Monday, December 19, 2011

Nothing like a little snap shooting to shake things up

...And a partridge in a pear tree! (Don't freak out about the duck count - these aren't all mine.)

Yesterday was our semi-annual mixed-bag extravaganza hunt in Amador County with our friend Evan, and the beauty of this hunt - aside from the fact that almost all small game is legal to hunt at this time of year - is that it's all snap shooting.

Loyal readers know that if I have more than two seconds to shoot, I will overthink my shot, every time. In light of how horribly I've been shooting in the marsh (see previous morose blog post), I really needed some serious snap shooting to shake me out of my slump.

The full story behind this photo will be my Jan. 1 Butt, Belly, Beak, Bang! column for Shotgun Life, but I wanted to share one piece of it today:

We were hunting pigeons at a barn on a cattle ranch and for some reason, birds kept coming back to the barn despite all the shooting and carnage (usually they're much smarter). At one point while Evan was off chasing pigeons down the hill, Hank and I were heading back to the barn, and a pigeon came flying in.

As Hank was uttering the words, "Look, there's one," I was already lifting my gun, pulling the trigger and watching that bird cartwheel out of the sky.

"Wow! Great shot!" Hank said. Words I can never hear enough. Especially considering Hank is the one who normally shoots before I can mount my gun.

I know the photo above is tasteless, and so is my smug satisfaction. But dammit, it feels good to shoot well and bring home bounty like this, so I have no apologies. Just gratitude.

© Holly A. Heyser 2011

13 comments:

burntloafer said...

Tasteless? Looks tasty to me...

NorCal Cazadora said...

Heh heh heh. I know. But the headless mallard in the upper righthand corner is a bit grisly...

ingrid said...

I don't know everything about pigeon behavior, but did you happen to notice nests or nesting areas in the barn? Pigeons reproduce year round and I was trying to think of what would drive them back into danger that way. As you say, they are very intelligent. But they're also very devoted and protective parents so that could have been one motivation although I obviously can't say, not having seen the environment.

NorCal Cazadora said...

All I noticed, Ingrid, is that there were a LOT more pigeons than usual. It may be that what I thought were returning pigeons were actually new waves of pigeons. Weird thing is that I don't think they keep much (if any) feed in or around this barn.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

I guess I'm as tasteless as you are, because I love that picture. Nice work.

KnobbyGoGo said...

Agreed. This is an excellent photo. Holly, you are inspiring me to become a wingshooter! I love hunting big game, but have started hunting rabbits with my recurve this winter. Now, seems only a matter of time until the birds get a grip on me! Love your blog. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Thanks! Wingshooting is really challenging, which makes success so sweet. And the birds just taste so damn good!

Anonymous said...

I aspire to have a tasteless picture of my own like that. Nice work!

Jean

Jon Roth said...

I just want to know the story behind the headless drake. A little ambitious on the neck breaking, eh? LOL!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Nope, that was how I shot him! When Evan picked him up by the head, the body just fell off. I murdurated that duck - but, miraculously with no damage to he breasts!

Jocelyn said...

That photo's not tasteless, it's beautiful!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Aw, thanks! :-)

Bpaul said...

I always think of those dark european still-life paintings from a century or two back when I see mixed-bag photos like this. Great stuff, not tasteless at all.

Bp