Thoroughly tired out, we three, Bob a former crack shot with a pistol who now packs a sixty-pound osage bow, Eddie, a nice young chap simply devoted to archery, and myself, were resting in the grateful shade of a growth of young poplars.
Enroute to a marsh for an all-day hunt, we were obliged to batter our way through one of the ugliest stretches of blackberry and hazel I ever encountered. A half section of it, more or less, tall, dense, and no getting through the wicked stuff at all without first tramping down the vines and then walking over the springy mat of them as best we could, with the hazel brush springing back and taking a crack at a fellow every chance it got.
We sat and smoked awhile. With a prospect of better going ahead, even Eddie soon forgot his vine-scratches and hazel-whacks. So we put our quivers in position and proceeded toward the marsh. We spread out a little, but kept in sight of one another.
Then came the hawk. Sailing with the wind, he swooped low, missed his quarry, and alighted on a poplar about fifty feet high, keeping his eye on the spot where he thought he saw the small animal he wanted for his breakfast. So interested was he that he did not see me, although I was only fifteen or twenty paces away. I raised my bow, drew, took aim, loosed, and missed by scant inches. Suddenly losing interest in his surroundings, the hawk raised his wide wings to fly when with a dull thud an arrow struck him through the back, passed clear through the breast, and down he came, tumbling over and over, falling at the feet of the startled Eddie.
Reaching over, Eddie picked the hawk up by the talons and held him out for us to see. About that time Mr. Hawk decided to cash in, so he sank his talons in Eddie's forefinger in a whole-souled death grip, and Eddie swears that never again will he shake hands with a dying hawk.
Bob made one of the prettiest shots I ever knew of, on that hawk. The bird had it's back to him, and he was about thirty yards away, with only a small open space to shoot through.
Bob says that usually he does not shoot anything when it's back is turned, but a hawk is a killer of small game, and those big wings sure will look good in his den.