Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 27

of the woods bordering the swampy area. This day was no different, except that the bird let me get well past it before the thunderous pounding of wings lifted me two feet off the ground. And by the time I got both feet back on the ground and the shotgun cocked and to my shoulder, the grouse was weaving through the trees. A yank on the trigger sent a swarm of No. 4s on its way, but I would have accomplished as much with a handful of marbles. The bird was long gone by the time I had ejected the spent shell casing. With my heart still pounding and my hands shaking, I slipped in another shell and secretly rejoiced that no one else had witnessed such a poor performance. Next time would be different, I thought. A short distance beyond the swampy area was the remnants of an old mill dam, and despite promising that the first grouse had to be taken on the wing, I also remembered one or two birds taken with the .22 while I sat on the ruins of the mill dam watching for squirrels. During the half hour I sat there on that day, though, no grouse appeared. But hardly 15 minutes later I heard the erratic rustle of leaves and spotted a squirrel well within range. I could not help putting the front bead on the nose of that squirrel, and was sorely tempted to pull the trigger, but I managed to stick to my original plan. During the next 15 minutes two more grays came within range. Like the first one, I let them pass and then left the mill dam to work my way farther upstream. Self-discipline is fine, but I had just about tested mine to the limit. Deep in the pit of my stomach was the feeling that the object of hunting was to get some game, and to pass up legal game because of some foolish whim about getting a grouse bordered on something a bit beyond foolishness. Still, the day was early. I would hunt grouse until noon, and if I hadn’t connected by that time then all bets were off. About 200 yards upstream of the old mill dam, Mallory Run is worn down to NOVEMBER 2009 smooth slippery bedrock. I worked my way upstream along the edge of the creek and had just passed Step Falls. Here the bedrock abruptly rose in a series of steps of various height, over which Mallory Run tumbled and gurgled and swirled. Just above the Step Falls on one side of the creek the ground widened to a narrow wooded flat bordered by a steep slope of several hundred feet to the edge of fields and pasture. On the opposite side of the creek, the steep wooded slope came right to the water’s edge. I had just passed the Step Falls when the grouse boiled up not 20 feet from me, but by the time my heart settled down the bird was streaking across Mallory Run and into the woods on the far side. Like I mentioned at the beginning, as I lowered the Ranger and ejected the spent shell there was no sight of the grouse, no feathers floating in the air and a distinct feeling of total failure. I was certain that at the instant of firing I had closed both eyes. I was a rookie, a raw rookie. With a dull feeling of disappointment, I slipped a fresh shell in the chamber and started on along the narrow flat, a nagging question in the back of my mind. Why hadn’t I seen the grouse flying after the shot? Had I kept my eyes closed that long? Within moments I had crossed the creek and was climbing the steep slope to where I thought I had last seen the grouse. Sure enough, a short distance beyond, a big grouse was piled up in the leaves. It was the first one I had ever shot on the wing; the first piece of game taken with my new Ranger shotgun. Right then I felt 10 feet tall. That happened 68 years ago. Life has dimmed and is getting dimmer, but the memory of that long-ago day is as vivid as ever. May the memory of your first grouse be the same.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009

Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009
Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Contents
The Ghost of the Orchard
Deer Wrestlers
Hunting with Hounds
A Just Reward
Mixed Bag
Cheaper by the Dozen
The Ranger and the Grouse
The Thanksgiving Day Bear
Squirrels The Hard Way
National Police Shooting Championship
On the Road Again
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Fun Game
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - The Ghost of the Orchard
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Deer Wrestlers
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Hunting with Hounds
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - A Just Reward
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Mixed Bag
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Cheaper by the Dozen
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - The Ranger and the Grouse
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - The Thanksgiving Day Bear
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Squirrels The Hard Way
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - National Police Shooting Championship
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - On the Road Again
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Insert 1
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Insert2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2009 - Cover4
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