21 August 2012

Duck Shooting at Cobb's Island in 1880

Baltimore, Jan. 31. — Dear Spirit: I send herewith a brief recital of a gunning excursion recently enjoyed by two of Baltimore's well-known sportsmen, Messrs. G.A. Rasch and J.W. Snyder. These gentlemen have been for some time noted for the precision and accuracy of their shooting, and their recent exploits add fresh laurels to their reputation. So decidedly successful and fortunate were there gentlemen that I feel assured these lines will be acceptable to your host of readers who may be interested in sporting affairs. Messrs. Rasch and Snyder left our city Tuesday of last week, and returned Friday morning of the present week. Deducting the time expended in traveling and the Sabbath of rest, about six days were employed in manipulating their breech-loaders. The result of their fusillade among the ranks of black mallards, brant, and geese was a grand and gratifying aggregate of 109 ducks and ten wild geese, which were distributed among their many friends. This is the "biggest" week's shooting that has been executed in the vicinity by any other brace of hunters, amateur or professional. Your readers interested in ducking will doubtless wish to know where such sport was obtained, and by what means the locality can be reached. I would, therefore, state in reply to such implied interrogatories that the place visited by these gentlemen was the well-known spot in Northampton County, Va., which is classically known as Cobb's Island. This island is situated in the waters of the Atlantic, and is in the neighborhood of 200 miles from our city. During the summer the hotel is well and largely patronized, but during the winter is but little frequented save by occasional gunning parties. The islanders are a hardy, obliging, and accommodating people, and do everything in their power to render the stay of strangers pleasant and agreeable. I would especially commend Mr. E.B. Cobb, "a native here and to the manner born," and Capt. C.H. Crumb, of the Life Saving Station, as gentlemen whose courtesy is as genial as their kindness is proverbial. As before mentioned, the island is but little frequented during the winter months; in consequence of this the hotel is not at present in operation, but a most excellent substitute is supplied by Messrs. Melson and Isdell. These gentlemen are the proprietors of a large packet, gunning boats, blinds, decoys, etc. Gunning parties find good, safe, and abundant accommodations on board the packet, and are transported to and from the ducking haunts by Messrs. Melson and Isdell. In consequence of having such good accommodations, convenient accessories, and thoroughly informed guides, it is no great matter of surprise that gunners invariably return from the island abundantly supplied with the game and exceedingly well pleased with their trip. It is a matter of surprise though, that the bang of more guns is not heard awakening the echoes of the ocean island. The fascination of duck-shooting, the certainty of success, and the pleasures of such a trip should be enough to make Cobb's Island the Mecca of our sportsmen. Having already trespassed too much upon your valuable space, I'll now close these rambling lines.

February 7, 1880. Traps and Triggers. Duck shooting in Maryland. New York Spirit of the Times 99(1): 9.