2018-08-29 / Editorials

They were my “firsts”

Billy Fleming

Every year the opening day of dove season approaches I think back to a few “firsts.”

Not sure it was my first, but one of my first recollections of going to a dove shoot was back in the 1950s on a field before you got to Thompson curve on the Damascus road.

I think it was that same field, if not the same shoot when I encountered my first game warden. I watched Bill Hobbs as he checked license and guns. When he got to Daddy, he said, “Hoyle, I checked yours last week.

My first dependable shotgun on those dove fields turned out to be one revered in later years by gun enthusiasts... the 16 gauge Model 12 Winchester.

I still enjoy that Model 12 when hunting quail over bird dogs.

Which reminds me of some “firsts” years later in the 1970s. With the arrival of opening day, me and Rusty, my first lab retriever, were looking forward to loading up in my first pickup truck and heading to the field.

Many tales and memories about old Rusty. He was as good as they come on the field... and at home, too. He was a member of the family!

That truck was a used green Ford traded in by Johnny Farris. I had been watching that truck, knowing when he got ready for a new one what I would be driving.

It hauled me and Rusty to many dove shoots. Being in my prime as a deer hunter, it aso hauled many deer out of the woods... and me and Judy around the county on Sunday afternoons.

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