My Uncle Teff (Telford Willis) was, like so many of his neighbors, an avid hunter of loons. The fact that loons eventually became a protected species only seemed to enhance the excitement of bagging one of these migratory birds. In early Spring of each year, hunters would line the south shore of Harkers Island to prepare a one-sided gauntlet that stretched at least two miles long. Each hunter would in turn take their chances at shooting the birds as they flew just beyond the tide-line each morning looking for food.
On one particular morning a gallant loon made his way eastward along the shore as hunter after hunter fired their shells in his direction. But because the tide line had formed a bit farther out than usual, most of them would either miss the bird entirely, or else their shot would break only a few feathers that would flutter out, but failed to pierce the skin, as the loon continued his path towards Shell Point. When eventually it came abreast of my Uncle Teff, he arose from his perch and fired two shells that he was confident would hit their mark.
But, just as with the other marksmen, a few feathers flew out and down, while the bird kept flying as if nothing had even touched him. Greatly frustrated by his failure to bring down the loon, Teff finally jumped up and raised his fist in the direction of his prey and shouted, "Fly dern ye, you may live now but you'll freeze to death this winter!"