There is no doubt in my mind that the most wonderful days in the field have nothing to do with bag limits, fine dog work or expert marksmanship. In fact, my greatest day in the field came while walking without a gun.
My middle son turned 10 in June and was able to hunt on the Idaho Fish and Game Passport Program. You can imagine my relief when he said he wanted to hunt grouse! So off we went.
In my lifetime, Ruffed Grouse numbers in Idaho have never been higher and I knew this was my opportunity to give him the experience we all hope for but rarely experience as a novice hunter, tons of birds and a heavy game bag!
We hunted through “Lose Your Breakfast”, one of my favorite coverts. Lose Your Breakfast is affectionately named for my wife who, after a morning of rough mountain roads, became violently ill at the mouth of a canyon and asked to not drive any farther for a while. So I did what any one in my situation would do, I unloaded the dogs and hunted the canyon. I found birds from the mouth to the headwaters of the canyon and have returned every year since.
This year was no different for the two of us. We located and flushed 15 birds in the short couple miles that we walked and although I spent the time indoctrinating my new partner on the ethics of shooting birds on the wing, this day was special and I made sure he put birds in the bag. At the end of the day he vowed to never shoot a bird off the limb again, since that sort of indiscretion is typically reserved for deer and elk hunters!