Hunting freeloaders less common pest

One of the blessings of our affluent society is that we are no longer overloaded with "Freeloaders" - a pest of the worst kind and one that used to be very common, especially back in the days when we had lots of quail and not everyone had a good bird dog and horse.

The Freeloader would arrive just in time to join you on a bird hunt and all he would bring with him would be his shotgun and a small supply of shells.

I got stuck with one of this kind when I was very young and still in high school. He would show up unexpectedly. Dad, being the kind soul that he was would loan him a horse to ride, and away we would go.

I finally reached the limit of what any man or boy should have to put up with, so I decided I would make hunting with me so miserable that he would quit voluntarily.

If you will excuse a personal reference that might seem to be bragging, I was at the time pretty deadly with my old Model 10 Remington pump. I could hold my own with just about anyone who came along claiming to be a bird hunter.

We took off down the Delta side of the farm and had not been in the saddle 15 minutes before my little setter Shot was on birds. The point was on a ditchbank with a big forked sweetgum tree just across it.

When the covey exploded into flight, it seemed that half of them tried to fly between a fork in that tree. My first shot met them in just the right spot, and three fell. I picked out another bird and killed it. As we moved to gather the dead, a "sleeper" that had stayed got up. I beat my "friend" to the draw and killed it before he could get his gun up.

All told, I bagged five birds on that rise and he wound up with nothing, his one shot missing completely.

To make a long story short, I continued to hog him all through the hunt and was lucky enough to make another double. I wound up the hunt with 16 birds to his three. My plan worked to perfection and never again was I bothered with his company.

Something else that worked well with uninvited hunters was to let your gun go off "accidentally" two or three times per hunt. That was a wonderful way to start a hunt with a Freeloader. It put him in a proper mood - scared! Of course, you must make certain that your wild shot is going in a safe direction, but I assure you that the Freeloader will disappear shortly from your hunting life.

Opportunities to rid yourself of Freeloaders that take a deer stand within 50 yards of a spot you've hunted for years were frequent. Here again you simply did a lot of wild rifle shooting from time to time. He'd get the message quickly and move on.

One of the worst Freeloaders I ever knew was a rabid duck hunter. I found myself with him more times than necessary. While he was a pretty nice fellow, he never had enough shells and was constantly "borrowing" from my supply. I finally wised up to the fact that he was shooting a 12-gauge shotgun, so I switched over to my little Sweet 16 Browning. When he asked for shells, I had to turn him down since they simply wouldn't work in his 12-gauge shotgun. I never did rid myself completely of this fellow, but he did finally learn to bring along enough shells.

Sometimes the Freeloader is a fisherman, and he is really easy to get rid of. All you have to do is insist on doing all of the paddling. Make sure to knock on the side of the boat more or less constantly, and run him up into the button willows when the opportunity presents itself. This works fine and soon you will be able to select a fishing buddy who meets the requirements you want and deserve.

As I said at the beginning, these Freeloaders are not nearly as plentiful as they once were. One of them, however, is too many. I can assure you that the plans laid out in this article will work almost perfectly. Life is too short to have to put up with this sort of hunting and fishing buddy. Find yourself a good one, nurture him carefully, and never let a Freeloader get the best of you.

Some of this might seem a bit unethical, but after all, we are considering the very serious matters of hunting and fishing. In something this serious, anything goes.

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