Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hunting Season

 "Deer season starts next week."  Dad was sitting at the kitchen table with the .30-06 lying on the oilcloth, its bolt below the trigger guard, can of gun oil beside them.  The cleaning cloth was in his hand, he was reaching for the ramrod.  I had no clue that it was October or that hunting was on his mind.  Not much.

"We need to get these rifles sighted in," Dad continued, as he screwed the little brass brush into the cleaning rod.  My heart began to race and the excitement welled up as I realized that this might be the year that he would take me hunting with him.  Dad  had brought home the meat every year since I was five years old, never failing to bag the game.  I turned seventeen last July.

Saturday we gathered guns and ammo and  a half-dozen tomato juice cans, placed them gently in the trunk of the Ford and drove to the disused gravel pit which was the local de facto rifle range.  This site was on Mesa road and less than half-mile from a residential area as the crow flies, yet there was a veritable mountain between the venue and any dwellings.

We set up a row of cans at the base of the cut in the side of the hill and paced off a hundred yards.
Dad loaded the .30-06 and from a standing free-hand position, fired.  A puff of dirt shot up immediately behind a can.  My father tinkered with the sight a few seconds, raised the rifle and fired again.  Can flew off into oblivion.  "That'll do it," he said.  "She's good."  He handed me the rifle.
Now I had  fired  a .22 many times and even the .25-20 on occasion, but I had never handled the ought-six.  I was in for a walloping, and I got it.  But I also got a can.  Dad then fired one shot with the .270 he had borrowed from a friend, picked off a can and said, "We're good.  No need wasting ammo; run down there and gather up those cans." 

He stowed the rifles in the car as I fetched the remaining targets.  Hunting season starts in four days!


Secondary Roads said...

Reminds me of shooting with my dad. He'd go hunting, but I don't remember him coming home with meat.

In high school, I'd borrow Dad's 16 gauge and shoot a pheasant of an autumn afternoon. I'd have to clean it, but Mom would cook it up and make a real feast out of the bird.

vanilla said...

Chuck, this was the only year I went hunting with Dad. The next year I was in the Pacific Northwest.

Vee said...

I remember Dad's hunting trips and how excited I was when he returned home with our meat supply.

vanilla said...

Vee, good times!