We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Pic is your editor busting through a thick alder patch. If a woodcock jumps up, often a branch blocks your swing of the shotgun. That is annoying.
My favorite hunting is for the Ruffed Grouse, aka Partidge, aka "Paatrich," aka "chicken". Best done with dog - pointer or flusher - but it can be done alone too, if alert.
In the autumn, a Ruffed Grouse hunt generally involves Woodcock too. This is real hunting, because even in good habitat you might be lucky to raise a bird or two every few hours of rough hiking. Then the bird flies behind a tree and you miss it. These birds have every advantage.
This good guy shot a Sage Grouse. I've seen them out west, never shot one. I wouldn't shoot one. Once I almost shot a Spruce Grouse by mistake, in Maine. They are protected, and not really edible. I have shot my share of Sharp-Tailed Grouse up in Canadian prairie. That might be the most enjoyable hunting I have ever had. A firing line of a few guys stalking through low brush, scrub, and prairie grasses, for a few miles. Then a sudden burst of grouse occurs right when you have stopped to take a leak.
Regardless of the species, grouse are killed with legs, not shotguns. You walk. A grouse hunt is an excuse to take long gnarly off-trail walks with a dog and thus to earn a glass of warm whiskey by the fire afterwards. That's about as good as life gets.
Ah, yes, the grouse. The sport of kings, they say. Here in the Frozen Tundra, I'll be going up to grouse camp in about 3 weeks. We are near the bottom of the 11 year cycle, so it will be tough hunting, but that's part of the challenge.
Your Grouse post reminds me of some of the most favorite times I spent with my father as I grew up in Tennessee: he was a quail hunter and walked for miles hunting with our bird dogs---both pointers and setters. I would beg, nag him to go, even to take me out of school so I could walk and walk with him. When I got the summons, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Watching the bird dogs work the fields, go on point, then fetch the birds was indeed the best adventure. I even loved coming home with briars and brambles in my pants.
Then Daddy and I would come home and clean the birds in the mud room....I didn't care for pulling their heads off or degutting them, but I loved pulling the feathers off and cleaning them....When we were finished, we would soak the birds in cold water and freeze them in milk cartons. I got to put them in the basement freezer where the birds awaited preparation for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. We served them with incredible gravy, wild rice and many other cherished delicacies.
Daddy didn't drink whiskey often anymore after getting into several fist fights at the country club after a few. I was only made to drink it with sugar and lemon in it when I would have a severe asthma attack in the fall. It was strong and relaxing....
But the bird hunts were among the best memories of my childhood. Your photo I have seen a thousand times.
Doesn't get any better...bird hunting with a dog. Helps to have a good hunting partner too. It is a privilege to watch a dog work...and the look they give you when you miss is priceless! Finish the day on the tailgate with a good whiskey and a good cigar. Go ahead...make some memories.