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Unread 02-17-2024, 06:33 PM   #21
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No squirrel hunting in our family in Hazleton, PA in the early 1900s. Granddad shot grouse and live pigeons until pheasants came to town in the real early 1900s. Dad was a dedicated pheasant hunter until I started shooting Southern Pennsylvania quail in the sixties. Dad wouldn't waste a shell on a quail, even though they were numerous and lightly hunted. Southern Pennsylvania hunters were "pheasants only".
Bill, your account reminds me of some of Rutledge’s stories when he was at Mercerberg (pardon, if I misspell).

I look at old quail population maps and can only wonder.

BTW, these are great posts. Keep ‘em coming.
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Unread 02-18-2024, 06:26 AM   #22
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Dad was raised in hunting and pigeon raising in Hazleton from the early 1900s. When dad and I started hunting in Adams County, Pennsylvania when I was about 14 years old in 1958, pheasants were very numerous, and there were many hunters. However, we had good bird dogs and it seemed like no one else did. Most hunters worked standing corn, but we ignored that method and hunted the brush. One aging Irish Setter was skilled at heading off cock pheasants in corn rows, but that wasn't our preferred method. Two pheasants a day wasn't enough for me, so I early on started shooting quail when no one else was bothered. There was also a week or more in the beginning of November when the season was open for pheasants, quail, and doves at the same time. I took advantage of that and worked a dove roost behind the Hanover shoe factory in the evenings. My little pointer was white as snow and seemed to realize his "whiteness", remaining still in the blind while the birds were active and only standing up when it was time to retrieve. All this ended when I got my letter from Uncle Sam and was gone for two years. When I returned in late 1969, the birds were less numerous and family and work took some days away from my old hunting schedule.
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Unread 02-18-2024, 06:42 AM   #23
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Okay—so what is your childhood squirrel gun…and do you or a family member still have it?
Squirrels were not on the list for my father growing up in Northern Ontario as they were red squirrels and horrible eating by all accounts and they are also a fur bearer by Ontario regulations so only trappers may take them so Dad grew up hunting grouse. He bought his first shotgun when he was 14(1956), a Mossberg 183-DC in 4.10. He bought it used from an older fellow whose doctor told him he'd have to give up hunting and shooting due to health reasons... Dad said the old fellow was really heartbroken to have to sell his "partridge gun". It was recently handed down to me as my father has shoulder issues and can no longer lift a gun and hold it in place to shoot ... As you can see my father takes great care of his stuff...you should see his old cars! And he had a few boxes of ammo to pass along. Those CIL slugs likely date from the late 50's to early 60's, they sat in the drawer at my Grandparents cottage as long as I can remember and they built the cottage in '61...
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Unread 02-18-2024, 06:51 AM   #24
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My first ruffed grouse. October 1973 at my Grandparents cottage in Northern Ontario. Taken with my Grandmothers single shot Iver Johnson Champion 410. As a young girl my Grandmother and her sister(they were the the 2 oldest of 13 kids) each carried a 410 single shot to school each day to shoot grouse during season. I have the gun now and should take it out to shoot a few grouse with it for old times sake.
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Unread 02-18-2024, 09:02 AM   #25
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Very interesting accounts of folks’ early hunts and first guns. Thanks again to all who have contributed and, please, send more. I’m going through end of season withdrawal.
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Unread 02-18-2024, 10:25 AM   #26
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I think mine was a Winchester Mod 60, the rifle my dad taught me to shoot. And he was a stickler on safety.
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Unread 02-18-2024, 01:12 PM   #27
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My first gun (of my own), given to me as a Christmas present from one of my father's good hunting buddies was a Winchester single shot 20 ga with a 30" barrel choked full. It was a terror on squirrels.
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Hunting with Grandpa
Unread 02-18-2024, 04:02 PM   #28
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Default Hunting with Grandpa

I didn’t grow up a hunter, my father tried deer hunting when he was a teenager but decided it was not for him.
My dad’s father, (Grandpa) was an avid outdoorsman, hunting and fishing were his favorite pastime, for sure after retirement. He taught me and my brothers all about trout fishing and fishing in local ponds when we were young.

Probably what comes to mind first when I think of fishing with Grandpa was fishing Pine Creek here in Pa. While at his small cabin in Cedar Run with family every year in June, we would wake up early and leave as quietly as possible with Grandpa to head down to the creek. When we returned with the mornings catch, learning how to prepare them properly for the pan, great memories.

So I never received a squirrel rifle or shotgun for Christmas, but maybe a fishing line that I’m probably forgetting. When I was a maybe in my late teens or somewhere’s around there, I decided I would like to try dove hunting.

I went to 2 local gun shops , no idea what I wanted . The 2nd shop, Kerper’s Gun Shop, they had a 20 gauge Ithaca Model 37. It is a King Ferry Ithaca 2 3/4”-3” and it has an English Stock. That was my first gun and it sparked an interest in Ithaca Gun and it’s history.
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Unread 02-18-2024, 05:06 PM   #29
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Sweet memories. Thanks so much. This all hits me at the right moment in my life. Please keep them coming, and know how much I enjoy reading these posts.
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"'I promise you,' he said, 'on my word of honor, I won't die on the opening of the bird season.'" -- Robert Ruark (from The Old Man and the Boy)
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Unread 02-19-2024, 10:51 AM   #30
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My two posts were about "hunting with Dad" and I left out the first gun part. My first hunting gun was a 20 gauge Model 24 Winchester. I used it just for the 1958 season before I realized that the cylinder right barrel was not good pheasant medicine. Yes, prewar short barrel Model 24s were bored cylinder and modified. My next "first gun" was a 28 gauge VH Parker with modified and full chokes. Best $130.00 I ever spent. I bought it from another kid my age (14) I met on our gun club's skeet range. I still have it, 64 years later. When dad bought a Matador 12 gauge, I took over his Model 12, his first gun in the early 20s. I guess I was about 15 when I took over the care of a retired Army Colonel's collection of liberated guns from his time in Germany. During that time, I used a different gun every week for a season or two. What a treat that was, but only one Parker in the mix. Most were German combination guns and doubles. The Colonel's collection got sold off out of my earshot. It didn't matter because I had no money anyhow. I was still a bit miffed.
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