dead bird and walk up to release her again for the retrieve. As I near, another woodcock takes to the air surprising me, a hasty mount and two shots later, the bird continues on its way. I chuckle to myself and shake my head for doubting the dog, knowing that this is not the last time that will happen.

I command the dog to fetch the previous bird and wait for the retrieve and once more she goes on point. I walk up prepared this time and make the flush, collect the bird and add the final doodle of the day to my bag, for the limit is three. Retrieving the final two birds turned into a tedious chore because the area was saturated with woodcock, more than I have ever seen in such a small area. The woodcock feeds mainly on earthworms and evidently this spot had an abundance of worms which led to an abundance of woodcock. In the next ten minutes we proceeded to point and flush at least ten additional woodcock. It was frustrating, trying my patience and the dog's. We managed to find the two downed birds while pointing and flushing birds every few feet. In this country one is wise to treat every point as a possible grouse. Frustrated I finally leash Parker and lead her out of the area. We kick three more up and Parker looks at me as if I'm insane, I shrug and mutter something to the dog as an apology.

Back into the popple I release Parker and command her to "Hunt 'em up". She goes off and I mindlessly daydream while viewing the terrain watching for the splash of white that marks the dog's location as she bounds through the woods. I smile to no one but myself as I soak up everything coming at my senses. The smells of the forest, like the rich earthy aroma from the soil and the bittersweet scent of dying ferns. The sounds of the aspen leaves quaking in the breeze and the call of the jays. The feel of the cool breeze on my face, the pleasant weight of the game bag and the tug of the brambles pulling at my faced brush pants. Mixed with the view in front of me, how could anyone not smile. As we push along, I begin to wonder if the birds are really here. A half-hour has passed with no sign of birds. Parker has checked in twice now awaiting further commands and each time I send her forth once more. Grouse hunting is like this and it is all part of the game. Off to the east I hear shots and the command "fetch it up Rock" and I know Roger has bagged another. Buoyed by this, Park and I press on. Finally Parker's collar beeps on point; I scan the woods to locate her, homing in on the steady beep. I spot her, tail high, head to the left frozen. Her body trembles and I know the bird is there. "Whoa girl whoa" I softly command as I push through the underbrush. I move to the left trying to pin the bird between Park and me. My heart beats faster. Solid points like this do that to me. Anticipation is high as I move carefully in, suddenly the flush happens, the bird skyrockets up, steeply angling for the treetops. I mount and swing, following the bird up, swinging through from behind I tap the trigger as the barrels pass through the bird and the second grouse of the day for me tumbles. Parker makes the retrieve delivering it to hand. I always stop to admire the bird, examine it, and fan its tail to determine its sex. We all should take the time to do this, give the bird the respect it deserves.

Further on we near the end of the cut, having hit the road where it starts its horseshoe bend. Off to the right comes the sound of a small cowbell, as it nears, a large black form appears, I smile at Rock, Roger's black lab, and scan the woods for Roger knowing full well that he's near. Seeing a bit of orange, I call out to let him know I'm here. "Hey how's it going" a voice calls back as the orange