Edgar Castillo is a twenty-five-plus year veteran law-enforcement officer for a large Kansas City metropolitan agency. Edgar also served in the United States Marine Corps for twelve years. Besides his faith and family, his passion lies in the uplands as he self-documents his travels across public lands throughout Kansas hunting open fields, walking tree lines and bustiń through plum thickets in search of wild birds.
Bird-hunting season is just around the corner. Are you in shape? Upland wingshooting, especially on public lands, can be a workout. Bird hunters traipse through fields, marshes, woods and sloughs.
Amongst the suitcases in the Chevy Astro Van, was my father’s new Remington 1100, along with the Montgomery Ward’s 20-gauge pump shotgun. It had been 18 hours since we had packed the shotguns and left Kansas City. The trip had been filled with quick bathroom dashes, meal breaks on the go, and was very long. Accompanying the four of us, was my mother’s father, Abuelito Jorge, who was visiting from Guatemala. We were determined to arrive on time to partake in a family dove hunt.
The first time I saw my father’s brand-new shotgun, he was using a small white towel to wipe down the twin barrels. The long blue metal stacked tubes glinted with the bouncing light off the room. The shotgun was less than a day old. He had saved his money for months. When the time had come, he went down to the local gun shop where he had first laid eyes on the Ruger Red Label.
Standing in between the edge rows in a field of standing corn, I loosely grasped the wooden forend of the mid-1970s-era shotgun. The shotgun felt strange in my hands. Unorthodox. Yet, the connection had been in the making for over 40 years. The same amount of time had passed for the slightly tight-fitting “brown duck” (think Carhartt) colored game vest I had donned that morning. Yellow shells sat loosely in the outstretched dark brown shell holders on the vest. Was I grasping at memories?