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Hunting

 

Since time began most males have a hunter and predator instinct and I was no exception.  The only world young boys know today is a world of televisions, computers, mobile phones and video games.  Not so in my era, about the only things we had to do apart from playing marbles and rounders (a form of baseball) was to climb trees, rob bird’s nests, shoot birds, rabbits, frogs and almost anything else that we could see. 

A lot of boys used to collect birds eggs; once having secured the eggs we would very gingerly stick a pin in both ends of the egg and then blow one end until all the white and yolk came out, then place the eggs in a box naming all the different birds that each egg came from.  Most boys I knew could tell at a glance which egg came from which bird.  Even today I could recognise most of them we. 

We used rifle, air-gun and catapult and with practice became pretty adept. 

The best fun of all was shooting rabbits with a .22, if you had one that is.  Furthermore they could be taken home and eaten (underground mutton), they were quite delicious, almost on a par with chicken (I can see you now turning your nose up). 

What I loved doing the most was riding my pushbike to my Uncle Frank’s poultry farm at Dundas where there was plenty of bush, a distance of some 30 odd kilometres.  I had two cousins there, Bill and Frank who I loved, respected and admired greatly. 

They would take me down into the bush and teach me how to handle a rifle, shoot straight, bush lore hunting skills and how to set a rabbit trap.  A rabbit trap was probably one of the most evil things ever invented by man.  It even made me grimace. 

You would first dig a small hole big enough to conceal the trap, open the jagged jaws of the trap, put a piece of paper over the jaws and then cover the whole thing up again, taking care you did not set off the trap in doing so.  But there was only one place to set the trap:  You had to look for a dung hill of which there were many but only one that had been visited the night before.  You could tell that by seeing several pellets of fresh dung. 

The poor little bunny would see the freshly disturbed earth that night or early morning and start scratching and would of course trigger the release tab and set of the trap, usually breaking one or both of his forepaws and he would remain there all night in his suffering until you arrived.  When he saw you coming he would really struggle in vain until you picked him up by the hind legs and with one might blow with the side of your hand just behind his ears (rabbit killer), you would end his suffering.

When I was about 10 years old ‘Cowboys and Indians’  was all the ‘go’.

All the kids used to dress up as either a cowboy or an Indian.  Our mothers would make us up all different types of wearing apparel out of sugar bags which were cheap and plentiful to suit either Indians or cowboys; bows out of bamboo, chook feathers for the headdress of Geronimo.  Bullet belts were easily obtainable for the cowboys complete with holster and all. 

Somebody had given me an old worn out .22 calibre pea rifle.  It could not really be used as such because the stock was broken, the barrel had no sights on it and it had a hair trigger.  Otherwise they would not have given it to me in the first place, but it could still kill you.

Nonetheless it was all I required to suit my needs.  First I cut off most of the broken stock and fashioned what part of it that was left into a sort of a pistol grip (handle).  Then I cut off the barrel with a hack-saw making it into a sort of a horse pistol.  Some people would not know what a horse pistol is but the main thing is that I knew.

So one day I acquired a bullet belt complete withholster and ‘live’ bullets all around, strapped the whole thing around my waist like a cowboy, put on an overcoat so nobody could see it, jumped onto my pushbike and rode through the main street of Parramatta en-route to Dundas witha pistol on my hip at full cock with a hair trigger.

Had I fallen off the bike and survived not being shot and killed the police would have been called.  And I would most likely have been thrown into jail; or a lunatic asylum.

 

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