Leon Mettler

As Elmer Fudd would say, It’s Wabbit Season! It was a Friday night after school and all I had to do was get all my hunting stuff ready for the mornings hunt. My Grandmother made sure I had everything ready to go all in one room. I had gotten my homework done and now all I could think of was rabbit hunting in the morning. I had my .410 shotgun ready and had a box full of  3 inch shells just waiting to go with me. 

Morning came and I got ready. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had a cup of coffee and some of my grandmother’s homemade cookies for breakfast. I even put some into my hunting jacket to eat later. I got dressed and headed out the back door. Both pockets of my hunting jacket were filled with shells. I was going to shoot a lot of rabbits. 

I make my way through town and walk up the big hill to the railroad tracks. I knew once I passed Washington Wood Craft (factory) I was able to hunt because it was just passed the town limits. I walk pass the sign and now I load a three inch shell into my single barrel .410 shotgun.  I still have fifty yards to go before the high grass starts on the edge of the railroad banks. The plan was simple, kick the lumps of grass and shoot the running rabbit. I kicked a bunch of times but no rabbits came out. There were briars and grass to hide in. This was good hiding places for the rabbits. It was time to grab a cookie before I moved on. 

I looked down the railroad tracks and saw a rabbit cross over the tracks and make it to the other side. It was too far to shoot at with my .410. I have to put my sneak move into effect now. I mark the spot I need to get to. Now I have to be quiet. I start moving towards where the rabbit crossed over. I begin walking on the railroad ties to be quiet. I take my time keeping my eyes on the spot. Now I spot two squirrels running across the tracks. I want to shoot them but I wanted that rabbit. As I get closer the squirrels they went their own way. I have about ten yards to go before I get to the spot where the rabbit crossed.

You can say I started to get nervous the closer I got. I knew I was close by the spot, and I didn’t want it to run away. I slowly step off the railroad ties and the stones and coal I stepped on made a lot of noise. I tried my best to be quiet but it didn’t work out that good. I was looking all over the spot I had marked and I couldn’t see the rabbit anywhere. I knew once I made noise in the high grass I was hoping it would take off running giving me a chance at it.  With a little frost still on the ground, as soon as I hit the brush the loud noise spooked the rabbit. I pulled up my .410, aimed, pulled back the hammer and pulled the trigger as the rabbit was running through the briars. I missed because the rabbit keep running. I reload.

I wasn’t going to walk through the briars and remembered what my Grandfather had taught me, toss a handful of rocks in the briars and be ready to shoot. That is just what I was going to do. The rabbit must have run a long ways. I almost gave up. I wipe my hand and eat my other two cookies. Just as I start walking again the rabbit crosses the tracks. I got lucky as the rabbit rolled over as I hit it. I put the rabbit in the back of my jacket and now was a happy hunter.

I walked all the way down the tracks about a mile and a half and walked back on the other side with no luck and no shots. Just before I got to the town limit sign, a squirrel crossed over the tracks and stopped. One shot and the squirrel went into my jacket also. When I got into town I see one of my school buddies and I showed him what I got. You could say I was lucky but come Monday morning at school, I was the big hunter. Ah to be a kid again. P.S. This Saturday 2-28-21 will be the last day to hunt rabbits this year. Until next time-H.S.F.H.-L.M