When I was a young man I went on a hunting trip with my uncle, his partner and my cousin to an area just south of the village about 35 miles. This area is a great place for early spring goose hunting and lots of hunters from the village used to hunt there every spring, sometimes up to ten tents would be setup. Well this particular spring there were about 7 tents set up along the shore near the flyway and there were about 20 hunters in all, most were middle aged men some of us were a little younger. My first cousin and I were in High School at the time, we were probably the youngest members of the hunting party. It was great to be out in the field with the men camping out and hunting geese. These trips usually lasted about 6 days and they were the best trips I can remember being on as a young man. Native hunters never hunted on Sundays, most would leave the hunting area and make it back to the village by Saturday evening or Sunday morning, so that they could attend Church Services. Well this particular spring the geese were flying really well and the men were getting their fair share of geese, naturally some hunters were doing better than others. On the first day out one particular man was having a really good hunt, he brought in about 12 geese and piled them up beside his 8x10 white wall canvas tent. He was really pleased with himself and all the luck he was having. Most of the hunters in the other camps weren’t doing as well as he was, some only had a couple others may have had a half dozen or so geese apiece, their numbers varied. After the evening meal the lucky hunter got to bragging about his shooting skill and how well he was doing. Everyone just listened politely, they let him talk and continue on with his story. Next morning after everyone woke up and had their morning coffee, they started coming out of their tents and getting ready for the days' outing. The lucky hunter from the day before also crawled out of his tent and started getting his gear ready, he checked on his geese which he piled beside his tent the evening before and to his surprise some of his geese were missing. He was wondering about this, out of proper hunter’s etiquette he didn’t dare accuse anyone of taking any of his geese. He told his partners about his missing geese and over the course of the morning everyone in the camp eventually found out what happened. Some of the hunters thought that he had miscounted his geese the evening before. Other hunters in the camp were shaking their heads and chuckling to themselves about the man’s missing geese, since he had been bragging about his shot gunning skill the night before.
As the morning sun started coming up over the mountains brightening up the morning, hunters started leaving camp for the field. The hunter whose birds had been missing was a little frustrated by what had happened, he ended up not shooting as well as he had the day before. By early afternoon everyone started returning back to camp to have lunch and bring in their geese. To make carrying the geese easier hunters would tie the geese up by their necks with a string in a bundle and swing them up over their shoulder to pack back to camp. Once in camp they would usually put them in their skiffs or by their respective tents. This man had shot only a couple of geese that morning so he hand carried them back to camp. He did not need the string he had taken off of his bundle the day before. When he made it back to camp, he went to his tent to put his birds on his bundle and to his surprise again there were only half as many geese as before, just 3 geese were left. He put his 2 geese down and immediately went to the other hunters who had previously returned to camp and told them about his misfortune. They all came over to look for themselves, and also to reconfirm that he had less geese than before. Soon everyone was back in camp and immediately heard about the missing geese. No one really could do anything about it and proper hunter’s etiquette required that no hunter be accused of stealing another’s geese, it just was not done. After lunch the hunters went back out into the field to hunt more geese, including the hunter whose geese were missing. The geese were flying all throughout the late afternoon and everyone was doing pretty well, except for the poor hunter. He kept missing his shots, probably due to his dilemma with the missing birds that kept playing on his mind. He knew all the hunters in camp, some he knew better than others. By the end of the day everyone returned to camp, the poor hunter had a terrible afternoon he could not hit a single bird, missed every shot, he returned to camp empty handed. First thing he did was to check his geese. The 5 geese were still there beside his tent, he started feeling a little better. When all the hunters made it back to camp dinner was prepared and everyone enjoyed a hearty meal of fresh goose soup and many cups of tea. The older men were the first to start telling stories, usually about past goose hunts, and then other hunters would chime in and share their stories with everyone, sometimes a younger hunter would add in an interesting event that happened during the day. This went on all throughout the evening until way past dark. In time everyone went back to their own tents to turn in, the poor hunter decided to turn in too. All the hunters slept well that night since most were tired and had full bellies, except for the poor hunter. He tossed and turned wondering what happened to his geese. Next morning when it was light enough to see he got up and went outside to check on his geese, this time when he looked beside his tent all his geese were gone, he looked around the tent and in his boat, he could not find a single bird. He started looking around the camp to see if anyone else was up, he was the only one. As he was turning around to go back into his tent he looked out into the field and just beyond the outskirts of the camp area was a red fox dragging a goose by its neck. He started to yell out at the fox, but found himself laughing instead. He stuck his hands in his pockets since he was getting a little cold watching the fox and in his right hand pocket was the string that he had removed from his goose bundle on the first evening. Enjoy
I like your story, my son likes to brag so I'm always looking for little ways to help him stop. Yet another lesson..Thanks for sharing.