Phonozoic Text Archive, Document 1003, added October 21, 2006


Philadelphian Goes Hunting With a Phonograph.


Ingenious Nimrod Makes Wounded Bird Speak Into Machine, Then Turns Megaphone to the Sky, and Hordes of Honkers Answer.

Indiana Evening Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania), Jan. 6, 1908, p. 3.


            It has been left for a Philadelphia tenderfoot to teach former President Grover Cleveland and the world in general that the best way to hunt wild ducks and geese is with a phonograph. 

            Ace Goodhill, champion bird shooter of the Indian river (Delaware) breakwater country and sometime guide to Mr. Cleveland, came into Georgetown to reload his shells with powder and shot.  He gave an account of the latest achievement of Mr. Edison’s wonderful invention.

            “Couple o’ days ago,” said Ace, “a pink faced little whippersnapper simpers into my shack up at th’ hed o’ the’ breakwater an’ unloads a brand new two dollar an’ a half fowlin’ piece, a silver dinner pail, some ridin’ leggin’s an’ a queer lookin’ box, with a horn thing strapped t’ its side.

            “‘You’re Goodhill,’ he says t’ me in his best ribbon counter soprano.  ‘I’m Algernon Pinckney Bourke, connected as floorwalker with th’ biggest department store I Philadelphy.  I’ve come out here t’ shoot ducks,’ he says, ‘an’ I hereby engage your services.’

            “‘It cannot be,’ I answers.  ‘This is a wild country, an’ in scourin’ th’ bottoms an’ precipjous hills I often risk death persuin’ my hazardjous perfession of guide.  Yet life is still too precious fer me t’ trust it with you an’ your gun in th’ same boat.’

            “But Algernon insists most contumacious, an’ finally when he offers $15 a day, with grub an’ sperits t’ boot, I say my prayers, an’ we starts up th’ bayou.  I never seen ducks an’ geese so scarceful.  Algernon Pinckney don’t even have one excuse all day t’ shoot me by mistake.  Second day it’s likewise till just dusk one lone, homeless blackwing staggers over th’ boat.  I shed think that pore duck was limpin’ along ’bout three an’ a half knots an hour, jest able t’ keep steerageway, ten feet er so top th’ water.  Algernon Pinckney lets fly both barrels straight fer my head.  I ducks in time, brings my own piece t’ bear an’ wings th’ hungry blackwing so he falls into th’ water.  We rows up, an’ I’m fixin’ t’ put th’ lonesome critter out’n his misery when Algernon Pinckney says, ‘Oh, desist.’  ‘What fer?’ I says.  ‘Can’t you see it’s sufferin’?’

            “‘I’ll show you,’ says Algernon, an’ he drags his box with th’ horn tied on from under his seat an’ in a minute has a whole dumbed phonygraft rigged out, with th’ horn pointin’ at me an’ th’ wounded duck.  He sets th’ cylinder thing turnin’.  ‘Now, Goodhill,’ he says, ‘squeeze th’ duck so he’ll bark.’

            “I squeezes, an’ the pore duck honks, an’ th’ phonygraft takes in all th’ cries.  ‘All right,’ says Algernon presently when I’d squeezed th’ bird dumb and limp.  ‘Th’ record’s full,’ says Algernon.  ‘You can kill him now.’

            “I puts th’ weary blackwing out o’ trouble, an’ Algernon Pinckney reverses his machine.  ‘Now, me wise guy-de,’ says he, ‘we’ll get some duck shootin’.’  An’ he p’ints his blamed machine at th’ morass off th’ port side, sticks it in th’ prow an’ starts it goin’.  I never heard such duck calls in all my life.  Pinckney would speed ’er up every onct in awhile, an’ you’d think 500 flocks was holdin’ high jinks.  You oughter seen th’ live ducks an’ geese take Algernon Pinckney’s phonygraft bait.  They come in swarms that clouded th’ river.  There was a thousand birds in gunshot in no time.  I got 150 in three-quarters of an hour.  Even Pinckney shot down twenty, an’ I think he fired every other charge at me or inter th’ bottom o’ th’ boat.

            “Well, we shot till our ammunition give out an’ the cylinder got weak from overwork.  An’ on our way in we meets a Delaware legislator, who looks us over an’ gets our story o’ th’ phonygraft decoy.

            “An’ I see by th’ papers that he’s drafted a bill fer th’ assembly forbiddin’ any more phonygrafts bein’ sold in th’ Indian river duck country.”