Buck Smith’s Option

Part Nineteen

By Tom Word
Hardy Dillard had a large group of family and guests at coming to Mossy Swamp for the holidays, and he engaged Kyle and Buck to handle a second hunting party using their dogs.  Hardy would hunt with them.
When on Christmas eve the two hunting parties met for lunch at a prearranged crossing of hunting courses, the Kyle-Buck team had twice the birds in the box as Simon Green’s outfit.  Green was sullen.  Buck and Kyle hustled to fix and serve lunch to their half of the combined ten-gun party.  Dillard noticed that they were both handy with the grill and at serving his guests.  More important to Dillard, they were cheerful and humorous and made everyone have fun.  In contrast, Simon Green’s sullenness was not lost on those hunting with him.  Dillard decided to switch the guns around between the two parties for the afternoon’s shooting.
In the gun room after the hunt, after Buck and Kyle had gone home, the guests all commented on how much fun it had been to hunt with Kyle and Buck and shoot over their trial strings.
After Hardy Dillard’s Christmas guests had departed, Kyle and Buck concentrated on getting their strings ready for the two trials they would attend before the National, the Florida Championship, and the Continental.  They worked on Mossy Swamp and, for a change of pace, on Coney Lake Plantation with Bubba Moreland a couple of days.  When time came to depart for Chinquapin, their strings were ready, especially Headstrong, who’d had four good workouts in a row.
On the drive south, Buck said, “I hope Strong didn’t leave his championship race in them workouts.”
To be continued in Part Twenty.