Thursday, June 20, 2019


     Rain probably kills more ruffed grouse than any other thing. During the first few days of a newly hatched chick’s life, a soaking rain is a killer. If the temperature is cold things get really bleak.
     It is now late June and looking at my notes, at this time last year people were seeing clutches of grouse. Today it is pouring and the rain will last into the night. It is easy to imagine a hen grouse desperately trying to keep her young chicks dry.
     Mother Nature can be cruel and the grouse have been through this before. The specie will survive with the strongest living on. What this rain does to the grouse population we may not know until the fall.

Gravel Roads

      The dogs sit up, every time, slipping from silent slumber to restless wonder faster than I can straighten out the wheels.
      Under the truck’s tires gravel grumbles and the pace slows. We weave to miss washed out holes in the road and the air smells different. There’s nobody else around and moose tracks travel the same direction we do.
      The dogs absolutely know this road leads to another adventure.
      Up where we live not all town roads are tarred and logging roads are only maintained while logging is active. The dogs know dirt roads lead to out of the way places and that is where fun always awaits. In the summer it might mean trout fishing or just plain hiking, but come fall it means bird hunting, which is their greatest of all joys.
      It could be a mile in the woods or fifteen miles into a wilderness valley they have never visited before. Either way they will be intensely alert until the truck stops.
Around the net corner there may wait...
      Complacent driving often leads to speeds a little too fast. The tires roll sideways on gravel, as if coasting over ball bearings, sort of floating the truck through a turn. Meeting a pickup truck or moose in a corner snaps me back to the present. The youngest dog sometimes steps from the back up onto the center console and I always scold her.
       Like sentries on the back seat, they stare ahead. If the backseat windows are opened halfway, they’ll stick their heads out. Wouldn’t it be grand if they could tell us all the things they smell? Moose, deer, bear?
     Today it is about trout fishing and we turn down a bumpy cart path to park next to a stream that shall  remain nameless. The dogs will sit on the bank and watch with intensity as the fly floats downstream, just as I do. Maybe it isn’t bird hunting, but they still know it is a hunt.
Maggie watching a large mayfly on a leaf.

Thursday, June 6, 2019


      There are not as many people hunting as there used to be. Nationwide the number of hunting licenses has been on the decline for years. If we don’t maintain our numbers we lose our political clout. You know where that can lead.
      The state of New Hampshire has put together a program where willing hunters can mentor someone that would like to learn bird hunting. It is a unique opportunity to do something useful, maybe make a new friend or two, and spend a day in the woods. How bad can that be?
       If you are interested in participating contact Tom Flynn at . It will be fun and you’ll feel good about yourself.

The king of game birds.