The opportunity to speak at a Community Voices event in May sponsored by the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel was a lot of fun (“Video: Writer George Smith talks outdoors, ALS at ‘Community Voices’ event,” May 14″). I got to share a lot of funny stories about my lifetime of experiences, including plenty about hunting and fishing.

Today I want to share some of those stories with you. Let’s start with fishing.

When my grandson, Vishal, was 5 or 6 years old, we were up to camp when I took him to Sourdnahunk Stream to catch some brook trout. I carried V across the stream and we hiked up to a favorite pool.

I cast the fly into the stream, hooked a fish, and handed the rod to V so he could reel it in. After I removed the hook, I handed the fish to V and told him he could release it. He stepped back and threw the fish like a football way downstream. “Ah, V,” I said, “I guess I need to show you how to do that!”

Pretty soon I was casting and handing him the rod so he could hook the fish and reel it in. And he did a nice job of releasing them. The 25th trout was a big one, and after he released it, V looked up at me and said, “Grampy, we’re both very happy.”

Boy he got that right!

One year I took my wife Linda to Alaska and we stayed at Rainbow River Lodge, where each day they would fly us to a river to catch big rainbow trout or silver salmon, which run 10 to 12 pounds. I have a photo of Linda on the salmon river, taken from behind just after she cast, and 10 yards away a giant bear is looking at her.

The river was full of bears, and luckily, they were very good at catching fish. But it took some getting used to fishing with a bear there.

Now let’s talk hunting. One year I shot a nice buck that ran about 75 yards and dropped. It was getting dark, so I was rushing to clean it out and get it home, when I almost cut my finger off. Blood spurted everywhere and I couldn’t stop it.

So I left the buck, got in the canoe, paddled back to the vehicle and drove home. Linda wasn’t home. I rushed through the kitchen with blood spurting all over the place and into the bathroom, but I still couldn’t stop the blood from flowing.

So I left Linda a note that said, “Don’t worry about the blood, I’m headed to the Farmington hospital for stitches to my finger.” I don’t think she’s ever forgotten that note!

One time I was woodcock hunting with my friend Jimmy Robbins in Searsmont. We were in an old abandoned apple orchard, and Jimmy put me on an open knoll and said he and his dog would be working down through the bushes to my right. He pointed to the bottom of the bushes and said if there was a woodcock in the bushes, that’s right where it would come out and fly right past me.

I could hear Jimmy and his dog moving through the bushes. Suddenly, a bird flew out right where Jimmy said it would and sped across the opening in front of me. I made a terrific shot and down went the bird.

Jimmy’s dog trotted up to the bird, looked down at it, looked back up, and walked away. “Oh dear, what did I shoot?” I wondered. Well, I’d shot a robin!

I used to have a dog that was a great retriever and we often hunted ducks on my stream. One morning, a black duck flew by and I shot him. He dropped into the stream and my dog quickly jumped in and swam out to him. But instead of bringing the duck back to me, he carried it to the other side of the stream and ate it.

I enjoyed hunting grouse with my friend Ed Pineau at his Northeast Carry camp. We would ride the dirt roads, and when we spotted a grouse, we would each take a turn getting out and shooting.

It was my turn as we were riding down the road when Ed spotted a grouse in the woods. We stopped, got out, and walked back to that spot. Ed pointed into the woods and said, “There it is.” Well, I couldn’t see it. So finally he said, “Give me your gun and I’ll shoot it.” I responded, “No way, it’s my turn to shoot.”

Ed pointed to a tree trunk about 20 yards into the woods and said the grouse was right at the bottom of the trunk. Well, I still couldn’t see it, but I aimed at the bottom of the trunk and shot. When I walked out into the woods to the trunk, I had shot two grouse without seeing one!

Yes, hunting and fishing was always fun — and lots of times funny too.

 

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.


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