Thursday, November 25, 2010

In Praise of One Morning...

Today's day of Thanks is brought to you by the Chilean miners who made it; the New Zealand miners who, sadly, didn't; Liberals who hunt; Conservative union members, and sometimes, Y.

This morning, I spent two hours walking the Pennsylvanian woods in search of its state bird, good ol' Bonasa umbellus:

As luck would have it, the season's first snow was in progress, sifting down a powder layer in the wet woods. Only two minutes out of the house, amongst chest-high goldenrod, I was treated to perhaps the finest Thanksgiving morning flush in memory. I missed the bird of course, well behind him, but the poetry of the snow-globe moment, and his russet wings against a gray sky... wish you could have been there to see it. Perhaps you'd like to hear what a grouse flush sounds like...

Grouse do the 50-yard dash of the wing-shooting world. They love heavy, dense cover, and either flush wild before you can even see them, or wait until you're about to step on them, and explode out of the brush, sending your pulse skyward and forcing an instinctual shot. Nothing quite like it, and one gets a lovely aerobic workout combing the woods in search of them. 

I also saw quite a lot of deer print, and buck scratches. For the uninitiated, they look like this:

  As luck would have it, I ran into another hunter skulking around a hillside, and promptly turned in the other direction. It's getting harder and harder to hunt the circuit without running into "Buddy" as we like to call the other guy. Nearly all hunting "isms" can be traced to Maestro Arturo, my woodland mentor who last appeared in these pages here. Also, when I stopped to eat an apple, what looked like a Golden Lab streaked by me, about 75 yards down the hill. Weird. Later, I had to turn away again, when I crossed what looked like its owner's tracks. Further evidence to really watch one's step in the woods. Which I'm thankful I can do.

That's all for now, kidlets. Do something you love today, with people you love. It's like that on a November Thursday, and other days, too.

Thanks for reading, too, and please remember to leave the Safety on until you're sure you have a clear, safe shot.


  1. i ate home made pizzas with friends and drank vodka tonic. "love". oh, yeah. happy turkey day to you. or should that be 'happy grouse day'?

  2. I can usually be found grousing about something or other, most days!