Shooting The Bluewing: Authority Places Him Before Mallard and Canvasback as Game Bird., Daily Racing Form, 1918-12-04


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SHOOTING THE BLUEWING Authority Places Him Before Mallard and Canvas back as Game Bird When tlie big flight of ducks tear in with the cold blustry weather of fall we are all too prone to forget the days of pleasure which the fastflying bluewings have afforded us Many of us become so lost in the quest of the larger ducks that the passage of a flock of the little fellows near our blind will not bring a response But what is the attraction of the larger ducks mallards or canvas backs that draws our attention away from the earlier arrivals that test our prowess as marksmen just as much 1 am a great admiror of the bluewing writes T Ripley in American Field I put him ahead of the mallard or even the canvasback for I have him oftener with me and at times when no other ducks except the beautiful wood ducks are near Under proper feeding conditions I like the bluewing as well as if not letter than any other duck though tradition among epicures exalts eanvasbacks above any I simply cant kneel to tradition for I find the little bluewing usually under different condi ¬ tions than all others othersI I have had my share of blind shooting it is great at times but I am one of those nervous creatures that cant sit still much less comfortably for more than an hoir at a time so my prowess in the blinds is only limited to the duration of my stay That is just why I like my little friend the bluewing his very ubiquity appeals to me He defies rules of the naturalist He is the first arrival in the fall and yet when nature books tell us he has departed to the south I find those dainty little chaps witii a surfeitage of speed in their wings hugging a little water hole in the creek the only unfrozen spot in the country Again my learned nature book man argues that my friend the bluewing is a being of the open lakes prairies rivers a lover of the gravel bars on wide sluggish streams which of course he is 3pt I find him comfortably feeding twentv miles back In the cypress and pinoak timber as though it wro perfectly in accord with his usual custom to stay there thereBLUEWING BLUEWING HAUNTS ABE VARIED VARIEDWhy Why I have found these ubiquitous ducks back in the heavy timbered creeks of Black River and the Saint Francis swamps to raise thMr young and they never frequent other places until the tinibermen bombard them so constantly they have to seek a home elsewhere elsewhereGive Give bluewings a feeding ground or else a little pond isolated from Ihe heavily shotover duck marshes and it requires a tremendous amount of slaughter to drive them away from it In time they become overconfiding and I do not believe there is a duck that loses its sense of fear as quickly when one desists from shooting among them themI I bad a little pond on the flat of a mountain top between two rivers A large flock of bluewings came in and remained The first afternoon they were so wild that they would not suffer the ap ¬ proach of live stock I did no shooting In four days they perm it fed my approach By the end of a week I was able to sit on a rail fence forty yards away observe them feeding and disporting as the graceful creatures are wont to do They never seemed t tire of feeding on the seeds of the coarse slough grass margining the pond When I had to leave for ten days sonic boy got in on my pets I never learned who he was but I know from the quantity of feathers on the water and empty shells on the land close by that he had to keep that puhip gun going mighty fast to keep them away from their recent preempted pond pondSomehow Somehow I could find bluewings always This great bird has invariably given me sport Some ¬ times rather quite often the blind failed to be right in the line of flight of the big fellows but the bluewings were somewhere if I only walked far enough The point of the river bars always had some but when even these were denied me I was sure to find bluewings back in the slashes in the flags moss beds and little prickets where no other waterfowl cared to remain remainGOOD GOOD SPOBT ON MOUNTAIN STBEAM STBEAMThe The most enjoyable bhiewing shooting I ever get Is on a broad swift mountain stream You wouldnt believe from its crazy persistent antics of incessant restlessness that it was inviting to ducks yet it is and of ten the big fellows tarry there when ideal ducking grounds are devoid of them But the bluewings favor it from the first September rains until the warm weather in spring sends them north And too many remain and rear their young back in the dark cresscrowded bogs where no other wildfowl remains pcrmameiit but the glorious colored woodies woodiesHere Here I simply drift down with the fast current in a canoe or the native John boat and the shooting is real difficult for the bluewings select the down ¬ stream end of the bars where the water begins to pick up at unseemly speed Try to descry them in advance with beaming sun glistening brown gravel and dancing lights of laughing shoals and you are unable They blend well with environment Just at the moment when the little boat takes on its greatest speed and sawtooth rock and a dangerous snag threaten demolishment of craft part of the bar detaches from the balance lifts up in a blurof clouds and sudtlenly boeomes transformed into a host of swerving feathered creatures that attains an almost incredible speed of flight in an instant and marksmanship finds an opportunity for a su ¬ preme test A tottering dancing canoe running away as it were does not enhance your ability to hold on a fleeting object with ease and it is not infrequent for the hunter in endeavoring to hold on the overhead birds to step deliberately into the water But does a duck hunter ever com ¬ plain of an improptu bath He might complain at the time and appreciate its unpleasantness but never during moments of reminiscence reminiscenceOn On the bars the ducks feed on the periwinkles that mark the rough gravel everywhere in the shallow water Frequently behind tlie bars are min ¬ iature moss and cress pockets where the birds feed after they have become residents a few days though on their arrival they are so alert and per ¬ haps have had so many hazards to face on their lourney there they will risk no other places than the gravel bars barsYou You have to get the ducks pretty well frightened and scattered before you behold a real exhibition of their great speed Just watch them break off into pairs trios sir2lesyet fully determined to try for their favorite bar again You creep back into the willows and watch the sky They pass around out of range a few times then gather and come up all together for a final survey They have such confidence in their speed that they are almost defiant Five hundred yards two hundred then they are on you almost before it appears possible They dodge neither to one side nor to the other as they suddenly perceive you but only increase that baffling speed Then if you hold right your chances are fair of Rutting a few ducks and you have time and again picked these speed kings from overhead out of the sky The thrill of remi ¬ niscence recalls vividly each difficult kill and the many misses are now but nonrecurrent episodes of tiie past

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