An extremely important voice for the rights of American citizens to keep and bear arms was silenced last week with the untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Ironically, Scalia’s death came while on a quail hunt in Texas.
Justice Scalia is known for his love of hunting and in fact, has been to Louisiana several times to hunt ducks. However, it seems that the bobwhite quail is the creature that has called his name the most because his love for quail hunting has become widely known.
One day several years ago, it was the quail that brought Scalia to north Louisiana, Union Parish to be specific. He spent several hours north of Downsville at Wild Wings Sporting Club and Lodge, a private hunting and sporting clays range.
Randy and Gail Smith are owners of the range and Randy remembers hosting Scalia for a hunt.
“He had been in north Louisiana as guest of a friend for a duck hunt. His friend contacted us to see about bringing the Justice over for a quail hunt later that day after hunting ducks that morning,” said Smith.
“They called us about 10:00 that morning asking if they could come over then. I asked if the duck hunting was a failure and was told that no, they limited out early and the Judge wanted to hunt quail.”
Smith said that when they arrived, Justice Scalia brought his gun, a new Beretta, still in the box and had never been used.
“I had to put the gun together for him and after getting it assembled and in working order, I set him up on one of our clay shooting stations, the Wobble Trap; he had never shot it before. I instructed him on how the Wobble Trap worked and he was soon busting clay targets coming and going,” Smith said.
“My overall impression of him in a nutshell; I liked him. He was easy to talk to was funny and very cooperative. If he was doing something wrong and we mentioned it to him, he was quick to say ‘show me’ because he wanted to do it right. In fact,” Smith added, “my son Jeffrey works with us at Wild Wings and noticed that Scalia was shouldering his gun wrong. Jeffrey told him he was holding his gun too low on his shoulder; the Justice asked Jeffery what he meant by holding the gun too low. I remember him laughing and saying ‘I’m fat’, as an explanation.
“Jeffrey told him to open his shirt and look where the recoil of the gun had been hitting and see where the red mark was. As a result, the Justice thanked him, moved his gun higher on his shoulder and his hitting targets improved noticeably.”
Smith remembered Scalia shooting a bunch of quail that day but had a bit of a problem when it came to shooting pheasants.
“We had a variety of pheasants that are black. The dogs pointed, a pheasant got up and the Justice just watched it fly away. I asked him why he didn’t shoot and he said with a chuckle, ‘I don’t shoot buzzards’.” Obviously Justice Scalia was not familiar with this particular variety of pheasant.
Smith said that a spokesman for Scalia called him awhile back wanting to schedule another quail hunt for the Justice this year.
“His schedule prevented him from ever making the trip back to Wild Wings and I regret not getting to host him for another hunt,” Smith said.
The nation has lost a champion for Second Amendments rights in Justice Scalia’s death. He proved, however, his passion for shooting and hunting one day on a special piece of ground in our part of the country, Wild Wings in Union Parish.
Glynn Harris Outdoor column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn in Minden