Ever wonder what happens when you miss a straight-away shot at a grouse? I swear, once they realize the pellets are passing them without inflicting damage, some of them get cocky.
You might think I’m crazy; …just an old guy who spent too much time in the woods and is slowly becoming what he’s hunting. But I swear, some of the more wily birds intentionally give you another chance – believing that such a bad shot, they’re safe …no matter how many times they let you flush them.
Maybe the best example is the hunt along the Manistee when Seamus got as antsy as I’ve ever seen him get; he actually whimpered as he closed in on the source of the scent. Finally, stopping on point, I walked in and two birds, first one, then the other, grabbed air and cackled all the way skyward. The first was a straight-away shot, the second veered off left. Both got away clean and, I swear, Seamus let out with a low growl when neither bird dropped despite two shots being fired.
On we went in almost a straight line, Seamus came on point again about 75 yards from where he pointed the first bird. Same thing; Seamus went on point, I walked in and the bird took off straight away…another growl from Seamus.
This recapped three times; each time with the same outcome. Finally, I must have worn the bird down because a half hour later, Seamus went on point again and the bird sat there so long (I think he was exhausted) I almost stepped on him when I walked in for the flush. I was so close to the bird when he flushed, I waited for him to put a little distance between us so, if I did hit him, I wouldn’t clean him at the same time. The funny thing was, I swear I heard him laugh as he flew away…..grrrrrr!