As a young shooter, I ended up with a Crossman pellet rifle. It was great to teach gun safety and shooting. A couple pumps and I was rifle ready. ￼
After blasting every can, bottle, and other random target in sight, I jumped into live game. My first hunt would be for the Wiley Black Birds. These huge Grackles were the scavenger birds of my Grandmothers Pennsylvania farm. I scattered some bread chunks around the lawn and hid behind a rock.
Before you knew it, I had a flock of dead birds. I would take forked sticks and pose the dead birds to look like decoys. My Grandmother soon came down to see what I was doing. She was so excited to see what a great shot and hunter that I was. Next, she handed me a bushel basket and told me to pick up my harvest. We went onto the back porch, and she showed me how to clean them. ￼
I thought that I was just using the Blackbirds to learn how to clean game birds. No way did I think that they would become dinner. I ate Blackbirds for a week.
He lesson was not about how to clean birds. it was about how to not waste any resource. You never kill a living thing just to prove that you are a good shot. If you shoot it, you eat it.
This why upland hunters use bird dogs. A downed bird can disappear in thick or tall grass. Waterfowl hunters use retrievers to swim after downed ducks and geese.
Even Big Game hunters use dogs to track wounded critters, so they do not go to waste.
I have never ever shot another Grackle since that day! ￼