This did not happen to me, but I was there in the field, and got permission to turn it unto what Betsy calls “Column Fodder” from the landowner, okay?

In all my born days, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed someone having to be ambulanced out of a dove field. Don’t be asking me about deer hunts or quail shoots or duck blinds, now. But this was in a dove field, Opening Day weekend, when the temperature is around 100, and us old folks recruit a youngster to retrieve our doves that we fail to make fall in our laps. I had one of those, my nephew Will, and I was appreciating the boy with a new eye for his talents, to the point at which I started shooting at the same dove he was, so he could legitimately go get “our” doves on a regular basis. Oh, I went and got some myownself, especially the ones that landed close to the water supply.

Anyhoo, this was a typical large sunflower & soybean field, with enough hunters to keep the birds from alighting in the middle. But just in case, we had a guy who was shooting high brass shells in his 12 gauge shotgun stationed to occasionally rake the field and scare up any feeding doves. Necessarily, these shots were low, but he was careful not to get close to anyone.

However, just the concussion of a high brass 12 gauge shotgun going off in one’s direction will often make your eardrums pop a little, and there’s a little “Oomph” in the sound that makes one take an extra breath.

Now, one of our hunters had recently had heart surgery, and the surgeons had implanted something that is called a Defibrillator and I ain’t atall sure of the spelling there. It apparently makes one’s heart beat on a regular rhythm instead of jumping around like in a wild turkey blind when two different gobblers are answering you. Our Well Man, Billy Schultz, obviously has something similar, but he claims “They gave my wife the remote control, doggonnit!”

But our Labor Day Hero had a worse experience: he had moved a little closer to the edge of the sunflowers, and when our dove-runner-upper turned aloose a couple of rounds from that high brass twelve, he suddenly clutched his chest and bellowed, “Hey, that guy (okay, family content, right?) shot me!’ He sat on his stool and began to pull out his shirttail to see how many pellets had actually penetrated his chest. With all the 1) chest hair to search through, and 2) the doves flying, his sons judged him to be fine, just peppered a little, and turned their attention back to the important stuff – shooting.

But a little while later when it slowed down, the high brass shooter turned another volley aloose to make some birds move. “Arrrgghhh! He shot me again,” cried our Hero, and almost fell off his stool. This time, revenge rather than actual injury was the focus of our Labor Day Hero. “I’m gonna shoot him back!” he roared to his sons, who were once again searching through the bushes on the supposedly wounded chest to check for penetration and blood. None showed, and the doves began flying again, so the boys went back to shooting, the younger one responding to his father’s threats with, “Aw, Daddy, you ain’t got nothin’ but low brass shells, so you might as well forget about shootin’ back at ‘im!”

Yet the third time was the charm, and knocked our Hero slap off his stool, collapsing him into the sunflowers, gasping for breath. That got everyone’s attention, and the sons left to hustle their Daddy to the hospital 12 miles away, calling Momma on the way, to meet them.

Listen: this is important, especially if they decide to insert one of those Defibrillators in YOUR chest. They apparently warn you about standing next to microwaves, or drums at a concert, or your wife’s hair dryer. One of the things often NOT listed is that some shotguns, shooting high brass shells, can produce a concussion that will ignite a charge in your chest, even if the shooter isn’t close enough to hit you! Another argument for using low brass shells in a dove field!

(Blogged by Robert Hitt Neill)


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