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My lady and I had come out of the jungles of Bolivia having whacked a few rather amazing varmints. The jaguar had escaped but that was no big surprise. However with tapir, and pacas, white lipped javelina, brouquet deer and a few other unusual creatures - it was a fabulous hunt. And we had no snake bites, malaria, or any other horrible jungle type diseases.
It was time to go back to Canada.
Our luggage had been delayed a day on arrival and when we got back to the city the guide told me that he had felt sorry that we missed a day of hunting so had cancelled our flights home. Considering that we had taken about 5 flights to get to Santa Cruz - I was not all that impressed and did my usual Yosemite Sam hissy fit. People were expecting us back in Canada.
The guide took us to the airport where we were put on stand by. And then the airplane never did leave because of mechanical issues. Bolivia in 1984! Every damn thing seemed to break down on my two trips there.
Seeing that we never would have left anyways, I forgave the guide for trying to be nice.
The next flight out was in four days so now we had to make a new plan of some kind. A family friend of the guide was named No No. A great fellow who had studied and lived for quite some time in the U.S. He told us of how his wife had a baby while in the U.S. and the baby was very ill and needed an emergency operation. Insurance would not cover the operation until the baby was a bit older for some reason. So he went to Jerry Lewis who was raising all that money for some horrible disease back then. A cheque soon covered the operation. What a fine man!
We had a drink at his house one day and afterwards walked out to the car. As we reached the car he took out a pistol and fired a couple of shots into the air. He told us that he wanted people to know that he had a gun. Some guy had stolen a lawn mower out of his yard so he had electified the fence. I mentioned that it would give someone a good shock?
'No,' he replied, 'it would kill them!' He assured me that if that happened the cops would just come over and pick up the fried wannabe felon.
As an aside, in December the Bolivian peson was trading at 30,000 to a U.S. dollar. In August it was 1,100,000 to a U.S. buck.
No No and his buddy were going out to the Mennonite farms to do some trading and offered to take me along. I could shoot some doves, maybe. We went to a market for shotgun shells. I thought that 6 boxes would make me happy. He came back with 10 shells that cost $20 U.S. and told me to shoot at least 5 birds per shot. (The guide's wife taught half time for $20 a month I was informed)
The Mennonites back then would only use a vehicle if it had steel wheels. The kids seemed to be all blonde with blue eyes and the little girls were cuties in their Mennonite get up or is it called garb? A loft of these fine folks had kin in Canada we were told.
It was chilly that day and the doves were all huddled in groups under trees in the shelterbelts surrounding the yards. I would get out and shoot at a bunch on the ground! There would then be dogs barking, kids yelling, doves flopping around - and soon we would be surrounded by the Interested.
People talk about shooting 60% or 80%. Ha! My average was probably closer to 600%. I am awesome at 30 yards at huddled flocks.
One kid sold us 100 live doves for $1.00. No No liked to pickle them and serve them with cocktails.
Another group of young men with their dad seemed to be upset when we were talking to them in their yard? I picked up the vibe and asked No NO what was up? He told me that their mom had died the day before and was packed in ice right then in their house.
After shooting about 8 times I had shot well over a hundred doves. All on the ground. It was time to go one step further.
There were huge flocks of doves flying everywhere so I put a shell in the ancient side by side 12 gauge and waited. Eventually a paloma muy grande (or whatever they called those huge wild pigeons came by) and I gunned it. I yelled! I cheered! I shouted with a great deal of enthusiasm! Four or five little pretty Mennonite girls stood and watched the gringo.
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