Thursday, October 29, 2009


Early this fall, my good friend Shawn Wayment sent me the book "UPLAND AUTUMN" by William G. Tapply. It's a collection of entertaining short stories about New England Grouse Hunting. Most nights when I'm here alone (and when Lizzie is here too) before turning off the light for the night, I'll read a story or two. After yesterday's poor shooting, Lu was sulking and I was feeling bad. How could I have missed 4 birds flushed in front of perfectly handled points. Now I know. Last nights story was "HOW TO MISS A FLYING GROUSE". Mr. Tappley says he looked over 45 years of his hunting journals and confirmed it by studying the journals of others that "Over the long haul, you'll shoot one out of every twelve grouse you encounter and there's nothing you can do about it". So he suggests, the real question is how do you handle the eleven birds you missed! "What grouse hunters really need is a repertoire of explanations and alibi's to account for a 92 percent rate of failure" and "so as a service to grouse hunters old and young, I've scoured my journals and consulted my partners and other expert grouse missers and compiled a compendium of excuses which, I am confident, any grouse hunter can adopt to his needs". So you see Lu, those four misses were not really my fault. On the first I pulled up because I thought I saw hunter orange out in front of the bird. On the second I accidently had put in a "popper" training load instead of a #8, on the third my safety stuck momentarily as I had forgotten to oil it and on the fourth I knew he was too far away but I shot anyway. Thank you William Tappley and thank you Shawn.


Andrew M. Wayment said...


Hope you enjoy Bill Tapply's book. When pursuing the trickiest thing in feathers, a good stash of excuses is a must! Glad you and Lu are friends again.


Andrew Campbell said...

That's awesome.. and if Tapply is right, then strangely reassuring too!

all best

Craig Peters Warrens, WI 443-206-1091 said...

The real qeustion is; "how or where do you find 48 grouse in one day so you can get your 4 bird limit?"

Shawn K. Wayment, DVM said...

Dale...You're most welcome for the book! I loved it too! I'm very saddened by Bill's death!

Trevor said...

Dale, a couple of thoughts / comments. First, in regards to this post, I have found that by conveniently not carrying a gun, instead just handling the dogs, and enlisting someone else to do the shooting, has greatly increased my success in not missing birds.

Secondly, I wanted to let you know that I recently discovered your blog site, via the “Living With Birddogs” site, and just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed it.

Finally, I thought I would mention that I will be coming up to the Northwoods with my 17 month old GSP this Thursday and staying through the weekend, hoping to introduce him to Mr. Grouse. A friend of mine has a place on the Holy Waters, so we will be exploring the surrounding area. I have spent many days fishing the various branches of the Ausable, but few hunting, and never with my own pup. Any thoughts on areas that would be good to introduce a young dog to grouse. Thanks.

Dale Hernden said...

Trevor, you did not give me any way to reach you. Email me at or call LoBank at 989-344-0801 or my cell at 989-798-6652.

Dale Hernden said...
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