Uncle Charlie Tales

................stories about upland game birds, bird dogs, and shotguns but mostly about the man who loves all three

The Art of Baiting

Will Jenkins made his annual phone call to my uncle the other day. You can count on Will. Every August 25th or 26th Will is going to call and ask Uncle Charlie what he thinks about the three of us getting together out at the Logan place for the opening of the dove season. It’s happened that way for the last twenty years.

Will had hardly hung up when the phone in my Atlanta office rang. Uncle Charlie sort of runs his words together on the phone but I finally got him slowed down and figured out what he was talking about. He wanted me to get him a box of Peters “numbasixduckshells” in the city and bring them when I came down home. I knew better than to ask why so I assured him I would.

High noon on opening Saturday found us out at the Logan place gathered around Will’s old station wagon planning our strategy. Will was to take his usual place in the southeast corner of the field where most of the birds seemed likely to exit. I was to take the northwest corner where most of the birds would come in. Uncle Charlie would be the rover; moving to wherever the action was the hottest.

I should have known something was up when my beloved uncle opened the gun case and pulled out a beautiful engraved model 12 Winchester with a 32” barrel. Will and I just stood there and gawked. Uncle Charlie never said a word, just opened that new box of shells, loaded the gun, and moved out into the field.

Will and I were still standing there when he killed the first dove. A high overhead shot that neither of us would have even tried. Will just sort of looked at me with a raised eyebrow. I shrugged and we went to our appointed places.

By three o’clock I had scratched down two birds and hadn’t seen Will cut a feather. Uncle Charlie had already made two trips to the car and now he was standing in the middle of the field waving us in. He’d killed his limit he said and didn’t want to be tempted any longer but he’d stay and help us get ours if we wanted.

Will never said a word. He just turned beet red and put up his gun and got ready to go. On the way back home Uncle Charlie motioned for Will to slow down. “Pull in up there at widow Smith’s house. I’ve got to leave something with her,” he explained. We stopped and watched as he got out and reached back in the station wagon and pulled out the gun case and carried it inside. We could see him cleaning the Winchester through the window. Will and I looked at each other, both wondering how many other fine guns the widow’s late husband had owned, and just how “deep” Uncle Charlie’s new relationship ran.

Back in the car he told us how he and the widow had been taking drives in the afternoon for about a month and how they’d been stopping out by the Logan place and watching the doves. He went on to say, “I noticed how high they were flying; like they were on their way to a baited field or something.”

Will and I both understood then. A field somewhere else wasn’t the only thing that had been baited this season.

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Blogger rick said...

Great story, Jim. The whole site is dandy.

Keep up the good work.


11:18 AM  
Blogger rick said...

Excellent story, Jim.

Like the twist at the end.

The whole site is dandy. Keep up the good work. Did you ever get that new setter?

11:19 AM  

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