For the young hunters here
It is really good for this old guy to see the young hunters on this forumn taking to upland hunting. So for you young fellas who so obviously want to know more about this grandest of all outdoor activity (my opinion of course) I recommend reading Gene Hill's book, A Hunter's Fireside Book. It won't tell you much about how to go about it like Jim's great Upland Hunting in Alaska book does but it illustrates very well the deep feelings some of us old guys have for this old and honored experience with the out of doors, dogs and fine guns. ( It will also teach you a few bad habits like drinking bourbon and sneaking new guns into the house)
Oh, I'll have to get that book just to learn how to smuggle a new gun into the house, if nothing else
FURfishgame. back in the 60's living in N.H. I belonged to a Skeet club. One Wednesday evening (the place had lights ) my friend called wanting to go do some shooting . I'll pick you up he says. Well, were heading the wrong way so he says "that was just so the wife does'nt suspect I'm buying a new gun " Were going to Ted's sport shop.
how are you going to sneak it passed her I ask. Oh, I have an empty case to put the new gun in. In about a month I'll pull it out and clean it in front of her. Of course the first thing she'll say"aha another new gun ?" Nope, had it for quite a while dear.
EZ.... either get a woman like mine that doesn't care how many guns you get cause she's smart enough to know that every gun I got is worth way more than I ever paid for it!
Or if she aint as smart as my wife..... just have so many guns that she wouldn't know the difference if you added a few.
Long story made short.
Have an old friend who is a big game guide. He calls me one day and asks if he can come over to visit and bring his just turned 10 year old son with him who has my book and wants me to sign the book. I'm flattered. "Sure, come on over. You're always welcome at my home." So they come over, the boy and I talk, and then dad and I drink coffee and talk of big rams, horses, and such. The boy is busy reading my book on the couch near us. The pages are getting tattered already and dad says that's all he reads and talks about. As they're leaving the little potlicker shakes my hand and says "Maybe we can go hunting sometime? I have some grouse covers I'd share with ya." What a kid!
So they leave. Life goes on all winter and on into the summer and then into the glorious fall. Ashamed to say how I forgot about the kid. Then I get a call. It's the youngster and he invites me to hunt with him! Good God how can I turn this down. So we plan to meet along a highway halfway between his home and mine. His mom drops him off. Dad is up in sheep camp with clients. The kid gets out of mom's suv with a long barreled 870 in 20 gauge, wearing a vest that is ten sizes too large for him, and he's dropping shells all over the road. Well, we get all that piled into my truck and off we go. He takes me to one of his favorite covers because he knows from reading my book how I will honor him and his hospitality by never going there again on my own, unless he says I can. He knows I'll consider this place special, even hallowed ground. I'd been talking to him in the truck about how it's just fine for a young person, or any beginning upland hunter to shoot a bird or two sitting on the ground or on a branch. He tells me "Oh no! I shoot 'em flyin'." Well, I don't really think this little guy who is, in his own words, "almost 11" will be shooting many grouse flying, but off we go.
I release two of my dogs and within just a few minutes they are on point in thick spruce. I hadn't let the boy carry a loaded gun. No need to with pointing dogs. I offered for him to move in ahead of the dogs and take the shot. He asks if he can load a round, and I let him. He moves forward of my staunchly pointing dogs, asks if it's ok to load one into the chamber. I say sure, go ahead, and then he works the pump, turns to me and says " I got one in the pipe!" I simply nod with a smile and stand and watch. The kid moves forward, the spruce grouse goes up, and the kid drops it like he's been doing it for twenty years! Dog brings me the bird. I hand him his bird. And he says "Maybe I should 'a' rode him out a bit before shootin'?"
Kid took two more birds that day at one of my special places. He did shoot those two birds sitting, but that's just fine.
Now just before hunting birds with me, he'd taken his first Dall ram, a full curl ram, the likes of which I'd love to have hanging on my wall. When I brought him back to his house after our day of hunting, his dad was in the yard and came up to shake my hand and talk. The boy walks over to a pickup and lifts the ram horns up and solemnly reports "This is the ram I got" and then just lets them drop back into the pickup bed. The kid holds up the birds he'd shot to show his dad and with a big smile tells him how great a day it was, and then walks off with the birds and looking back at us over one shoulder says "You fellas can go inside and drink coffee. I'll clean up these birds."
Well dad is beside himself and shaking his head and muttering some colorful language under his breath because his son seems more excited over shooting a few birds than a full curl Dall ram. We head into the house and drink some coffee and when that youngster came in we listened to him talk of his day of hunting over two pointing dogs and how he sure loved it all.
I left before I got my butt kicked by dad.
Take a kid hunting.
[QUOTE=s . ( It will also teach you a few bad habits like drinking bourbon )[/QUOTE]
I didn't know drinking good bourbon was a bad habit.... guess your never too old to learn.../Johnhttp://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/images/smilies/proud.gif
I learn something new every day. Is there really a bad bourbon?
Gene Hill's stories, especially from his Hill Country column in F&S, are my favorite. "Hill Country is neither here nor there. It's the place just over the next rise, the soft pool around the next bend, or that cover you planned to hunt but somehow never did." There's a "neverland" quality to certain hunting spots that evoke so much more than the how-to, where-to stories that seem everywhere now. Thanks, Steve (and Gene Hill), for showing me not just those places, but how to really admire them.
Nice story, Jim -- what a great memory for the three of you.
I'll second the recommendation on Gene Hill's book -- it's a good read. You can pick up a used copy the same place I did for about $5 -- Amazon -- Can't beat it.