Well, That Ain't Good

It's no secret that, sometimes, it's just not your day. Or week. Or month. But that's life, and you can bet that so long as you're plugging along, you'll hit speed bumps from time to time. In my family, the standard reaction to a calamity, great or small, is usually the utterance of a simple phrase: "Well, that ain't good."

Growing up, it was my dad's typical response to just about any problem we ran into—whether it be around the house, in the field or elsewhere. My brother and I inevitably adopted the trait, and it's grown into a family motto of sorts. My most recent usage of it happened the first morning of a turkey hunt earlier this spring when, well... something happened that was most certainly not good.

We'd arrived to camp the night before, and hastily sighted in our shotguns as a thunderstorm approached from the west. Content with how my gun was patterning, I placed it back into its case and moved it to the safety of my sleeping quarters. Just a few short hours later, it was time to rise and begin the task of finding a turkey—and so the shotgun and its case were moved to the backseat of a truck.

After about a half-hour drive, we'd reached our destination. My companion, the hunting guide and I hopped out of the truck, and I placed the gun case on the tailgate. I grabbed the zipper, which was near the case's rear, and opened the case up, expecting to see my shotgun waiting for me. Instead I was immediately struck in the forehead by the gun's stock, which had somehow become separated from the remainder of the gun and was mysteriously propelled towards me. Fortunately the rubberized butt stock was what made impact.

Now let me make it clear that, when my family truly does feel defeated, we preface our "Well, that ain't good," with a very audible sigh.

This was one of those times.

At the time, I had no idea what happened. It was 4:30 in the morning, and very, very dark. After scanning the ground and recovering the spring—which, as you can imagine, is what sent the stock barreling towards me with force—the hunting guide and I each took a shot at seeing if we could get the shotgun back into one piece. We hadn't yet recognized the extent of the damage, and as you can expect, we failed pretty miserably. And so, with the sun slowly starting to creep up on us, I put the gun back in its case and followed the guide and our other companion into the woods, unarmed.

So, on that very first morning of the hunt... I sat on the bench.

Ultimately, we didn't see a bird, and I was was able to pick up a new gun at lunch. Upon further evaluation, the shotgun in question had seemed to have suffered some sort of stress fracture in its action spring tube—and it finally broke all the way through at some point between sighting it in and taking it out of the case the next morning.

And so I returned to work with the tale of the projectile butt stock. It wasn't very entertaining in the moment, but it seems to have legs as a "when things go wrong" type of story. Such is life.

Hey, things could have been worse. We could have dealt with heavy rain and 40 mph winds on the ensuing two days of the hunt (hint: we did).

Well, that ain't good...

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1 Response to Well, That Ain't Good

David Hilgartner wrote:
June 07, 2013

A similar incident caused the creation of our 'always take a backup gun' rule; I was on a quail hunt in Texas on private property when I was about 9. My Dad grabbed too many guns at once trying to get them out to the car, and wound up dropping my 20 gauge LC Smith. I got to shoot the ranch foreman's 22 pump which hadn't been cleaned since the 1700's (apparently). Every time I took a shot, the gun literally fell apart, and we had to piece it back together.