I got me a woodcock!
When most people find out I was born and raised on Long Island and I’m really into hunting, they look at me cross-eyed. “But, you’re from New York.” is a usual response to which I reply, “yeah, so?” They usually follow up with “But, you’re a woman!” Then I just walk away, shaking my head, mumbling obscenities to myself.
I’ve never been against hunting. People have been hunting for thousands of years for food. Honestly, I’d rather have fresh meat from one animal than chop meat from how ever many. (Please don’t tell me, I really do not want to know) But this is not a post about being an advocate for hunting. This is about my first kill.
I love my Remington 870 pump action 12-gauge. I learned to shoot this so fast you would think it was an automatic shotgun (it’s not). Although, that would be so friggin cool. Its my one & only shotgun. For I have no need of another. I use it for hunting, for home defense (if needed) and, of course, just having fun at the range.
To get me ready for my first bird hunting trip, we went to Wally World and got a sleeve of tennis balls. I drove around with these tennis balls in my trunk until we had a clear day at the range. Because this is not something you should do at the range with people around for safety reasons. So, consider this a public service announcement from yours truly: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS WITH PEOPLE AT THE RANGE BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT ANYONE TO GET HURT!!
Don’t do it with people around. Okay? But you are gonna love it. Trust me.
We all know what reactive targets are. We also know that animals move. And when these cute little yummy delicious animals move, they can be unpredictable in said movements. So how do we learn to shoot at unpredicable movements? You have someone you trust bounce & hurl tennis balls down the range and you shoot them. You shoot them as fast and as accurately as you can. Because you know what happens when you shoot a tennis ball? It bounces. And you have no idea where that ball is gonna go. And you better shoot it while its in the air. Why? Because when you fluff out birds, they usually fly UP and OUT. Which I learned.
I always go hunting with my guy. He is the one that taught me and countless others how to shoot. When he was satisfied that I was safe & accurate with the tennis balls, we went bird hunting for my very first time.
I thought deer hunting was boring. Getting up before dawn, walking in the dark to a spot that was staked out earlier in the week and waiting sucks. I can’t keep quiet to save my life and they expect me to stay quiet waiting for deer? Ain’t happening. Which is probably why everyone else gets deer and I do not. But I was the only one this day that got a woodcock.
We’re out in this ginormous field. Walking thru tall grass. Me loaded up with extra ammo, my loaded Rem and a backpack. And layers & layers of clothing. It was so cold out. I had so much clothes on I felt like that little kid from A Christmas Story. Therefore, my movements were limited. After we all walked together and were comfortable (well, me getting comfortable) with the lay of the land, we went out separate ways.
I’m walking. Wondering about how many ticks are crawling on me. Reciting music lyrics in my head. Looking around. Shifting my shotgun to my other hand. Saw two or three deer up close and debating the jail time for #1 shooting them out of season and #2 shooting them with the wrong firearm. Nevermind the hunting laws out here…I’m too caring of a hunter. One shot one kill. Wrong gun -will never ever ever take the shot. I get stuck in brush. Work my legs out of it. Continue walking. Rinse and repeat. I know why they broke away from me. I’d be talking to them this whole time because I am so FRIGGIN BORED!!!
Finally, after an eternity…the group meets up with me. We talk a little. Walk some more. I swear my legs are going to fall off and I’m no longer in love with my Rem. I just want to go home and take a hot bath.
The group is on their way back to their cars. My guy stands next to me, looking out over the field and tells me not to feel bad. Even the more experienced hunters didn’t get anything. Maybe one of us will get something next time. Just as he started to turn to walk back to our car, I heard a rustling in the brush. I blocked everything out. Time slowed. I heard the noise again. This being my first time bird hunting, I was very nervous…what if its not a bird? What if it is? What if it attacks me when I miss? This is what is going through my head as I come face to face with this bird as I screamed like a little schoolgirl. I didn’t expect anything to jump up like that!
“SHOOT IT!!!” my guy literally shouted in my ear. Good thing, because he snapped me out of it and I pulled the trigger on my already raised shotgun (have no memory of bringing it up to my shoulder) and I got it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy in my life.
Now if I can only get me a deer.