 
95 



The Mission of 



portunity to speak of the emotion 
which fascinated me as the story pro- 
ceeded, and as I recalled how precisely 
a certain souvenir called "the Webster 
Flask," carefully hoarded among my 
valued possessions, was fitted to the 
situation described. 

Let it be distinctly understood that 
the claim is not here made that all 
who fish can become as great as Hen- 
ry Ward Beecher or Daniel Webster. 
It is insisted, however, that fishing is 
a constructive force, capable of adding 
to and developing the best there is in 
any man who fishes in a proper spirit 
and among favorable surroundings. 
In other words, it is claimed that upon 
the evidence adduced it is impossible 
to avoid the conclusion that the fish- 
ing habit, by promoting close associ- 
96 



Fishing and Fishermen 

atlon with Nature, by teaching pa- 
tience, and by generating or stimulat- 
ing useful contemplation, tends di- 
rectly to the increase of the intellectual 
power of its votaries, and, through 
them, to the improvement of our na- 
tional character. 

In pursuance of the plan adopted 
for the presentation of our subject, 
mention must now be made of the 
qualities of heart and disposition ab- 
solutely essential to the maintenance 
of honorable membership in the fish- 
ing fraternity. This mode of pro- 
cedure is not only made necessary 
by the exigencies of our scheme, 
but the brotherhood of fishermen 
would not be satisfied if the exploita- 
tion of their service to humanity and 
their value to the country should ter- 
97 



The Mission of 



minate with a recital of the usefulness 
of their honorable pursuit. The rec- 
ord would be woefully incomplete if 
reference were omitted to the relation 
of fishing to the moral characteristics 
and qualities of heart, with which it 
is as vitally connected as with the in- 
tellectual traits already mentioned. 

No man can be a completely good 
fisherman unless within his piscatorial 
sphere he is generous, sympathetic 
and honest. If he expects to enjoy 
that hearty and unrestrained confi- 
dence of his brethren in the fraternity 
which alone can make his membership 
a comfort and a delight, he must be 
generous to the point of willingness 
to share his last leaders and flies, or 
any other items of his outfit, with any 
worthy fellow-fisherman who may be 
98 



i 



Fishing and Fishermen 

in need. The manifestation of little- 
ness and crowding selfishness often 
condoned in other quarters, and the 
over-reaching conduct so generally 
permitted in business circles, are un- 
pardonable crimes in the true fisher- 
man's code. 

Of course, there is nothing to 
prevent those from fishing who whol- 
ly disregard all rules of generos- 
ity, fairness and decency. Nor can 
we of the brotherhood of true fisher- 
men always shield ourselves from the 
reproach to which we are subjected 
by those who steal our livery and dis- 
grace it by casting aside all manly lib- 
erality in their intercourse with other 
fishermen and all considerate self-re- 
straint in their intercourse with fish. 
We constantly deprecate the exist- 
99 



The Mission of 



ence of those called by our name, in 
whose low conception of the subject, 
fishing is but a greedy game, where 
selfishness and meanness are the win- 
ning cards, and where the stakes 
are the indiscriminate and ruthless 
slaughter of fish; and let it be here 
said, once for all, that with these we 
have nothing to do except to condemn 
them as we pass. Our concern is with 
true fishermen — a very different type 
of mankind — and with those who 
prima facie have some claim to the 
title. 

How to Know a True Fisherman 

No burdensome qualifications or 
tedious probation obstruct the en- 
trance to this fraternity; but skill and 
fishing ability count for nothing in 
loo 



Fishing and Fishermen 

eligibility. The oldest and most ex- 
perienced and skillful fisherman will 
look with composure upon the vanish- 
ing chances of his catch through the 
floundering efforts of an awkward be- 
ginner, if the awkward flounderer has 
shown that he is sound at heart. He 
may not fish well, but if he does not 
deliberately rush ahead of all com- 
panions to pre-empt every promising 
place in the stream, nor everlastingly 
study to secure for his use the best of 
the bait, nor always fail to return bor- 
rowed tackle, nor prove to be blind, 
deaf and dumb when others are in 
tackle need, nor crowd into another's 
place, nor draw his flask in secrecy, 
nor light a cigar with no suggestion 
of another, nor do a score of other 
Indefinable mean things that among 

lOI 



The Mission of 



true fishermen constitute him an un- 
bearable nuisance, he will not only be 
tolerated but aided in every possible 
way. 

It is curious to observe how inevi- 
tably the brotherhood discovers un- 
worthiness. Ev^en without an overt 
act it is detected — apparently by a 
sort of instinct. In any event, and 
in spite of the most cunning precau- 
tions, the sin of the unfit is sure to 
find them out; and no excuse is al- 
lowed to avert unforgiving ostracism 
as its punishment. 

A true fisherman is conservative, 
provident, not given to envy, con- 
siderate of the rights of others, and 
careful of his good name. He fishes 
many a day and returns at night to his 
home, hungry, tired and disappoint- 

I02 



Fishing and Fishermen 

ed; but he still has faith in his meth- 
ods, and is not tempted to try new 
and more deadly lures. On the con- 
trary, he is willing in all circumstances 
to give the fish the chance for life 
which a liberal sporting disposition 
has determined to be their due; and 
he will bide his time under old condi- 
tions. He will not indulge his fishing 
propensity to the extent of the wanton 
destruction and waste of fish; he will 
not envy the superior advantages of 
another in the indulgence of the pas- 
time he loves so well; he will never be 
known to poach upon the preserves 
of a fortunate neighbor; and no one 
will be quicker or more spirited than 
he in the defense of his fishing honor 
and character. 

103 



The Mission of 



Truth as Defined by the Honorable 
Guild 

This detailed recital of the neces- 
sary qualifications of good fisherman- 
ship serves most importantly as the 
prelude of an invitation for skeptics 
to observe the complete Identity of 
these qualifications with the factors 
necessary to good citizenship, and 
from thence to concede a more ready 
recognition of the honorable place 
which should be awarded to the fra- 
ternity among the agencies of our 
country's good. 

In conclusion, and to the end that 
there should be no appearance of ti- 
midity or lack of frankness, some- 
thing should be said explanatory of 
the degree and kind of truthfulness 



Fishing and Fishermen 



which an honorable standing in tlie 
fishing fraternity exacts. Of course, 
the notion must not be for a moment 
tolerated that deliberate, downright 
lying as to an essential matter is per- 
missible. It must be confessed, how- 
ever, that unescapable traditions and 
certain inexorable conditions of our 
brotherhood tend to a modification 
of the standards of truthfulness which 
have been set up in other quarters. 
Beyond doubt, our members should be 
as reliable in statement as our tradi- 
tions and full enjoyment of fraternity 
membership will permit. 

An attempt has been made to 
remedy the Indefiniteness of this re- 
quirement by insisting that no state- 
ment should be regarded as suflS- 
ciently truthful for the fisherman's 
105 



The Mission of 



code that had not for its foundation 
at least a belief of its correctness 
on the part of the member mak- 
ing it. This was regarded as too 
much elasticity in the quality of the 
belief required. The matter seems to 
have been finally adjusted in a manner 
expressed in the motto: "In essentials 
— truthfulness; in non-essentials — re- 
ciprocal latitude." If it is objected 
that there may be great difficulty and 
perplexity in determining what are 
essentials and what non-essentials un- 
der this rule, it should be remem- 
bered that no human arrangements, 
especially those involving morals and 
ethics, can be made to fit all emer- 
gencies. 

In any event, great comfort is to be 
found in the absolute certainty that 
1 06 



Fishing and Fishermen 



the law of truthfulness will be so ad- 
ministered by the brotherhood that no 
one will ever be permitted to suffer in 
mind, body or estate by reason of fish- 
ermen's tales. 






'j^' 




r.y 






107 







Jretetjcej (5 




Some Fishing Pretenses and 
Affectations 

I WOULD not permit without a 
resentful protest an expression 
of doubt as to my good and 
regular standing in the best and most 
respectable circle of fishermen. I am 
as jealous as a man can be of the fair 
fame of the fraternity; and I am un- 
yielding in my Insistence upon the ex- 
clusion of the unworthy from its mem- 
bership. I also accept without demur 
all the traditions of the order, pro- 
lix 



Some Fishing Pretenses 



vided that they have been always in 
the keeping of the faithful, and care- 
fully protected against all discredit- 
ing incidents. In addition to all this, 
my faculty of credence has been so cul- 
tivated and strengthened that I yield 
without question implicit and unques- 
tioning belief to every fishing story — 
provided always that it is told by a 
fisherman of good repute, and on his 
own responsibility. This is especially 
a matter of loyalty and principle with 
me, for I am not only convinced that 
the usefulness and perhaps the per- 
petuity of the order of Free and Ac- 
cepted Fishermen depends upon a 
bland and trustful credulity in the in- 
tercourse of its members with each 
other, but I have constantly in mind 
the golden rule of our craft, which 

112 



and Affectations 



commands us to believe as we would 
be believed. 

I have not made this profession of 
faith in a spirit of vainglorious con- 
ceit, but by way of indicating the 
standpoint from which I shall venture 
to comment on some weaknesses which 
afflict our brotherhood, and as a re- 
minder that the place I have earned 
among my associates should in fair- 
ness and decency protect me from the 
least accusation of censorlousness or 
purposeless faultfinding. 

I do not propose to make charges 
of wickedness and wrong-doing, which 
call for such radical corrective treat- 
ment as might imperil the peace and 
brotherly love of our organization. 
It is rather my intention mildly to 
criticise some affectations and pre- 
113 



Some Fishing Pretenses 



tenses which I believe have grown 
out of overtraining among fishermen, 
or have resulted from too much elabo- 
ration of method and refinement of 
theory. 

These affectations and pretenses 
are, unfortunately, accompaniments 
of a high grade of fishing skill; and 
in certain influential quarters they are 
not only excused but openly and stout- 
ly justified. I cannot, therefore, ex- 
pect my characterization of them as 
faults and weaknesses to pass unchal- 
lenged; but I hope that in discharging 
the duty I have undertaken I shall 
not incur the unfriendship of any 
considerable number of my fishing 
brethren. 

It has often occurred to me that 
the very noticeable and increasing ten- 
114 



and Affectations 



dency toward effeminate attenuation 
and aesthetic standards among anglers 
of an advanced type, is calculated to 
bring about a substitution of scientific 
display with rod and reel for the 
plain, downright, common-sense en- 
joyment of fishing. This would be a 
distinct and lamentable loss, resulting 
in the elimination to a great extent 
of individual initiative, and the dis- 
regard of the inherent distinction be- 
tween good and bad fishermen, as 
measured by natural aptitude and 
practical results. 

As in an organized commonwealth 
neither the highest nor the lowest ele- 
ments of its people constitute Its best 
strength and reliance, so in the fra- 
ternity of fishermen neither the lowest 
hangers-on and intruders, nor the 
115 



Some Fishing Pretenses 



highest theorists who would make fish- 
ing a scientific exercise instead of a 
manly, recreative pursuit, make up 
the supporting and defensive power 
of the organization. It is the middle 
class in the community of fishermen, 
those who fish sensibly and decently, 
though they may be oblivious to the 
advantages of carrying fishing refine- 
ments far beyond the exigencies of 
catching fish, upon whom we must de- 
pend for the promotion and protection 
of the practical interests of the broth- 
erhood. 

It is, therefore, of the utmost im- 
portance that the zeal and enthusiasm 
of this valuable section of our mem- 
bership should not be imperiled by 
subjecting them to the humiliating 
consciousness that their sterling fish- 
ii6 



and Affectations 



Ing qualities are held In only patron- 
izing toleration by those In the fra- 
ternity who gratuitously assume fic- 
titious and unjustifiable superiority. 

I shall attempt to locate the respon- 
sibility for the affectations and pre- 
tenses I have mentioned, not only In 
vindication of our sincere and well-in- 
tentioned rank and file, but for an- 
other reason, which concerns the peace 
of mind and comfort of every member 
of the organization in his relationship 
with the outside world. The fact that 
we are in a manner separated from 
the common mass of mankind natu- 
rally arouses the unfriendly jealousy 
of those beyond the pale of the broth- 
erhood ; and fishing — the fundamental 
object and purpose of our union — is 
In many quarters decried as an absurd 
117 



Some Fishing Pretenses 

exertion or a frivolous waste of time. 
In such circumstances we cannot be 
charged with a surrender of inde- 
pendence if we attempt by a frank 
statement to deprive these ill-natured 
critics of all excuse for attacking our 
entire body on account of faults and 
weaknesses for which only a small 
minority is responsible. 

Bluntly stated, the affectations and 
pretenses which I have in mind, and 
which in my opinion threaten to bring 
injury upon our noble pursuit, grow 
out of the undue prominence and ex- 
aggerated superiority claimed for fly- 
casting for trout. I hasten to say for 
myself and on behalf of all well-con- 
ditioned fishermen that we are not in- 
clined to disparage in the least the 
delightful exhilaration of the sudden 
ii8 




- H;|'.;,;.\i/AT!iavt • 



and Affectations 



rise and strike, nor the pleasurable 
exercise of skill and deft manipulation 
afforded by this method of fishing. 
We have no desire to disturb by a dis- 
cordant dissent the extravagant praise 
awarded to the trout when he is called 
the wariest of his tribe, "the speckled 
beauty," the aristocratic gentleman 
among fish, and the most toothsome 
of his species. At the same time, we 
of the unpretentious sort of fishermen 
are not obliged to forget that often 
the trout will refuse to rise or strike 
and will wait on the bottom for food 
like any plebeian fish, that he is fre- 
quently unwary and stupid enough to 
be lured to his death by casts of the 
fly that are no better than the most 
awkward flings, that notwithstanding 
his fine dress and aristocratic bearing 

121 



Some Fishing Pretenses 



it is not unusual to find him in very 
low company, that this gentleman 
among Hsh is a willing and shameless 
cannibal, and that his toothsomeness, 
not extraordinary at best, is probably 
more dependent than that of most fish 
upon his surroundings. 

While our knowledge of these 
things does not exact from us an in- 
dependent protest against constantly 
repeated praise of the qualities of 
trout and of fly-casting as a means of 
taking them, it perhaps adds to the 
spirit and emphasis of our dissent 
when we are told that fly-casting for 
trout is the only style of fishing worthy 
of cultivation, and that no other meth- 
od ought to be undertaken by a true 
fisherman. This is one of the deplora- 
ble fishing aftectations and pretenses 

122 



and Affectations 



which the sensible rank and file of the 
fraternity ought openly to expose and 
repudiate. Our irritation is greatly 
increased when we recall the fact that 
every one of these super-refined fly- 
casting dictators, when he fails to al- 
lure trout by his most scientific casts, 
will chase grasshoppers to the point 
of profuse perspiration, and turn over 
logs and stones with feverish anxiety 
in quest of worms and grubs, if haply 
he can with these save himself from 
empty-handedness. Neither his fine 
theories nor his exclusive faith in fly- 
casting so develops his self-denying 
heroism that he will turn his back 
upon fat and lazy trout that will not 
rise. 

We hear a great deal about long 
casts and the wonderful skill they re- 
123 



Some Fishing Pretenses 



quire. To cast a fly well certainly 
demands dexterity and careful prac- 
tice. It is a matter of nice manipula- 
tion, and a slight variation in execu- 
tion is often apt to settle the question 
of success or failure in results. It is, 
besides, the most showy of all fishing 
accomplishments, and taken all to- 
gether it is worth the best efforts and 
ambition of any fisherman. Inas- 
much, however, as the tremendously 
long casts we hear of are merely ex- 
hibition performances and of but lit- 
tle if any practical use in the actual 
taking of fish, their exploitation may 
be classed among the rather harmless 
fishing affectations. There is a very 
different degree of rankness in the 
claim sometimes made that an expert 
caster can effectively send his fly on 
124 



and Affectations 



its distant mission by a motion of his 
forearm alone, while all above the 
elbow is strapped to his side. We take 
no risk in saying that such a thing 
was never done on a fishing excursion, 
and that the proposition in all its as- 
pects is the baldest kind of a pretense. 
As becomes a consistent member 
of the fraternity of fishermen, I 
have carefully avoided unfriendly 
accusation in dealing with a branch 
of fishing enthusiastically preferred 
by a considerable contingent of 
my associates. If, in lamenting the 
faddishness that has grown up about 
it, plain language has been used, 
I have nevertheless been as tolerant 
as the situation permits. No attempt 
has been made to gain the applause 
of pin-hook-and-sapling fishermen, 
125 



Some Fishing Pretenses 

nor to give the least comfort to those 
who are fishermen only in their own 
conceit, and whose coarse-handed 
awkwardness, even with the most ap- 
proved tackle, leads them to be in- 
curably envious of all those who fish 
well. 

It is not pleasant to criticise, even 
in a mild way, anything that genuine 
fishermen may do — especially when 
their faults result from over-zealous 
attachment to one of the most promi- 
nent and attractive features of our 
craft's pursuit. It is, therefore, a re- 
lief to pass from the field of criticism, 
and in the best of humor, to set 
against the claim of exclusive merit 
made in behalf of fly-casting for trout 
the delights and compensations of 
black-bass fishing. I am sure I shall 
126 















-^^.,ivi*f^^^. 
















c , 




t I' 



and Affectations 



be seconded in this by a very large 
body of fishermen in the best of stand- 
ing. It is manifestly proper also to 
select for this competition with trout 
casting a kind of fishing which pre- 
sents a contrast in being uninfluenced 
by any affectations or by a particle 
of manufactured and fictitious infla- 
tion. 

In speaking of black bass I am 
not dealing with the large-mouthed 
variety that are found in both North- 
ern and Southern waters, and which 
grow in the latter to a very large 
size, but only with the small-mouthed 
family inhabiting the streams or 
lakes and ponds of the North, and 
which are large when they reach 
four pounds in weight. I consider 
these, when found in natural and 
129 



Some Fishing Pretenses 



favorable surroundings, more uncer- 
tain, whimsical and wary in biting, 
and more strong, resolute and re- 
sourceful when hooked, than any 
other fish ordinarily caught in fresh 
waters. They will in some localities 
and at certain seasons rise to a fly; 
but this cannot be relied upon. They 
can sometimes also be taken by troll- 
ing; but this is very often not success- 
ful, and is at best a second-class style 
of fishing. On the whole it is best 
and most satisfactory to attempt their 
capture by still fishing with bait. 

To those with experience this will 
not suggest angling of a tame and un- 
ruffled sort; and if those without expe- 
rience have such an estimate of it they 
are most decidedly reckoning without 
their host. As teachers of patience 
130 



and Affectations 



in fishing, black bass are at the head of 
the Hst. They are so whimsical that 
the angler never knows whether on a 
certain day they will take small live 
fish, worms, frogs, crickets, grass- 
hoppers, crawfish or some other out- 
landish bait; and he soon learns that 
in the most favorable conditions of 
wind and weather they will frequently 
refuse to touch bait of any kind. In 
their intercourse with fishermen, espe- 
cially those in the early stages of 
proficiency, they are the most ag- 
gravating and profanity-provoking 
animal that swims in fresh water. 
Whether they will bite or not at 
any particular time we must freely 
concede is exclusively their own affair; 
but having decided this question 
against the fishermen, nothing but in- 
131 



Some Fishing Pretenses 

herent and tantalizing meanness can 
account for the manner in which a 
black bass will even then rush for the 
bait, and after actually mouthing it 
will turn about and insultingly whack 
it with his tail. An angler who has 
seen this performance finds, in his de- 
sire to make things even with such 
unmannerly wretches, a motive in ad- 
dition to all others for a relentless 
pursuit of the bass family. 

Another and more encouraging 
stage in bass fishing is reached when 
biting seems to be the order of the 
day. It must not be supposed, how- 
ever, that thereupon the angler's 
troubles and perplexities are over, or 
that nothing stands in the way of an 
easy and satisfying catch. Experience 
in this kind of fishing never fails to 
132 



and Affectations 



teach that it is one thing to induce 
these cunning fellows to take the bait, 
and quite another to accomplish their 
capture. It is absolutely necessary in 
this stage of the proceedings that the 
deliberation and gingerly touch of 
the fish be matched by the delibera- 
tion and care on the part of the fisher- 
man at the butt of the rod; and the 
strike on his part must not be too 
much hastened, lest he fail to lodge 
his hook in a good holding place. 
Even if he succeeds in well hooking 
his fish he cannot confidently expect 
a certain capture. In point of fact 
the tension and anxiety of the work 
in hand begins at that very instant. 
Ordinarily when a bass is struck 
with the hook, if he is in surroundings 
favorable to his activity, he at once 
133 



Some Fishing Pretenses 



enters upon a series of acrobatic per- 
formances which, during their contin- 
uance, keep the fisherman in a state 
of acute suspense. While he rushes 
away from and toward and around 
and under the boat, and while he is 
leaping from the water and turning 
somersaults with ugly shakes of his 
head, in efforts to dislodge the hook, 
there is at the other end of the outfit 
a fisherman, tortured by the fear of 
infirmity lurking somewhere in his 
tackle, and wrought to the point of 
distress by the thought of a light hook 
hold in the fish's jaw, and its liability 
to tear out in the struggle. If in the 
midst of it all a sudden release of pull 
and a straightening of his rod give 
the signal that the bass has won the 
battle, the vanquished angler has, after 
134 



and Affectations 



a short period of bad behavior and 
language, the questionable satisfaction 
of attempting to solve a forever un- 
solvable problem, by studying how his 
defeat might have been avoided If he 
had managed differently. 

No such perplexing question, how- 
ever, is presented to the bass fisher- 
man who lands his fish. He compla- 
cently regards his triumph as the 
natural and expected result of steadi- 
ness and skill, and excludes from his 
thoughts all shadow of doubt con- 
cerning the complete correctness of 
his procedure in every detail. 

My expressed design to place fish- 
ing for black bass with bait in compe- 
tition with fly-casting for trout will, 
I hope, be considered a justification 
for the details I have given of bass 



Some Fishing Pretenses 



fishing. It commends itself in every 
feature to the sporting instincts of all 
genuine anglers; and it is because I 
do not hope to altogether correct the 
"Affectations and Pretenses of Fish- 
ing" that I have felt constrained to 
rally those who should love angling 
for bass — to the end that at least a 
good-natured division may be estab- 
lished within our fraternity between 
an ornamental and pretense-breeding 
method and one which cultivates skill, 
stimulates the best fishing traits, and 
remains untouched by any form of 
affectation. 




J^^^fr,Jh^''{^'^l 



1^- 

















v*^i8ifi!/ ■■i;/ 



"-SS,^.^- 







^ *v' 



Summer Shooting 

AS a general rule our guns 
should be put away for a 
-long rest before the summer 
vacation. There is, however, one 
game situation which justifies their use, 
and it is this situation which sometimes 
appropriately allows a small-gauge 
gun to be placed beside the rod and 
reel in making up a vacation outfit. 

In July or August the summer mi- 
gration from their breeding places in 
139 



Summer Shooting 



the far North brings shore-birds and 
plover — both old and full-grown 
young — along our Eastern coast, in 
first-rate condition. My experience 
in shooting this game has all been 
within recent years, and almost en- 
tirely in the marshes and along the 
shores of Cape Cod. Like other 
members of the present generation 
and later comers in a limited field, I 
have been obliged to hear with tire- 
some iteration the old, old story of 
gray-haired men who tell of the "arms 
and the man" who in days gone by, on 
this identical ground, have slain these 
birds by thousands. The embellish- 
ment of these tales by all the inci- 
dents that mark the progress of our 
people In game extermination I have 
accepted as furnishing an explanation 
140 



Summer Shooting 



of the meager success of many of my 
excursions; but at the same time my 
condemnation of the methods of the 
inconsiderate slaughterers who pre- 
ceded me has led to a consoling con- 
sciousness of my own superior sport- 
ing virtues. 

While I am willing to confess to 
considerable resentment against those 
who in their shooting days were 
thoughtless enough to forget that I 
was to come after them, it must by no 
means be understood that my gunning 
for shore-birds has been discouraging. 
I have made some fair bags, and any 
bag is large enough for me, providing 
I have lost no opportunities and have 
shot well. Besides, I have never in- 
dulged in any shooting so conducive 
to the stimulation and strengthening 
141 



Summer Shooting 



of the incomparable virtue of pa- 
tience. I have sat in a blind for five 
hours, by the watch — and awake near- 
ly all the time at that — without see- 
ing or hearing a bird worth shooting. 
It is, however, neither the killing 
of birds nor the cultivation of patience 
that has exacted my absolute submis- 
sion to the fascination of shore-bird 
shooting on Cape Cod. It is hard 
to explain this fascination, but my no- 
tion is that it grows out of a conceited 
attempt to calculate the direction of 
the wind and other weather condi- 
tions over-night, the elaborate prepa- 
rations for a daylight start, the uncer- 
tainties of the pursuit under any con- 
ditions, the hope, amounting almost 
to expectation, that notwithstanding 
this the wisdom and calculation ex- 
142 



,-■/ K 



■(.^f* 



r/'^/^. 









», V 



^■^ ^JP* L^ fv ^"^^.^ t\ — _.j. \ . -^--V- 







Summer Shooting 



pended in determining upon the trip 
will be vindicated, the delightful 
early morning drive to the grounds, 
the anticipation of a flight of birds 
every moment while there, and the 
final sustaining expectation of their 
arrival in any event just before night. 
The singular thing in my case is that 
if all goes wrong at last, and even 
if under the influence of fatigue and 
disappointment I resolve during the 
drive home in chill and darkness that 
the trip will not be repeated for many 
a long day, it is quite certain that 
within forty-eight hours I shall be 
again observing the weather and 
guessing what the direction of the 
wind will be the next morning, in con- 
templation of another start. 

But some will say, how are the 
145 



Summer Shooting 



incidents of hope and expectation, or 
of preparation and calculation, which 
are common to all sporting excursions, 
made to account for this especial in- 
fatuation with shore-bird shooting? 
I shall answer this question as well as 
I can by suggesting that the difference 
is one of degree. In gunning for 
other game one knows, or thinks he 
knows, where it is or ought to be. 
The wind and weather, while not en- 
tirely ignored, usually have a subor- 
dinate place in preliminary calcula- 
tion, and the pleasures of hope and 
expectation are kept within the limits 
of ability or luck in finding the game. 
On the other hand, the shore-bird 
hunter knows not the abiding place 
of his game. He knows that at 
times during certain summer months 
146 



Summer Shooting 



these birds pass southward in their 
long migration, but he cannot know 
whether they will keep far out at sea 
or will on some unknown day be driv- 
en by wind and weather to the shore 
for temporary rest and feeding, and 
thusgive him his opportunity. Though 
the presence on marsh or shore of a 
few bird stragglers may put him on 
his guard, it must still remain a ques- 
tion whether the game in sufficient 
quantities to make good shooting is 
hundreds or thousands of miles away 
or in the neighborhood of the shoot- 
ing grounds. 

I believe the unusual contingencies 
of shore-bird shooting and the wider 
scope they give for hope and expecta- 
tion, together with the manifold con- 
ditions which give abundant oppor- 
147 



Summer Shooting 



tunity for self-conceit in calculating 
probabilities, account for its quality 
of exceptional fascination. 

The sportsman who persists, is apt 
occasionally to find a good number of 
birds about the grounds; and when 
that happens, if he is adequately 
equipped with good decoys, and the 
right spirit, and especially if he is 
able to call the birds, he will enjoy a 
variety of fine shooting. The initi- 
ated well understand the importance 
of the call, and they know that the 
best caller will get the most birds. 
The notes of shore-birds, though quite 
dissimilar, are in most cases easily 
imitated after a little practice, and a 
simply constructed contriv^ance which 
can be purchased at almost any sport- 
ing goods store will answer for all the 
148 



Summer Shooting 



game if properly used. The birds 
are usually heard before they are 
seen, and if their notes are answered 
naturally and not too vehemently or 
too often, they will soon be seen with- 
in shooting range, whether they are 
Black-Breasted Plover, Chicken Plov- 
er, Yellow Legs, Piping Plover, Cur- 
lew, Sanderlings or Grass Birds. Of 
course, no decent hunter allows them 
to alight before he shoots. 

I would not advise the summer va- 
cationist who lacks the genuine sport- 
ing spirit to pursue the shore-bird. 
Those who do so should not disgrace 
themselves by killing the handsome 
little sand-pipers or peeps too small 
to eat. It is better to go home with 
nothing killed than to feel the weight 
of a mean, unsportsmanlike act. 
149 



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Concerning Rabbit Shooting 

SOME hunters there are, of the 
super-refined and dudish sort, 
who deny to the rabbit any 
position among legitimate game ani- 
mals; and there are others who, 
while grudgingly admitting rabbits 
to the list, seem to think it neces- 
sary to excuse their concession by 
calling them hares, I regard all this 
as pure affectation and nonsense. 
I deem it not beneath my dignity and 
153 



Concerning Rabbit Shooting 



standing as a reputable gunner to 
write of the rabbit as an entirely suit- 
able member of the game community ; 
and in doing so I am not dealing with 
hares or any other thing except plain, 
little every-day plebeian rabbits — 
sometimes appropriately called "cot- 
ton-tails." Though they may be "de- 
famed by every charlatan" among 
hunters of self-constituted high de- 
gree, and despised by thousands who 
know nothing of their game qualities, 
I am not ashamed of their pursuit; 
and I count It by no means bad skill 
to force them by a successful shot to 
a topsy-turvy pause when at their best 
speed. 

These sly little fellows feed at 
night, and during the day they hide so 
closely In grass or among rocks and 
154 



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Concerning Rabbit Shooting 

brush that it is seldom they can be 
seen when at rest. Of course, no de- 
cent man will shoot a rabbit while 
sitting, and I have known them to re- 
fuse to start for anything less than a 
kick, or punch. When they do start, 
however, they demonstrate quite clear- 
ly that they have kept their feet in 
the best possible position for a spring 
and run. After such a start the rab- 
bit must in fairness be given an abun- 
dant chance to gain full headway, and 
when he has traversed the necessary 
distance for this, and is at his fastest 
gait, the hunter that shoots him has 
good reason to be satisfied with his 
marksmanship. I once actually poked 
one up and he escaped unhurt, though 
four loads of shot were sent after 
him. 

157 



Concerning Rabbit Shooting 



In the main, however, dogs must 
be relied upon for the real enjoyment 
and success of rabbit hunting. The 
fastest dogs are not the best, because 
they are apt to chase the rabbit so 
swiftly and closely that he quickly be- 
takes himself to a hole or other safe 
shelter, instead of relying upon his 
running ability. The baying of three 
or four good dogs steadily following 
a little cotton-tail should be as exhila- 
rating and as pleasant to ears attuned 
to the music as if the chase were for 
bigger .game. As the music is heard 
more distinctly, the hunter is allowed 
to flatter himself that his acute judg- 
ment can determine the route of the 
approaching game and the precise 
point from which an advantageous 
shot can be secured. The self-satis- 
158 



Concerning Rabbit Shooting 



fied conceit aroused by a fortunate 
guess concerning this important de- 
tail, especially if supplemented by a 
fatal shot, should permit the lucky 
gunner to enjoy as fully the compla- 
cent pleasurable persuasion that the 
entire achievement is due to his sagac- 
ity, keenness and skill as though the 
animal circumvented were a larger 
beast. In either case the hunter expe- 
riences the delight born of a well-fed 
sense of superiority and self-pride; 
and this, notwithstanding all attempts 
to keep it in the background, is the 
most gratifying factor in every sport- 
ing indulgence. 

Some people speak slightingly of 

the rabbit's eating qualities. This 

must be an abject surrender to fad or 

fashion. At any rate it is exceedingly 

159 



Concerning Rabbit Shooting 



unjust to the cotton-tall; and one who 
can relish tender chicken and refuse 
to eat a nicely cooked rabbit is, I be- 
lieve, a victim of unfounded preju- 
dices. 

Why, then, should not rabbit hunt- 
ing, when honorably pursued, be given 
a respectable place among gunning ac- 
tivities? It certainly has every ele- 
ment of rational outdoor recreation. 
It ministers to the most exhilarating 
and healthful exercise; it furnishes 
saving relief from care and over- 
work; it is free from wantonness and 
inexcusable destruction of animal life, 
and, if luck favors, it gives play to 
innocent but gratifying self-conceit. 

Let us remember, however, that if 
rabbit hunting is to be a manly out- 
door recreation, entirely free from 
i6o 



Concerning Rabbit Shooting 

meanness, and a sport in which a true 
hunter can indulge without shame, 
the httle cotton-tail must in all cir- 
cumstances be given a fair chance for 
his life. 




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A Word to Fishermen 

THOSE of us who fish in a 
fair, well-bred and reason- 
able way, for the purpose of 
recreation and as a means of increas- 
ing the table pleasures of ourselves 
or our friends, may well regret the 
apparently unalterable decree which 
gives to all those who fish, under the 
spur of any motive — good, bad or 
indifferent — the name of fishermen. 
We certainly have nothing in common 
with those who lish for a livelihooc!, 
165 



A Word to Fishermen 

unless it be a desire to catch fish. We 
have, in point of fact, no closer re- 
lationship than this with the murder- 
ously inclined, whose only motive in 
fishing is to make large catches, and 
whose sole pleasure in the pursuit is 
the gratification of a greedy propen- 
sity. Nevertheless we, and those with 
whom we have so little sympathy, are 
by a sort of unavoidable law of gravi- 
tation classed together in the same 
fraternity, and called fishermen. Oc- 
casionally weak attempts have been 
made to classify the best of this fra- 
ternity under the name of Anglers, 
or some title of that kind, but such 
efforts have always failed. Even 
Izaak Walton could not change the 
current of human thought by calling 
his immortal book "The Compleat 
166 










^v> 



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I \ 



A Word to Fishermen 

Angler." So it seems however much 
those who fish may differ in social 
standing, in disposition and character, 
in motive and ambition, and even in 
mode of operation, all must abide, to 
the end of the chapter, in the con- 
templation of the outside world, with- 
in the brotherhood called "Fisher- 
men." Happily, however, this group- 
ing of incongruous elements under a 
common name does not prevent those 
of us who properly appreciate the 
importance of upholding the respecta- 
bility of decent fishing from coming 
to an agreement concerning certain 
causes of congratulation and certain 
rules of conduct. 

We who claim to represent the 
highest fishing aspirations are some- 
times inclined to complain on days 
169 



A Word to Fishermen 

when the fish refuse to bite. There 
can be no worse exhibition than this 
of an entire misconception of a wise 
arrangement for our benefit. We 
should always remember that we have 
about us on every side thousands of 
those who claim membership in the 
fishing fraternity, because, In a way, 
they love to fish when the fish bite — 
and only then. These are contented 
only when capture Is constant, and 
their only conception of the pleasures 
of fishing rests upon uninterrupted 
slaughter. If we reflect for a moment 
upon the consequences of turning an 
army of fishermen like these loose 
upon fish that would bite every day 
and every hour, we shall see how nice- 
ly the vicissitudes of fishing have been 
adjusted, and how precisely and use- 
170 






IP^i;; 



















A Word to Fishermen 



fully the fatal attack of discouraging 
bad luck selects its victims. If on 
days when we catch few or no fish 
we feel symptoms of disappointment, 
these should immediately give way to 
satisfaction when we remember how 
many spurious and discouraged fish- 
ermen are spending their time in ham- 
mocks or under trees or on golf fields 
instead of with fishing outfits, solely 
on account of just such unfavorable 
days. We have no assurance that if 
fish could be easily taken at all times 
the fishing waters within our reach 
would not be depopulated — a horrible 
thing to contemplate. Let it not be 
said that such considerations as these 
savor of uncharitableness and selfish- 
ness on our part. We are only recog- 
nizing the doctrine of the survival of 
^73 



A Word to Fishermen 



the fittest as apphed to fishermen, and 
claiming that these "fittest" should 
have the best chance. 

What has been said naturally leads 
to the suggestion that consistency re- 
quires those of us who are right- 
minded fishermen to reasonably limit 
ourselves as to the number of fish 
we should take on favorable days. 
On no account should edible fish be 
caught in such quantities as to be 
wasted. By restraining ourselves in 
this matter we discourage in our own 
natures the growth of greed, we pre- 
vent wicked waste, we make it easier 
for us to bear the fall between decent 
good luck and bad luck, or no luck, 
and we make ourselves at all points 
better men and better fishermen. 

We ought not to forget these things 
174 



A Word to Fishermen 

as we enter upon the pleasures of our 
summer's fishing. But in any event 
let us take with us when we go out 
good tackle, good bait, and plenty of 
patience. If the wind is in the South 
or West so much the better, but let's 
go, wherever the wind may be. If 
we catch fish we shall add zest to our 
recreation. If we catch none, we 
shall still have the outing and the 
recreation — more healthful and more 
enjoyable than can be gained in any 
other way. 



75 




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A Duck-Hunting Trip 

IT Is not a pleasant thing for one 
who prides himself on his strict 
obedience to game laws to be ac- 
cused of violating these laws whenever 
he hunts or fishes — and especially Is It 
exasperating to be thus accused solely 
for the delectation or profit of some 
hungry and mendacious newspaper 
correspondent. It is not true that I 
was once arrested In Virginia for vio- 
179 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 

lation of the game laws, or for shoot- 
ing without a license; nor was any 
complaint ever made against me; nor, 
so far as I know, was such a thing ever 

contemplated. 

Sport Versus Slaughter 

Equally false and mischievous, 
though not involving a violation of 
law, was the charge that a party of 
which I was a member killed five hun- 
dred ducks. Our shooting force on 
that expedition consisted of five gun- 
ners of various grades of hunting abil- 
ity, including one who had not "fired a 
gun in twenty years," and another who 
could "do pretty well with a rifle, but 
didn't know much about a shotgun." 
We were shooting four days, but on 
only one of these days was our entire 
1 80 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 

force engaged. There was not one in 
the party who would not have been 
ashamed of any compHcity in the kill- 
ing of five hundred ducks, within the 
time spent and In the circumstances 
surrounding us; nor is there one of the 
party who does not believe that, if 
the extermination of wild ducks is to 
be prevented, and if our grandchil- 
dren are to know anything about 
duck shooting, except as a matter of 
historical reading, stringent and in- 
telligent laws for the preservation of 
this game must be supplemented and 
aided by an aggressive sentiment firm- 
ly held among decent ducking sports- 
men, making it disgraceful to kill 
ducks for the purpose of boasting of 
a big bag, or for the mere sake of 
killing. Those who hunt ducks with 
183 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 



no better motives than these, and who 
are restrained, in the absence of law, 
by nothing except the lack of oppor- 
tunity to kill, are duck-slaughterers, 
who merit the contempt of the pres- 
ent generation and the curses of gen- 
erations yet to come. 

Our party killed about one hun- 
dred and twenty-five ducks. We ate 
as many as we cared to eat during 
our stay among the hunting marshes, 
and we brought enough home to eat 
on our own tables and to distribute 
among our friends. It seems to me 
that gunners who kill as many ducks 
as will answer all these purposes ought 
to be satisfied. 



184 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 

On the Cooking of Wild Ducks 

And just iiere I want to suggest 
something which ought to greatly cur- 
tail the distribution of wild ducks 
among our friends. In households 
where no idea prevails of the differ- 
ence between properly cooking a wild 
duck and one brought up in a barn- 
yard, a complimentary gift of wild 
fowl is certainly of questionable ad- 
visability; for if these are cooked 
after the fashion prescribed for the 
domestic duck they will be so thor- 
oughly discredited in the eating that 
the recipient of the gift will come 
near suspecting a practical joke, and 
the donor will be nearly guilty of 
waste. 

In Virginia they have a very good 
185 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 

law proiiiblting duck shooting on 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, and of 
course on Sundays. These are called 
rest days. We arrived at the very 
comfortable club-house of the Back 
Bay Club, in Princess Anne County, 
about noon one Saturday, with weather 
very fair and quiet — too much so for 
good ducking. From the time of our 
arrival until very early Monday morn- 
ing, besides eating and sleeping, we 
had nothing to do but to "get ready." 
It must not be supposed that those 
words only mean the settlement in 
our quarters and the preparation of 
guns, ammunition and other outfit. 
Many other things are necessary by 
way of stimulating interest and filling 
the minds of waiting gunners with 
lively anticipation and hope. Thus 
186 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 

during the preparatory hours left to 
us our eyes were strained hundreds 
of times from every favorable point 
of observation in search of flying 
ducks; hundreds of times the ques- 
tion as to the most desirable shoot- 
ing points was discussed, and thou- 
sands of times the wish was expressed 
that Monday, instead of being a 
"blue bird day," would present us 
with a good, stiff breeze from the 
right direction. The field of predic- 
tion was open to all of us, and none 
avoided it. A telling hit was made 
by the most self-satisfied weather- 
prophet of the party, who foretold 
an east wind at sundown, which 
promptly made its appearance on 
schedule time. 

When we were roused out of bed at 
187 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 

4.30 o'clock that Monday morning we 
found our east wind still with us in 
pretty good volume, and although we 
all knew it was not in the most favor- 
able quarter, and that the weather 
was too warm for the best shooting, 
it was with high hopes that we got 
into our boats and started in midnight 
darkness for our blinds. Whatev^er 
anticipation of good shooting I had 
indulged met with a severe reverse 
when I learned that my shooting com- 
panion and I were expected to kill 
ducks with our decoys placed to the 
windward of us. I warmly protested 
against this, declaring that I had 
never done such a thing in my life, 
and In the strongest language I ob- 
jected to the arrangement; but all to 
no purpose. 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 

As I expected, the ducks that 
were inclined to fly within our range, 
coming up the wind behind us, saw 
our blinds and us before they saw 
the decoys, and when we tried to 
turn and get a shot, a sudden flare or 
tower put them out of reach. As for 
fair decoying, they had no notion of 
such a thing. We killed a few ducks 
through much tribulation; but the ir- 
ritation of knowing that many good 
opportunities had been lost by our im- 
proper location more than overbal- 
anced all the satisfaction of our slight 
success. That my theory on the sub- 
ject of windward decoys is correct was 
proved when on Thursday, with a 
west wind and decoys to the leeward, 
we killed at the same place more than 
twice as many ducks as we killed the 
189 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 



first day. This was not because more 
came to us, but because they came In 
proper fashion. 

On Having One's "Eye Wiped" 

It was on this day that I once or 
twice had my "eye wiped," and I re- 
call it even now with anything but sat- 
isfaction. It is a provoking thing 
to miss a fair shot, but to have your 
companion after you have had your 
chance knock down the bird by a 
long, hard shot makes one feel some- 
what distressed. This we call "wip- 
ing the eye"; but I have always 
thought the sensation caused by this 
operation justified calling it "goug- 
ing the eye." 

We left for home after one more 
very cold day spent in the blinds, with 
190 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 



some good shooting. Every one of 
the party was enthusiastic in speaking 
of the pleasure our outing had af- 
forded us, and all were outspoken in 
the hope that our experience might 
be repeated in the future. 

Now, let it be observed that most 
prominent among the things that had 
occupied us and were thus delightfully 
remembered, and among the experi- 
ences desired again in the future, were 
the rigors and discomforts we had 
undergone in our shooting. So far 
as the good things and the comforts 
of the club-house itself entered into 
the enjoyment of our trip, it would 
be strange if they did not present 
great allurement; for nothing in the 
way of snug shelter and good eating 
and drinking was lacking. It Is not 
191 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 



so easy, however, to reason out the 
duck hunter's eagerness to leave a 
warm bed, morning after morning, 
long before light, and go shivering 
out into the cold and darkness for the 
sake of reaching his blind before day- 
break — not to find there warmth and 
shelter, but to sit for hours chilled to 
the bone patiently waiting for the 
infrequent shot which reminds him 
that he is indulging in sport or health- 
ful recreation. Suppose that such a 
regimen as this were prescribed in cold 
blood as necessary to health. How 
many would think health worth the 
cost of such hardships? 



192 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 



"The Duck Hunter Is Born — Not 

Made" 

Suppose the discomforts willingly 
endured by duck hunters were re- 
quired of employees in an Industrial 
establishment. There would be one 
place where a condition of strike 
would be constant and chronic. If It 
be said that the gratification of bring- 
ing down ducks pays for all the suf- 
fering of their pursuit, the question 
obtrudes Itself, how is this compensa- 
tion forthcoming In the stress of bad 
luck or no luck, and how Is it that 
the duck-hunting propensity survives 
all conditions and all fortunes? 

I am satisfied that there Is but one 
way to account for the unyielding en- 
thusiasm of those who hunt ducks and 
193 



A Duck-Hunting Trip 



for their steady devotion to their 
favorite recreation : The duck hunter 
is born — not made. 




194 






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Quail Shooting 

WE hear a great deal in 
these days about abun- 
dant physical exercise as a 
necessary factor in the maintenance of 
sound health and vigor. This is so 
universally and persistently enjoined 
upon us by those whose studies and 
efforts are devoted to our bodily wel- 
fare that frequently, if we withhold 
an iota of belief concerning any de- 
tail of the proposition, we subject our- 
selves to the accusation of recklessly 
discrediting the laws of health, 
197 



Quail Shooting 



While beyond all doubt a whole- 
sale denial of the importance of physi- 
cal exertion to a desirable condition of 
bodily strength would savor of fool- 
ish hardihood, we are by no means 
obliged to concede that mere activity 
of muscles without accompaniment 
constitutes the exercise best calculated 
to do us good. In point of fact we 
are only boldly honest and sincere 
when we insist that really beneficial 
exercise consists as much in the pur- 
suit of some independent object we 
desire to reach or gain by physical 
exertion, coupled with a pleasant stim- 
ulation of mental interest and recre- 
ation, as in any given kind or degree 
of mere muscular activity. Bodily 
movement alone, undertaken from a 
sense of duty or upon medical advice, 
198 



Quail Shooting 



is among the dreary and unsatisfying 
things of Hfe. It may cultivate or 
increase animal strength and endur- 
ance, but it is apt at the same time to 
weaken and distort the disposition 
and temper. The medicine is not only 
distasteful, but fails in efficacy unless 
it is mingled with the agreeable and 
healing ingredients of mental recrea- 
tion and desirable objects of endeavor. 
I am convinced that nothing meets 
all the requirements of rational, 
healthful outdoor exercise more com- 
pletely than quail shooting. It seems 
to be so compounded of wholesome 
things that it reaches, with vitalizing 
effect, every point of mental or physi- 
cal enervation. Under the prohibi- 
tions of the law, or the restraints of 
sporting decency, or both, it is permit- 
199 



Quail Shooting 



ted only at a season of the year when 
nature freely dispenses, to those who 
submit to her treatment, the potent 
tonic of cool and bracing air and the 
invigorating influences of fields and 
trees and sky, no longer vexed by sum- 
mer heat. It invites early rising; and 
as a general rule a successful search 
fur these uncertain birds in\'ol\es long 
miles of travel on foot. Obviously 
this sport furnishes an abundance 
of muscular action and physically 
strengthening surroundings. These, 
fortunately, are supplenicnted by the 
eager alertness essential to the ilis- 
covery and capture of game well 
worth the effort, and by the recreative 
and self-satisfying complacency of 
more or less skillful shooting. 

In addition to all this, the quail 
200 









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Quail Shooting 



shooter has on his excursions a com- 
panion, who not only promotes his 
success, but whose manner of contrib- 
uting to it is a constant source of de- 
light. I am not speaking of human 
companionship, which frequently mars 
pleasure by insistent competition or 
awkward interference, but of the com- 
panionship of a faithful, devoted 
helper, never discouraged or discon- 
tented with his allotted service, except 
when the man behind the gun shoots 
badly, and always dumbly willing to 
concede to the shooter the entire credit 
of a successful hunt. The work in 
the field of a well-trained dog is of 
itself an exhibition abundantly worth 
the fatigue of a quailing expedition. It 
behooves the hunter, however, to re- 
member that the dog is in the field for 
203 



Quail Shooting 



business, and that no amount of sen- 
timental admiration of his perform- 
ances on the part of his master will 
compensate him, if, after he has found 
and indicated the location of the 
game, it escapes through inattention 
or bad shooting at the critical instant. 
The careless or bungling shooter who 
repeatedly misses all manner of fair 
shots, must not be surprised If, in utter 
disgust, his dog companion sulkily 
ceases effort, or even wholly abandons 
the field, leaving the chagrined and 
disappointed hunter to return home 
alone — leg weary, gameless and 
ashamed. He is thus forced to learn 
that hunting-dog intelligence is not 
limited to abject subservience; and he 
thus gains a new appreciation of the 
fact that the better his dog, the bet- 
204 



Quail Shooting 



ter the shooter must know "what to 
do with his gun." 

I do not assume to be competent 
to give instruction in quail shooting. 
I miss too often to undertake such a 
rdle. It may not, however, be en- 
tirely unprofitable to mention a fault 
which I suppose to be somewhat com- 
mon among those who have not 
reached the point of satisfactory skill, 
and which my experience has taught 
me will stand in the way of success 
as long as it remains uncorrected. I 
refer to the instinctive and difficultly 
controlled impulse to shoot too quick- 
ly when the bird rises. The flight 
seems to be much more speedy than 
it really is; and the undrilled shooter, 
if he has any idea in his mind at all, 
is dominated by the fear that if the 
205 



Quail Shooting 



formality of aiming his gun is ob- 
served the game will be beyond range 
before he shoots. This leads to a 
nerv ous, flustered pointing of the gun 
in the direction of the bird's flight, 
and its discharge at such close range 
that the load of shot hardly separates 
in the intervening distance. Nine 
times out of ten the result is, of course, 
a complete miss; and if the bird 
should at any time under these condi- 
tions be accidentally hit, it would be 
difficult to find its scattered fragments. 
An old quail shooter once advised 
a younger one afflicted with this sort 
of quick triggeritis: "When the bird 
gets up, if you chew tobacco spit over 
your shoulder before you shoot." 

It is absolutely certain that he who 
aspires to do good quail shooting must 
206 



Quail Shooting 



keep cool; and it is just as certain that 
he must trust the carrying qualities 
of his gun as well as his own ability 
and the intelligence of his dog. If he 
observes these rules, experience and 
practice will do the rest. 

I hope I may be allowed to suggest 
that both those who appreciate the 
table qualities of the toothsome quail, 
and those who know the keen enjoy- 
ment and health-giving results of their 
pursuit, should recognize it as quite 
worth their while, and as a matter of 
duty, to co-operate in every movement 
having for its object the protection, 
preservation and propagation of this 
game. Our quail have many natural 
enemies; they are often decimated by 
the severity of winter, and there are 
human beings so degraded and so lost 
207 



Quail Shooting 



to shame as to seek their destruction 
in ways most foul. A covey of quail 
will sometimes huddle as close to- 
gether as possible in a circle, with 
their heads turned outward. I have 
heard of men who, discovering them 
in this situation, have fired upon them, 
killing every one at a single shot. 
There ought to be a law which would 
consign one guilty of this crime to 
prison for a comfortable term of 
years. A story is told of a man so 
stupidly unsportsmanlike that when he 
was interfered with as he raised his 
gun, apparently to shoot a quail run- 
ning on the ground, he exclaimed with 
irritation: "I did not intend to shoot 
until it had stopped running." This 
may be called innocent stupidity; biit 
there is no place for such a man 
208 



Quail Shooting 



among sportsmen, and lie is certainly 
out of place among quail. 

It is cause for congratulation that 
so much has heen done for quail pro- 
tection and preservation through the 
enactment of laws for that purpose. 
But neither these nor their perfunc- 
tory enforcement will be sufficiently ef- 
fective. There must be, in addition, an 
active sentiment aroused in support 
of more advanced game legislation, 
and of willing, voluntary service in aid 
of its enforcement; and in the mean- 
time all belonging to the sporting 
fraternity should teach that genuine 
sportsmanship is based upon honor, 
generosity, obedience to law and a 
scrupulous willingness to perpetuate, 
for those who come after them, the 
recreation they themselves enjoy. 
209 



I 






c 



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