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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 28, 1902)
(Copyright, hv Martha McCulloch
llNO shoot Ing in tho south may bo
Droartly divided into marsh and
upland shooting. Strict marsh
shooting is confined to rice
birds, also called reed hlr,l-
blackbirds and sora. or Virginia rail. All
those come In flights of thousands to feed
In brackish marshes notably those which
cover the Potomac tints and sprend about
the estuaries of tidewater streams from
the Potomac to the Florida coast.
jp- There are two ways of getting at the
birds. One la to put on hip-boots and wade
the marsh edges, shooting as the flock
rise overhead. This is tiresome and witlnl
unsafe to a man who does not know every
foot of the ground. The marsh mud has
a tremendous holding pr.wor and also a
knack of developing holes deep enough
to swallow up the unwary. Resides the
best shooting is always further In mid
marsh, in fact, especially If the marsh Is
broad, with shallow edges.
The better way Is to shoot from a marsh
boat, a shallow but seaworthy affair, very
sharp at both ends, but of fairly broad
beam in the middle. It Is propelled by a
long pole tipped with an iron V prong,
which Is to save the pole from going too
deep In mud. Local boatmen own and pole
the boats, charging for their use $2 a tide.
This is not exorbitant In consideration of
tho work Involved in poling and the extra
vigilance required to mark game and re
trieve it before era! s and craw fish steal it.
The boats go In on a rising tide nnd
stay only until it turns, for at low tiii.i
the craft would rest on the muddy bot
tom. As the prow parts reeds, rushes
and wild oats, the birds feeding there In
flocks rise after the manner of feathered
clouds. Markmanshlp is hardly required
to bring them down In dozens. All o,ne
needs to do is to shoot quickly In their
direction before they get out of range.
They fly like lightning, especially the rife
Rail, which is a little larger than rice
birds, are sometimes shot upland and far
from the coast line. They are, indeed, not
unknown in the great middle region west of
the Appalachians, where no doubt they have
lagged from flights between gulf marshes
and those of the great lakes. In their
season the marsh birds are delicate eating,
tender and tempting morsels, almost
smothered in their own fat.
Snipe and woodcock, which almost haunt
liese tidal marshes, are found pretty well
.everywhere there is rich, damp, low
ground. In the main they are migratory,
though a moiety breed near their feeding
haunts in the river valleys of the middle
south. Tho breeding Is early and by mid
July the broods are as strong on the wing
as the parent birds.
Old river bottom meadows abounding In
sloughs and thickets are the best ground
for either snipe or woodcock. Both birds
feed late, from sundown well forward
Throughout the hours of strong sunshine
they keep so close that the best dogs often
fall to nose them out. Once up they fly
so strong that there is a great chance of
missing, especially as both have a most
erratic line of flight. It Is no feat at all
for a lively woodcock to make himself a
feathered corkscrew, twisting his way
through the air. Still, with patience
markmanshlp and a bit of luck one may
make a fair bag, but rarely a big one.
Summer shooting Is practiced in many
places, but the best sport comes In au
tumn, when migrating birds halt for rest
and refreshment. Then a good gun well
handled should account for several brace
each time out. At other times one brace
or even a single bird to half a dozen misses
Is no discredit to sportsman skill.
For every snipe or woodcock the south
land shows there are at least a hundred
' s n n CI . f , S n r-V
man. I." U Vie-r.- ary oVlne .m'ral"-,,!;? "'r '" h. . ,,:, ; J.
t. r. I.. U. pastor Firs church, Kanias C'i ' I V'' 1''Vi'.VK,'llM,,, "v.
Omaha. ' '. Mo., Juv. L.iwin Hart Jinks, pastor
LEADERS IN PRESBYTERIAN MISSION CONFERENCE Photo by a Staff
and Disappointments of
.love, ami probably f,00 partridges. Tart- turbed. A .nod ll.ht hreorh..n.w
ridge Is there the common name of quail.
Tho true partridge is called pheasant and
Is so rare except in the mountain regions
that It Is practically beyond consideration.
Like the wild turkey, it has disappeared
before the axe rather than the rifle.
Cleared fields might furnish it food In
greater plenty than ever, but they have
taken away the sylvan solitude within
which It breeds and flourishes.
Doves Increase almost Inversely to the
spread of corn land, although they are
wood birds, haunting and nesting there.
The nest is a ramshackle affair, A thin
huddle of crossed sticks, with no pretense
of lining, set high or low beside a big
bough, according to tho builder's caprice.
Notwithstanding, It suffices to rear two
joung unions eacn season. Tho first eggs
are laid in March. Dv Sonl.mher when
..... ...... ,,, u, .-ii-)u muiT, wuen
dove shooting begins, tho first broods are
fls llllimn nml well f en t tia Ih.ilp
and only to be distinguished from them
. , r . .. . . .... .uim.ta .it, , tiiin 3
wnen It comes to eating. Young birds are
tender enough for broiling; old ones loquiie
to be stewed or else parboiled and then
baked in a pie.
Before tho broiling or baking conies the
killing. This is not so easy. Doves flv
strongly. They are, further, so armored
In fcnlhera that a n nnnlm, al.l I- - - .
In feathers that a glancing shot is apt to
be turned aside. Tho best place for dove
shooting Is beside a stream or nond close
to a corn field. The doves feed In the corn,
pecking much grain, and searching out
more of the field's inject haunters. They
arc so fond of corn that In winter they will
, , " ,
creep through nooks and crannies in crib
walls to feast on If nn.1 then la.., ti, ...i.
walls to feast on it, and then lack the wit
to go back the way thoy came. Sometimes
they die of thirst when thus entrapped.
Oftener thoy end by having their necka
wrung lu punishment of their greed.
Doves fly commonly In company; there
may be two or twenty In a flight. They
choose out special watering places and
come to them steadily, unless much dls-
h-r- wiAy -l::jN-kri ji! VSy- . .--
I h f
1 ' '1 IfJ'J tfvv ,. til '- -V, - -
t i . i 1 1 i i i
turbod. A good light breech-loader, rlulu
bnrrel straight, left choke bored, with No.
6 shot, and strong, quick burning powder,
are requisite for the best sport. The gun
ner does not build a blind, but melts as
nearly as he may Into some such famllinr
object as a tree trunk, a salt trough or even
a fodder stack. lie stands stock still beside
It and until ho moves the doves regard him
as part of the landscape.
In flight their wings make a soft, fllttory
noise suggestive of their cooing. Some
times the noise Is loud enough to warn
tho gunner of birds approaching behind him
Or rlltht OVer his head. Thev ttv ileler-
- -" .
minedly. There Is no wheeling and circling
. . . r ,i . ....
ui-n.ie iin-y mine, nomoumes u.e lino or
nigni is stralglit; at others it describes a
wide curve. Whatever the line the flight
itself Is strong and amazingly swift. Thus
a novice at dove shooting commonly puts
novice ai aove snooting commonly puts
his pellets tcn to fifteen yards behind th.
Dove shooting is by no means ony. Two
clean kills to a miss is good work. Only
exceptional wing shots under exceptional
conditions bring down five birds in six.
Some years, when doves are very plenty,
there is excellent sport in walking them up
and shooting over standing corn. In such
shooting a bird to three shots should con
tent tho most ambitious. Cornfield shoot.
Ing, just after frost, is apt to yield game
of many sorts. Curlew plover, upland
plover, rail, wild turkey, snipe and wood
cock may all be brought to bag, particularly
if tho corn land lies in a river bottom.
.-vol iiiiHiamung, partridges so prednml-
nate that to tho greater number of south
. . ... . .
Notwithstanding, partridges so prednml-
country gunners bird shooting means part
ridge shooting. The reason Is patent. Bob
white, the cheery, has all sorts of ground
for his own. He flourishes riotously In
wheat lund; he feeds fat on corn ground,
he thrives in the meadow fastnesses, and
he makes his own the thicket and the
wood. He is, further, so noble an ex
pansionist. A single family, unhindered,
w- mai'reu am) louis la
William (' .r-
Photo by a
" "' " " " '. mi even i I) less rrcisl Imlils olT very late It is .o f
the shadow of game protection he Increases to wait for it before setting out after p.i.t
nnd multiplies until his sort possesses the ridges. Orocn gras. tough weeds an. I
land. In the far south Louisiana iiikI
Texas he brings up two broods each sea
son. I'ligratefully he Is allowed to be shot
there for six months of tho yenr, from Sep
tember to April.
Cock partridges, wherever they range, arp
Mormons of the first water, never satisfied
with less than two wives, and often boast
ing three. All tho wives lay In n common
nest, take turns at brooding tho eggs ami
at caring for the young. There may be
as many as thirty eggs in a nest. Twenty
nn ill 11 11 ,v HM .
Is more usual
The young run
from tile lleMl nlttmut
soon as hatched and know enough by Mm
time thoy are dry to hide at their mother's
note or warning. They are so near the
color cf earth and leaves that the least
small inequality gives them shelter from
Intrusive eyes. They run very swiftly nnd
in a little while begin to fly, although they
are not strong on the wing until they are
full grown nnd full feathered.
Because of the Mormau tendency there are
generally bachelor birds who skuik by twos
mid Mines about the hedgerow thicket all
summer long. The best early shout lug Is
bad by beating these thickets. The unmatcd
birds fly strongly and are in prime con
dition a fortnight before the coveys are
at their best. Afler frost tho lone birds
and coveys coalesce.
The coveys have a habit of going back
toward the nest at night. They seldom
sleep fifty yards off the nest spot, utiles
they have boon so much disturbed thete
that they have abandoned the place alto
gether. Ixical attachment s I renietidnusly
sirong with them. They will often cling to
a. field through a whole sou son, though Bhot
nt every week. They will migrate In a
mass if threatened with a scarcity of their
favorite focd, the peas of the wild vetch
and the peed of a weed railed, locally, rag
ATUICR KETl'KNINO FROM A TWO
rr W CV7
THE PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY CONFERENCE RECENTLY HELD 1 OM 11
writhing vines are hard to walk tbrmuh.
After the frost has crisped them they break
nt a touch. Many southern guimtri iheet
from their horses. Nearly always lh".v n.lc
when they go n-blrdlng. even though lb
actual shooting may be done afoot.
Wind and weather have much to do with
the sportsman's luck. Hot October sun
shine, with brisk south winds, always
sends the birds to the woods. Cold north
westers, wilh snow and sleet behind, hurry
thorn to the depths of the thickest, most
tangled cover available. Ideal weather N
mild and moist, with Just the faintest stir
of wind and a sky dappled all over with
low gray clouds. I'pon such a day scent
lies well, holds well, coveys are easily
found mid when found do not fly (oo far
before going down. Moreover, they com
monly go down well together, not In a
compart bunch. It Is true, but In such
neighborhood that there Is little trouble
in marking the place. With true dogs and
game, gooil guns and good company the
game is well worth the caudle- and the
Whether smooth or rough runted dogs
are best depends very much on tho ground
and n little bit on the weather. For hunt
ing stubble clean of brush or brake upon
a in 1 11 day n g I pointer Is beyond por-
ndveuture the dog. He will outpoint, out
last and outwork a couple of rough conts.
In tangle or over rocks, with an edge
wind blowing, It is Just the other wny.
There tho shnggy fellow comes to his
kingdom an I reigns undisputed.
Minuting partridges In tall timber
the supreme test of marksmnnshlp.
who waits to aim in such conditions
variably wastes his powder. Indeed,
all bird shooting aim needs must hn
stlnctlve. Partridges flv thronirh f fin 4 rnna '
as crookedly as n rabbit runs his maze,
wheeling nnd twisting lu nnd out between
trunks and nt last often settling upon a
high branch, secure from tho best tlog's
They quickly learn that woods nre u
haven of refuge. Coveys which hnvo been
Hushed once or twice within a work almost
Invariably fly to or toward the woods at a
subsequent flushing. They learn also to
seek shelter In posted fields where there Is
little shooting, going back from them
when the danger is past to f 1 and most
In their famllinr haunts.
The gunner who chances upon such n covey
In good ground has the chance of sport
Indeed. There are few more thrilling
sights or sounds than Its quick, explosive
up-whlrrlng, Its burring flight and long
wheel down wind. The wheeling will come
most likely Just before tho birds go down.
At the ontilest flushing a covey almost
never scatters; tho safety of division Is
part of experience's bitter wisdom. Once
well scatered It is not easy to put the birds
up ngaln. Their power of withholding
scent when frightened is a mooted point,
but the fact Is Indisputable, that dogs of
the keenest nose, ablo to trail a covey
hours after It has passed or come to n
dead point with the game fifty yards away,
often fall to find a bird until the gunner
has walked It up and dropped It as It flew.
Many things make for or against a good
bird season. Wet weather at hat. hlng
time or shortly after often slays Its thou
sands of llufTy brown balls. Drouth, by
shortening the food supply, too great
plenty of minks and foxes, trapping, net
ting, cooping, the prevalence of cheap
guns among the negro population each
and all must be taken in account.
Notwithstanding, it Is safe to say that
throughout at least two-thirds of the
south country the man who knows how to
go about It may make n bag of from five
to flfi.cn brace upon any good day of the
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