The shoreline provided what the old timers called “the magic draw” for the autumn waterfowl migrating through the flyway; as it ran a mile each way in opposite directions from sharp right angles along the watercourse. Acres and acres of cattails that graced the body of the shore ran deep inland and provided no access to the water’s edge. Where the vast watercourse was heavily treed along the shorelines; the birds had long ago determined that this particular expanse afforded not only a venue of undisturbed sightlines but an impenetrable fortress of bog that protected the birds each autumn from the unwanted forays of water fowlers. Many hunters had yet to unravel the complexity of the evolving landscape and it’s magnetic ability; for it offered a zone of protection deep inland to sweep low and cautiously circle into the watershed below. Over the years the legend of the point was entrenched in the minds of all who ventured upon the autumn; for it had become local folklore which provided many a tale of seasons long ago.
Of history and fable there were many tales of “the point” yielding great success and lawless accounts of shots being fired across the bow of watercraft to protect the local’s interest from any outside intruders. Harvests of birds exceeding the limit of the day may have occured some seventy to eighty years ago along this shore. A fist fight once took place upon the high land after the morning’s hunt pertaining to some sky busting by an individual. The local judiciary handing out a princely fine of 200.00 (1940) whereas the locals collected 450 dollars (the judge donating 300.00 himself for he hunted there as well) for a down payment on a second beating to ensure that such destructive actions would never happen again. For the sake of history; all accounts are to be taken as truthful utterances.
So many found their way in the darkness and it guaranteed no success for if one had miscalculated the design of the land and water beneath the wings of the incoming birds it would be an error. One old timer once told me to sit on the far shore and watch how the birds “come in ” before you hunt the point as it will serve you well.
On a October morning some twenty-nine years ago we set upon the dark for perhaps not ourselves but for someone else to become part of the legacy. A young man who lived in the rural community had been battling cancer for some period of time and after facing many great personal challenges; we marshalled our resources to take this individual to share in the morning. It was of general agreement that the best spot would be made available that morning and an early start with extra gear and watercraft would make the trip less taxing for all.
Upon reaching our destination and carefully providing our best choice for a morning rig upon the water; we wished our new companion the best the morning could offer. After leaving this young man with his brother we retreated to the far shoreline to conceal our presence before the sunrise. Our guns stayed inside their cases that October morning for once hidden along the shore; we sat quietly to watch the morning unfold before us and silently cheer each beckon of the call and moments afterward.
As the snow and ice of the winter solstice would arrive it was not until June of the following year that we realized with great sadness that we had assisted a young man become part of the autumn rite of passage and he had been welcomed by the morning with the rewards of the earth. When eyes glance upon that shore each season; one pauses to remember those who have watched the sun rise in the morning darkness.