It's almost noon and we drive over to the launch at Benson Lake to sit in the sun and have lunch. Those that have had the pleasure to be invited along on our hunts can attest to the fact that although we will go into the gnarliest brambles and deep into the most remote spots of the forest, we like our creature comforts. We produce folding chairs and the tailgate of the truck becomes a table as we sit and eat while looking out over the lake. As we eat, we talk over the morning’s events. We all agree that the birds are indeed in the cuts. It remains unspoken but we all are thinking the same thought. It's time to hunt "THE CLEAR-CUT". This amazing covert invokes almost reverential awe among us, for when conditions are right this is the Holy Grail of grouse hunting. "THE CLEAR-CUT" is the mother of all clear-cuts. It is by far the largest productive cut I have ever hunted. It is roughly two miles long and one mile wide split by one skid trail across the width east to west by two going north and south connected to form a U at the north end. The east, west and north are bordered by a wet grass marsh ringed with tag alders.

There are two ways to get to the clear-cut. The first is a shorter drive up logging roads but with a hike of a half a mile and the second, a longer convoluted drive through a maze of old logging roads. Since finding the second, we almost always take that way. Partly because the first leaves us parked on a more traveled trail and we would rather not advertise the location of this spot. That leaves the longer route which confuses the heck out of any guests we choose to bring and makes us feel like modern day Lewis and Clark's. But the truth is that it's really a heck of a lot of fun negotiating the twisting and rutted trail with its challenging mud holes and assorted other obstacles.

We arrive and grab our guns and gear. Choose our directions and head off releasing the dogs with the command to hunt'em up. I bear off to the west, Roger north up the middle and Kevin to the east. I work to the western edge along the alders when Parker freezes, a solid point. I skirt her to the right in order to present myself a better angle and walk in to flush. A familiar twitter accompanying a small brown form magically appears out of nothing from the leafy clutter and heads for the sky twisting and turning through the alders as only a woodcock can. The gun comes up and the first shot goes off and the doodle keeps going. The second shot finds its mark and the bird tumbles. I release Parker for the retrieve and only then do I spot the hanging branch that absorbed the first shot. My attention is brought back as Parker's beeper announces she is on point again. Never making it to the retrieve she found scent again and was locked up on point. I assume she's pointing the