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Hunting

Duck hunting was practiced on the lake where I grew up, and there was a duck blind on the neighbors property at the east of the island. Back in those days, the early fifties, first day of duck hunting season, late September autumn, would be woken up at six in the morning by a momentous booming, like the outbreak of war usually on a Saturday. On those weekends of duck hunting, could be standing outside and get rained on with shot, from some hunter in the distance. Didn't hurt and it was harmless, a patter like rain on the fallen leaves, and on the lake water. Duck hunting pretty much tapered off and ended a half dozen years later from my first memories of it. Remember the painted wooden decoys in those days, an ambiance to them with their crystalline yellow glass eyes. Sometimes they were left in the lake and got frozen into the ice, and kids ice skating might kick the heads off. That made someone pretty mad. And the occasional expended shotgun shell left along the muddy shore, of some channel or the lake, red and waxed with the brass end dimpled from the firing pin.

At some point maybe about when I was sixteen, I got a shotgun. Traditionally had a BB gun, a pump, quite powerful ---; used it mostly to shoot dogs in the butt, that came after our Springer female when she was in heat. I felt like a big game hunter and it didn't do much except sting them. Not sure where the shotgun came from, maybe my mother, a single barrel pump I think, 12 gage. Would shoot at birds after school. This didn't last long, maybe a week or two. The main remembrance and hard to forget, the kind of thing that makes you sweat when you think what could have happened, and how it would have changed your whole life, was I could have easily shot my brothers head off. We were across the channel from the swamp, me my brother four years younger, and a couple others, maybe Smitty, think he had a shotgun as well. I pumped the pump and thing went off, without my finger being anywhere near the trigger. My brother was sitting or kneeling in front of me and I standing. It was very lucky for both of us that I had the gun pointed in the air. This gave me my first pause about this hunting thing. Not at first of course ---; one might shake it off quickly ---; but it scared me later on reflection.

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