Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Sandy Griswold and Edward Stout. January 3, 1909. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 44(14): 2-S.

A Great Ducking Team.

"When I was a youngster and living out at Waterloo," remarked Edward Stout the other evening to that same little knot of duck shooters up at Townsend's, "why Rube Barber and me were shootin' mates and what we thought we didn't know 'bout duck shootin' wasn't worth trying to find out. Why, Rube and I got so that we thought that any of the villagers who started out for a shoot without first asking our advice, misght as well stay at home, so far as all the ducks they would get was concerned. We considered a word from us worth the quack of a score of mallards.

"Well, one day we went down to Hanger's lake to massacre the ducks-we had seen the mallards droppin' in there the night before, and just thought we'd go down and glut the Waterloo market with 'em. We had just got settled nicely in a corn shock blind, when a long-geared, seedy looking old man, with a yellow shepherd dog at his heels, emerged from the field on to the lake's bank and began looking about him, evidently for a place to hide.

"Wonder if that ole relic of the revolution intends to shoot there?" remarked Barber.

"Yes," I replied that's what he's going to do, and we won't get a shot today."

"See that fuzee of his, why its long as a fence rail and the stock is all worn off where it rested against the side of Noah's Ark!" Rube went on.

"Yes, and darn me if he isn't going to squat right there behind that old cottonwood log," I rejoined, "but wait, I've got a plan," and getting up out of the blind I stepped over to the old fellow and said:

"Going to try your luck?"

"Yes, I thought onit," he replied.

Ever shoot much?"

"A few mushrats and sich, down on the Elkhorn."

"Well, I'd give you a hunch, being as you are a stranger about the lake; see that point over yonder? That is one of the best places to shoot from on Hanger's."

"Thanks, but I had my eye on that pint. Luck to 'ye."

Returning to the blind, I said to Rube, "see where I located that old rat-there never was a duck flew over that point. Gee! Did you see that mallard tumble? and there goes another!"

True enough, the old man had hardly curled up in the long spiked rag weeds, which flourished on the point, when three mallards came swishing down the lake, not over thirty yards from him. Two of the birds folded up their wings, and tumbled into the water. The yellow shepherd immediately plunged in and retrieved them both at the same time. Hardly had the dog gotten back with his two ducks, when another bunch, this time a dozen birds, came down the lake just as the three had done. The old man got four more, one with each barrel, then a single duck, and then three more. And so it went. Rube and I didn't get a shot. Not a bird flew our way. And just at dusk, when the birds had all stopped flying the old man came shambling by where we were, bent almost double under his load of forty mallards. He stopped as we crawled to our feet, and said:

"Much 'bleeged to you ellers for puttin' me on ter that pint. How'd you make out?"

"Oh, we weren't after ducks," quickly replied Rube, "we came out to take a bath, but the water's too cold."