Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Woodcock with Two Oldtimers

 Emma developed a limp after our last hunt so I decided to take Copper for a short hunt. She's 9 years old with bad hips and is losing her hearing but last year she showed me she could still handle a grouse with some dog work that I'll remember for a long time. I also pulled the Husky Model 44 from the gunsafe for her maiden hunt into my coverts.

Copper happy to be out and about.
We hunted some clearcut strips where Emma and I had moved some grouse on a previous hunt. The grouse were still there but they proved to be too smart for us with several wild flushes and Copper bumping one. We worked our way through some open aspen cover filled with goldenrod and bordering large spruce trees.

It was there that Copper went into a low crouching point that said WOODCOCK. I moved in with the old 44's hammers back but the point proved to be empty. Copper was certain a bird was there and began to trail through the goldenrod. 30 feet later she pointed again and this time she had it. As I moved in the woodcock sprang into the air, I dropped the right hammer on the old 44 and the bird dropped like a stone. The Husqvarna Model 44 with her first american woodcock.
I couldn't help but reflect back on who might have hunted with this old beauty of a gun and what type a game dropped to her shot back in her homeland 130 odd years ago when she was new. To take a bird with the first shot from her made me very proud and I felt privileged to be able to hunt with this old gun and know that with the proper care she would be taking game 130 years from today. The thrill of shots made, the beauty of forgotten coverts from the past, what tales these old guns could tell if only they could.

As I wander these Allegheny Mountains that I love I'm always taken by the beauty of a moss covered log or a lichen covered rock and sometimes I encounter something that is a complete mystery to me. Here are some pics of that days mystery.
A few pics placed on the internet and I had my answer. It's a porcupine den. I saw my first porky in the woods less than 10 years ago when Copper half-heartedly pointed one in a blowdown. Now I see several each season. My dogs ignore them so I let them continue they journey through the coverts. 

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