This story happened when I was a boy living on the farm and very early into my career of a hunter. When Dad first got the Remington Mdl 510 single shot he instructed me very well in the safety of hunting and gun handling. It was not until he was convinced that I was safe with a gun in the field that he allowed me to hunt alone.
So I was hunting and in those days you did not just go out to hunt one species you hunted anything that came along. We ate on what I brought home in my bag and Dad always announced at the table that we were eating well tonight because big brother was a good hunter and brought home meat. (you can be assured that things like that have a lot to do for a young 12 yrs olds confidence in himself.)
But then there are set backs....like this incident.
I was walking slowly in the snow along a creek bank looking carefully in every piece of brush and shrub for the outline of a rabbit ears or a dark spot that could be a pheasant fluffed up in a snow nest. The rabbits were thick on our farm and they had little runways in the snow along the creek banks that were so often used that they were, in places, 6" deep. I spotted the outline of a rabbit and stopped, slowly brought my .22 rifle up and shot. At the shot the rabbit just sat there. I waited for a while fully expecting him to fall over any minute. Nothing
So I reloaded another .22 short and shot again. Same results. Nothing. Puzzled, my only thought was I had to aim better before the rabbit got tired of me shooting at him and took off. So I got down in a good kneeling postion and took extremely careful aim and shot again, and again, and again, and again. This damn rabbit was bullet proof!! Finally I got to thinking. I bet my sights got bumped. I looked at the rear sight and it did look like the little elevator thingy was up one notch to many so I decided the shots had all been going high and this rabbit had more nerve than any rabbit I had ever seen, but his days were over. He just came up against his waterloo.
So I aimed just under where I figured his chest was, it was difficult to see the lower part of him because the path in the snow he was in, was so deep. At the shot he fell over. YEHH YEHHH YEHHH! I did it, I got that little varmit, he just waited to long to run. Ha Ha. So I jumped over the creek and climbed the bank and reached down to pick up the rabbit. That is when I noticed all the holes in the snow behind the rabbit. It seems the first shot had killed the rabbit and he did not fall over because the path in the snow was so deep that it supported him in the upright position. My last shot had dislodged the crusted snow that was holding him up. I had shot the poor little sob 13 times.
So what to do? Well, when I got home and Dad saw that I was almost out of cartridges and had nothing to show for it I would be in trouble deep. Also if I told him I had left a rabbit I shot out in the woods, again I would be breaking the rules about wasting food. So I picked the rabbit sieve up and trudged back to the house.
I gave the rabbit to my Dad and he held it up to see it leaking blood out of 26 holes. He looked at me with a look of amazement on his face and said (before I tell you what he said let me tell you my Dad was one of the nicest gentleman the world ever saw. He was not the type to scold me if he thought I did my best and he had a great sense of humor)
and Dad said looking at my rabbit leaking out of 26 holes. "Put up quite a fight didn't it?"
This is the first time I have ever told anyone about my 13 shot rabbit. Before this it was known only to me and my Dad. He never brought it up again nor teased me about it. The only mention he ever said about it was when I proudly showed him my GOLD Excellence in Competition medal that I won in the Army. The highest medal that a soldier can win and wear on his uniform. Only about 750 of these medals have ever been awarded since WWII. And that out of over a half a million competitors. What Dad said was: "That is fine son, I am proud of you, good thing it wasn't a rabbit you were shooting at."
Sarge the 13 shot rabbit hunter.