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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Out on the Hunt

© Another Day in the Country

It seems to me that it is always open season for hunters to be hunting something. Being a hunting novice, I think of hunting season as being in the fall when the deer and pheasant hunters arrive to stay with us at our bed and breakfast. Likewise, in the fall, I know when dove hunting season starts with the pop-pop-popping of the guns on the outskirts of town — at least, we HOPE it’s out of city limits. But hunting in the spring?

It’s evidently turkey hunting season in Missouri and my cousin Gary just came through his hometown on the way to shoot himself a turkey. He’ll be visiting his daughter in Missouri, hunting with his son-in-law, praising his granddaughter who just shot her first turkey when it was hunting season for kids. Hunting is a tradition in my hunter-gatherer family.

My Uncle Hank told me a story of going hunting when he was a kid. Hunting animals and skinning them for cash was the way he earned money for his first rifle, as I recall; but it was quite a different experience to hunt on your own or be sent out to be the gun-bearer for someone else, when he was a kid.

It seemed that the Lutheran preacher loved to hunt and one Sunday afternoon two of the Schubert boys were dispatched by their father to go hunting with the pastor after dinner. It was cold, they were uncomfortable, tired of tramping through the fields and they’d eventually had enough — long before the preacher — but that’s the way it usually is in church settings. I think it was Al who had the idea, probably because Hank was telling the story. Al was older, after all, but I wouldn’t put this past either of those guys. They were creative untiring pranksters. What else was there to do before TV?

So these two boys, probably 7 and 11, carrying the gear, came up with a plan. This was in the olden days when you had to load the gun with shot and powder, evidently, and they decided to give the gun a little extra. When the preacher shot at his next target, the gun fired so hard it nearly knocked him down. With a sore shoulder and his ears ringing he declared himself “done for the day.” The boys were gratified.

I’ve never hunted an animal or a bird in my life. I’ve rarely fired a gun — they are always too loud and too jolting. The hunting I do is with money as my weapon.

Living far from the city and all its temptations, we venture forth in Salina almost weekly to get the supplies we need for whatever the following week will entail. Sometimes it’s two-by-fours and sometimes just extra food. We call it “hunting and gathering,” in the Schubert family tradition although we are hunting for deals, not doves, bargains, not buffalo, treats, not turkeys.

I guess, it is somewhat the same instinct. We are out and about, although not tramping through the woods. The only license required is a driver’s license and if you want to you can wear your camo shirt. If you really want to be invisible, you could wear sunglasses as a disguise.

We used to hunt speargrass on the outskirts of town with our friend Jim, but we don’t do that anymore. I’ve never known where to go hunting for morel mushrooms. Some folk here in town do it religiously every spring.

One time in California, I joined a group hunting for the first Diogenese Lantern — it’s a flower that grows wild in the woods of northern California. It just so happened to be the official flower of the college I graduated from and every year at Alumni season in the spring of the year they have a contest as to who will bring in the first Diogenese Lantern. I don’t remember the prize. For me, the prize was to find them blooming in my own yard.

I see the pheasant cock crossing the roads a lot these days. Is it mating season and their looking for more attractive hens or are the girls already nestmaking, preparing for the next generation of their progeny so we will have something to hunt on another day in the country?

Last modified April 23, 2015

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