Friday, February 17, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 48th Installment

50 for 50. I have been in the high forties a few times myself. The extraordinary number is less amazing if you know we were spotlight hunting at the time, and most of the shots are about 20 to 40 feet and the jackrabbit is sitting still. The spot holds the jackrabbit because the intensity (about 200,000 candle power) blinds the jackrabbit in the spot’s direction and causes shadows all around. The jackrabbit is afraid to move, and if he does, you just shake the spotlight beam, the shadows move, and the frightened jackrabbit freezes again. We have both popped off some great running shots in the day (most day time shots are moving targets), but we miss a little more often.

I held the record for the most kills in one shot. We got a bounty for gopher tails (five cents each from the canal company) during the summer irrigation season because the gophers sometimes dig on and through the canal bank causing a washout. This can cause delays in irrigation during repairs and can damage the crops. Anyway, one day we saw a gopher sitting up on his mound looking out at us. I knelt down, about 150 feet away, and drew the scope crosshairs of the Matchmaster on his body and shot him. There was a glass bottle a couple of feet behind the gopher and that broke with the shot. “You shot a gopher and a pop bottle with one shot,” Russ and I were laughing as we dashed over. We found two dead gophers on the mound because from where I shot, one gopher was directly behind the first one, and the bullet went through both of them. “By God, you just shot two gophers and a pop bottle with one shot,” Russ crowed. “I can’t wait ‘til I tell the Old Man.”

Don’t explain to him that I never saw the second gopher, and the bottle was just luck,” I warned.

There were maybe twenty jackrabbits in the hay yard fence that day, and we inched through the gate. With clubs at the ready, we herded the jackrabbits around the stack into the narrow dead end fence we had made and clubbed most of them. Some ran through us as we missed them with our swings, and we would have to go around the stack again to get them all. But, no worries, the jackrabbits were trapped inside our cage fence, and we’d get them all, just a matter of time. “This is difficult, slow and a little grotesque way of killing them. Why don’t we just shoot them?” Russ asked.
What? At one and a half cents a shell, that would cut our profit margin by 15% – a couple of missed shots, and we’d be down 20%. We can’t cut our profit margin by that much,” I replied.

Santa Claus gave us the bullets!” Russ chided.

I wasn’t going to lose this one, “and when the

500 more words tomorrow


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