Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Young hunter – part 4

Young hunter - part 1
Young hunter - part 2
Young hunter - part 3

by Tom Gaylord

Then I got an idea. From my bedroom window, I had a perfect shot at the nest which was only fifteen feet away. In the morning, when the night air was still cold, the hornets were slow and sluggish enough to shoot. The problem was, I had to remove the window screen to shoot them, and if they saw me, they would be on me pretty quick. The element of danger was very real and also very exciting.

The first morning I got managed by holding the screen in by tying a string to it and holding the string against the wall with my shoulder while I cocked and shot the gun through an opening I'd made. With a mouthful of shot, I could spit a BB down the barrel and get off a quick shot. They were clustered around the bottom of the nest, but I couldn't see the opening from my window. So I waited until a hornet came walking around the bottom of the nest before I shot him.

They would open their wings for a few seconds before flying off, and that was when I had to do it. One by one I picked them off as they came around the bottom of the nest to get the sun on their wings. But I didn't hit them all. Some were missed then flew off to God knows where. I think they sounded the alarm to the rest of the nest because they started coming around the bottom in numbers too great for me to keep up, and I had the get the screen back into place real quick. I must say it took real courage to fasten those latches while a dozen angry hornets buzzed around the screen, looking for an opening. Fortunately, the screen fit the window tightly and there were no tears in the mesh.

Within less than a minute, there were about twenty angry hornets walking all over the screen, looking for ways to get in. Many others were hovering just outside, waiting for an opening and making a terrible racket. Although I was scared, I had at least learned how to attract them! Then my mother came in my room and screamed when she saw what was going on. I about jumped out of my skin, but the screen still held them off, so nothing else happened. Except she got an idea.

She figured that if I could attract them to my screen so easily, she could blast them with something that might kill them. She made me close my window that day while she thought about what to do. That evening, she and my father went over some ideas and finally came up with what they thought was a good one. They filled an old squirt gun they had with kerosene. Now many people alive today don't believe we had squirt guns before the turn of the century, but we did. They were cast iron gun frames with a rubber bulb in the grip. They worked quite well, although I must say that when Daisy came out with real metal squirt guns a few decades later, they were much better.


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