By Mark Parman
''There are forms of looking: usual searching, and ruffed-grouse hunting.''—Aldo Leopold, from A Sand County Almanac
Like that prior grouse hunter Aldo Leopold, Mark Parman takes to the woods whilst the aspens are smoky gold. the following, in an evocative almanac that chronicles the early season of the grouse hunt via its result in the snows of January, Parman follows his puppy throughout the altering timber and foliage, thrills to the unexpected flush of thrashing wings, and holds a poultry in hand, grateful for the meal it is going to supply. Distilling twenty seasons of grouse searching into those essays, he writes of outdated canine and gun lust, disguise and transparent slicing, weather swap, partners female and male, flora and fauna artwork, and stumps. A Grouse Hunter’s Almanac delves into the brain of a hunter, exploring the Northwoods with a watch for greater than simply game.
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Additional info for A Grouse Hunter's Almanac: The Other Kind of Hunting
Telling myself to think and not panic, I was about to throw down my coat in the hope that Ox would come across the scent and curl up on it when I heard a faint ding—the scratch of the clapper on the side of the bell. “Ox! ” I tore off in the direction of the sound. Spotting a ﬂash of white, I sprinted through the young popple cutting, as fast as one can run through a maze, toward the white. Ox was pointing a woodcock, maybe ﬁfty yards from where I ﬁred the second time. He’d held it all that time and was still standing there, panting hard and tail hanging low.
Even so, I fully recognize that my feet are ﬁrmly planted in the twenty-ﬁrst century. Hunting dogs come alive in the ﬁeld or the woods, their instincts and spirits awakened in and by the wild, and to deny them this part of their being and such intense and unmitigated pleasure seems unfair. For most of that day, though, I simply missed their presence: the boundless joy, tireless gait, and inbred love of the hunt. Their ﬂowing stride, their rippling thighs, their jingling bells, their happy feet.
While hunting I keep my dogs in focus and in mind, albeit rather obliquely much of the time, their noses substituting for my nose, their noses “seeing” the landscape and the birds therein. They are the text I read when I hunt, the translators of the woods, the link between the bird and me. Half wild and half domestic, they connect domestic man with a wild bird in wild land, listening to the Dogless 25 voice of their master and yet pulled toward that more ancient world from which they once rose.
A Grouse Hunter's Almanac: The Other Kind of Hunting by Mark Parman