Thursday, October 29, 2009
LU FORGAVE ME ONCE I EXPLAINED IT
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.