Elmer Keith certainly had ways of doing things that weren’t the way others did ’em–but so long has he had a gun in his hand like his favored Ithaca, dinner was on the table.
“Shorty liked to hunt. I’d hunt coyotes with him. At that time I was packing a big old 15-pound bull-gun, with scope sights, over my shoulder by the muzzle. When I’d see a coyote or an eagle, I’d just trail Shorty’s reins, make my stalk, and get or miss them, but Shorty loved to hunt. Then I’d go up on Lookout Mountain, take my little 16-gauge Ithaca, and hunt grouse. The horse learned it. He’d go along with his nose on the ground sniffin’. He would smell the fresh grouse tracks and I could tell it right then by his ears. When the chickens would jump, I’d trained him by hooking my left spur around his shoulder and reining him to the right to turn his head to the right. I made a good many doubles off that little horse with that 16-gauge. He’d whirl partly around, watch them go, and he’d hold his head down low. And if I only shot once, then he’d shiver waiting for the second barrel.”—Elmer Keith, “Hell I was There!”
Did you like this look back at some backwoods backward hunting by the famed Elmer Keith? Then we think you’ll love the stories about another famous American rifleman, Jack O’Connor, The Legendary Life of America’s Greatest Gunwriter by Robert Anderson.