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The Grouse and The Snake
When I was seventeen I had been hunting several times with my father. I kept a current hunting license and increased the types of hunts to game birds and deer. I never did go for anything much bigger than a deer. One hunt my father and I partook in was a grouse hunt. We went out with our shotguns to try and get us a grouse. Grouse are notorious for waiting at the last minute before springing out of their hiding spots.
As my dad and I headed towards the creek that runs through our property, shotguns in a low ready state we made a normal amount of noise. There was really no need to be as quiet as possible because of the grouse. I came up to one particular bunch of grass that I thought nothing of. It was just a normal clump of grass in a sea of grass. As I stepped down, right in front of my face a flurry of beating wings sprung out from within the clump of grass. My heart instantly jumped into my throat and took on the pace of a marathon runners. I just about fell backward but caught myself just in time. My dad swung his shotgun and aimed at the grouse, and I, always cognoscente of where my dad was while hunting, also threw up my shotgun and took aim at the grouse.
The both of us shot at that grouse about five times each, it was like a warzone out there and the grouse was the enemy. We both missed each and every shot though. In our excitement we forgot to lead the grouse in its flight. Whatever though, I had my vengeance on it for scaring the living hell out of me.
As my heart settled back to where it is supposed to be we continued on the grouse hunt with five shells each left over. Up the hill and to the fence line we went. Each one of us a little on edge and expecting another grouse to swoop up out of nowhere at any given second. As both of us had pump action shotguns, all five of our rounds were in the breech and in the chamber ready for action. We looked like a couple of warriors expecting enemy contact at any second.
We reached the fence line in short time so we headed along that same fence line hunting for more grouse. Soon afterwards and almost to the end of the quaky trees dad spotted a grouse on the other side of the fence.
“There’s one son.” He said
I raised my shotgun and put the bead at the end of the barrel right over the grouses head. BOOOOMMM!!!
As the recoil brought the shotgun up I pulled back the cocking slide re-chambering another round. I am still thinking about the first grouse we came across and figured that I would need to shoot it at least five times to kill it. As my first nickname implies, I did not need to shoot it anymore and my dad hollered as I was about to decimate that grouse, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, it’s dead!!!”
Sure enough, that grouse was just jumping around on nerves. So we waited for the natural reactions to finish and I hopped over the fence to retrieve it. We got one at least.
That was the only grouse we got on that hunting trip, so I decided that I would go again and again after school until we had enough for a nice family meal.
The Solitary Hunt
A couple of days later I grabbed ten shotgun shells, my shotgun and headed out to hunt for more grouse. I informed my grandma and grandpa that I would be out hunting for grouse, and then took off. I took the same route dad and I took a couple days earlier. I walked with the same trepidation I had on the first hunt, always expecting a grouse to spring up at me in the middle of the hunt. I continued all along the fence line with the same sense of impending fright. I found no grouse at all along the fence line so I decided to continue all the way to the intersecting section of fence. Still I found no grouse and still I was in anticipation of being scared. I crossed the creek, being careful not to fall in again, and made it safely to the other side. As I continued on my hunting trip I climbed the slight rise to get to the trail that ran along the edge of the pine forest near one of the fields.
At this point in time I have become exasperated at not having even seen one grouse so I started to relax. I strolled along the trail with my head hung low not expecting to see anything for the rest of the hunting trip. As I continued along the trail I looked up and a little black coil caught my eye. I thought to myself, “What the heck is that?” then figured it was poop left by a deer or some other type of animal in the forest. Just as I was about to step on the coil it straightened out and slithered off towards the creek.
I jumped straight up in the air, screamed, fired the shotgun, and tried to run while I was still in the air. I ran all the way home and as I ran, four grouse took flight just as I was about to step on them. Each time I almost stepped on one and they flew away from me I screamed a little more. By the time I made it home all my shotgun shells were expended and all my breath was gone. My heart raced for at least half an hour after I got back. That was the last time I hunted for grouse.
Copyright 2009 by Wesley Cox