Drifting Feathers

Once upon a hunting time… A hunting story with a moral.

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It was my first time out with my new shotgun. Though new to me, it was a second hand Remington 1100.  It had a few scratches showing its use but was in great shape overall.  It was quite long and heavy and I had several people tell me I wouldn’t be able to hit anything with it. I’m not exactly a towering individual and the gun was equal to a good share of my body weight at the time. But I have never listened much to people who try to tell me something won’t happen simply because it didn’t seem likely. I took it as a challenge. So, the weekend I bought it, Dad and I set out on the hills of central Washington to get some quail.

The part of the hunting I remember most from that day was when we were coming up over the edge of a draw. We didn’t have the dogs with us like we usually did because my step-mom had them with her. As we made our way up a deer trail, some quail spooked from some brush and Dad being closest, took the shot. Now Dad is a good shot and a careful aim. He got one quail but winged another that was on the outside edge of his shot pattern. We watched helplessly as it fluttered in its pained descent over the edge of the draw, quickly to be out of our sight. We looked at each other, knowing the bird was wounded; not dead. We would never find it in all that brush without the dogs. But before we could say anything we heard an odd sound, not unlike the sound of a plane falling in a cartoon. In the sky above us a prairie falcon buzzed like a bomber over head and all that was left of our winged quail was a small cloud of floating feathers. I don’t speak Prairie Falcon but I’m pretty sure he said, “thank you” – not only for the free lunch, but also for using steel shot rather than lead.

The gun that was just too long and heavy for someone my size to use took down a fair share of quail that day. I learned to use it very effectively. In fact, if one could eat clay pigeon I’d never have to hunt again.

If there is a moral to this story perhaps it is simply that reality need not be legislated by the negative comments or lack of faith offered by others.  The biggest limiting factor to your ability is you.  

Copyright 2010 Shai Adair

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