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Sneak preview from a happy hunting ground
Virginia Kraft
October 27, 1969
From James Bay, Quebec, the ducks and geese are pouring down the flyways in numbers calculated to make this season one of the best
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October 27, 1969

Sneak Preview From A Happy Hunting Ground

From James Bay, Quebec, the ducks and geese are pouring down the flyways in numbers calculated to make this season one of the best

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"Shoot! Shoot!" the Indians shout.

The birds barely clear the blind, swooping over the hunters' heads from behind. They are out of range in seconds. The hunters, caught off-guard, look dumbly after them. One of the Indians stands up and waves his arms.

"Turn around," he calls. "Face other way!"

Feeling foolish and inept, the hunters turn their backs to the decoys.

Another flock circles and comes back. This time the birds set their wings, gliding directly toward the blind. Together the hunters stand and fire. Three geese fall. The Indians run out and carry them back to the decoys. They prop up the geese with sticks, adding them to the bogus flock.

The birds come in now from all directions. By 7:45 there are nine real geese propped among the imposters at the blind. The limit is five per hunter per day. There is still one bird to go.

And then, as abruptly as their flight began, it stops. An occasional flight passes by, high and uninterested. An hour passes without a shot being fired. Then finally a flock approaches, lower than the others. It hesitates, studying the gathering below, then flies on. One goose separates from the flock. It is coming in, but high. At the blind it flares. The hunter fires. We have our limit.

It is 9 o'clock. There are still two hours to the next tide and a limit of ducks to be taken. The Indians gather the geese and boxes and bits of rags and we start back across the marsh to the boat.

The Indians stop this time at a point in a channel almost as wide as the main river. Again they produce their bits of cloth, fashioning new decoys at the edge of the point. They are like the first ones and look no more like ducks than they did like geese. But in minutes a green-wing teal flies directly into them. Several more come by. There are no flocks of ducks this morning, only singles and pairs, but they come in steadily.

After a while another canoe comes along. It carries the Royal Canadian Mounted policeman who is stationed at Cabbage Willows for the shooting season. He exchanges pleasantries and warns that the tide will soon change and the wind will slow the trip back. The Indians again gather up birds and gear. The morning's shoot is ended.

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