From Flying Feathers: A Yankee's Hunting Experiences in the South
The Upland Almanac|Spring 2021
If you have youngsters coming on, let them read these tales.
Horace Bigelow

From the Foreword …

If you have youngsters coming on, let them read these tales. I’ll feel more than satisfied if I can persuade a few members of the coming generations to have a hankering for the scatter-gun and all that goes with it: the never-forgotten thrill, after an icy vigil in the duck blind, when a bunch of “canvas” hovers over your decoys, the goose flesh that travels up and down your spine when your maiden efforts on a yelper elicit a response from some bearded gobbler, the rapture of listening to a “sight cry” as the pack hustles a buck in your direction, and above all the sense of pride in a job well done, when the bird dog that you have broken yourself, flashes into his first picture point. There’s nothing quite like it, and the more shotgun fans we can produce, the better we can be assured that our heritage of American game bird shooting will endure. It doesn’t take long to realize that you can’t “eat your cake and have it, too,” which insures game conservation, propagation and management.

An Afternoon at Bray’s Island

As a general thing, bird shooting in South Carolina was better in the backcountry than on the coast. Two exceptions, however, proved the rule — Pineopolis, near Monks Corner, the county seat of Berkeley County, was well-known for its bird shooting, while my friend Willie Ford came back from a hunt near Beaufort and said he had bagged so many quail in three days’ shooting that he was really ashamed to bring them home.

Jack Hollins lived in Beaufort and owned Bray’s Island nearby. You can imagine my delight when my office phone rang on Monday, and Jack’s voice greeted me with, “Come on down Saturday, have lunch with me and try the birds on the island.”

Saturday seemed a long time coming but finally arrived. Promptly at noon, another Jack, my shooting buddy who was included in the invitation, Ghost and Queen, our two setters, guns, shells and I were loaded into the car; and the seventy miles to Beaufort were speedily left behind. Luncheon was stowed away without delay, and Hollins guided us to his property. He brought along two more setters, so it looked like a sorry day for the bird population.

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