sights, the sounds
and smells. My thirst for this beauty seems unquenchable. Those who hunt
solely for the purpose of taking game are missing the big picture. The
taking of game is only a small piece of this grand mosaic. The satisfaction
of the hunt is the sum of the whole, all parts being equal. One must hunt
to fully understand this and the non-hunter will never quite grasp the
allure which draws us to the woods and field in the fall.
We decide to try
another young popple stand, which in our hunting lingo we just call these
stands "clear-cuts" because that is the method of harvest that
created them. Our hope is that the birds have moved into them to feed
with the cooler weather now. Just a short distance up the road is the
Lehman Lake clear-cut, a narrow but long covert; it is extremely dense
but a good indicator for seeing if the birds are truly in the clear-cuts.
This spot is so dense that it is impossible to see your hunting buddies
when they are a mere twenty yards away. Care and extremely safe hunting
practices are called for in such a spot. We line up, much as if hunting
pheasants, thirty yards abreast of each other and start our march through
the woods vocally keeping in line and keeping our field of fire to an
arc of ninety degrees from forty-five degrees left to forty-five right
unless at one end or the other, so as never to be firing toward someone
The dogs make scent but the first points are unproductive but this is expected for the birds are running ahead. This is because we are talking to each other for safety reasons and to keep our line straight and the birds hear us. We know that once they run out of denser cover they will be pinned by the dogs and we may have a chance at a shot. Trigger goes on point and this time a grouse flushes as Kevin walks in, he fires and several more get up as he fires his second shot. Unsure of a hit he sends Trigger for the retrieve and two more take flight and two more shots are heard. Kevin exclaims "My god they're going up like popcorn!" All in all seven birds busted from the cover before it was over and one was in the bag as Trigger had found the first bird shot at. Before we came to the end of the covert, we had flushed two more. I made a wonderful crossing shot on a bird running the gauntlet from right to left through three shooters falling to the fifth shot unleashed at it. My little twenty eight gauge gun whose lines are pleasing to the eye, light to carry, and quick to point, leaves me nothing to desire. It is deadly on grouse and a joy to hunt with. Add to that the pleasure I get when making a shot like that and you can see why I love the little gun.