It is December
and we have the fillip tossed by the Michigan legislature called the December
grouse season. The weather is so foul it is largely a joke except to the
hardiest. I've never seen another hunter in December. But then I rarely see
other grouse hunters in October. The sport doesn't have the popularity of
pheasant or duck hunting. You wonder why, but hesitate to proselytize.
The last day is
frantic and silly. I hunt with Alan Lee, a banjo player, and his German
shorthair with the unlikely name of Moxie. The name should have been a tip-off,
as we spend the afternoon searching for the dog in a snowstorm. Alan finally
puts out his coat for the dog to scent, and we go to a local bar. When we
return we find the coat in the snow with some difficulty. I tease Alan about
the time he missed a grouse sitting in a tree. He's normally a good shot and
insists that he didn't want to spoil the meat by a direct hit. The meat is
still flying around, a warm feathered universe.
In a few hours it
will be New Year's Eve. We drive the seven miles back to Alan's house afraid to
mention the lost dog in the blizzard. But Moxie has a fine sense of direction
and meets us eagerly in the driveway.