Saturday, December 31, 2005

A New Year's Eve hunting poem


All that day we banged at geese
from a blind at the top
of the bluff. Busted one flock
after the other, until our gun barrels
grew hot to the touch. Geese
filled the cold, grey air. But we still
didn't kill our limits.
The wind driving our shot
every whichway. Late afternoon,
and we had four. Two shy
of our limits. Thirst drove us
off the bluff and down a dirt road
alongside the river.

To an evil-looking farm
surrounded by dead fields of
barley. Where, almost evening,
a man with patches of skin
gone from his hands let us dip water
from a bucket on his porch.
Then asked if we wanted to see
something -- a Canada goose he kept
alive in a barrel beside
the barn. The barrel covered over
with screen wire, rigged inside
like a little cell. He'd broken
the bird's wing with a long shot,
he said, then chased it down
and stuffed it in the barrel.
He'd had a brainstorm!
He'd use that goose as a live decoy.

In time it turned out to be
the damnedest thing he'd ever seen.
It would bring other geese
right down on your head.
So close you could almost touch them
before you killed them.
This man, he never wanted for geese.
And for this his goose was given
all the corn and barley
it could eat, and a barrel
to live in, and shit in.

I took a good long look and,
unmoving, the goose looked back.
Only its eyes telling me
it was alive. Then we left,
my friend and I. Still
willing to kill anything
that moved, anything that rose
over our sights. I don't
recall if we got anything else
that day. I doubt it.
It was almost dark anyhow.
No matter, now. But for years
and years afterwards, I
didn't forget that goose.
I set it apart from all the others,
living and dead. Came to understand
one can get used to anything,
and become a stranger to nothing.
Saw that betrayal is just another word
for loss, for hunger.

--Raymond Carver, Ultramarine (1986)

Ode to a fallen goose . . .

Tragedy in the Snow

by Agnes Eva

snow was falling
when the goose
found his mate
just after the gunshot
resounded in the ice-coloured sky
he stood beside her frozen wings

with wrath he quacked
spittle flying from his beak
but all around him
the unkind snowflakes fell
each unique as each blood droplet
blasted from his lover’s down

panting and footfalls
soon heralded
the hunter-murderers’ approach
with one last glossy glance
of rueful beady eye
the survivor trudged away


Posted on 03/26/2003
Copyright © 2005 Agnes Eva

Friday, December 30, 2005

"Phenomenal goose season, best in my short career"

Apparently Keith hasn't been able to get his wireless connection to work this week out in the back fields. But he has managed to get the word out via sporadic and cryptic messages written in charcoal on birch bark that he is presently having the time of his life hunting Branta canadensis.

Although we can't get news to him, he can still get news to us. So stay tuned here for continued updates on the short happy goose hunting season of Keith "Francis Macomber" Tidball.

Homage to Path Walker, Part Trois

Here's my favorite recipe for jellied moose nose. Enjoy.

Jellied Moose Nose

1 upper jawbone of a moose
1 tsp. salt
1 onion, sliced
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup vinegar
1 Tbs. mixed pickling spice

Cut the upper jaw bone of the moose just below the eyes. Place in a large kettle of scalding water and boil for 45 minutes. Remove and chill in cold water.

Pull out all the hairs - these will have been loosened by the boiling and should come out easily (like plucking a duck). Wash thoroughly until no hairs remain.

Place the nose in a kettle and cover with fresh water. Add onion, garlic, spices and vinegar Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the meat is tender. Let cool overnight in the liquid.

When cool, take the meat out of the broth, and remove and discard the bones and the cartilage. You will have two kinds of meat, white meat from the bulb of the nose, and thin strips of dark meat from along the bones and jowls.

Slice the meat thinly and alternate layers of white and dark meat in a loaf pan.

Reheat the broth to boiling, then pour the broth over the meat in the loaf pan.

Let cool until jelly has set. Slice and serve cold.

courtesy of

Homage to Path Walker, Part Deux

Here's another image of the hardworking federal employee at work. In this image we see our path walking hero burning the midnight whale oil after a long day's tramp in the grouse woods. I believe this photo is from the Maine camp 2003 archives.

Homage to Path Walker

Andrew, glad to see you here, and what a fine Winchell-errific first contribution! the first of many we hope.

Here's a photo just yanked from the dusty archives, it shows a solitary Path Walker doing what he does best: taking the easy road while the dogge is off-camera beating the bush, finding the birds, etc etc. You can't see the birds in PW's game vest here, but be assured he's always just one bird shy of a limit . . . . :-)


The Whisper of Wind Through the Marsh Grass (More shells!!)

check out what Josh does for a living (wicked good job!):

Federal Duck Stamps – The Thoughtful Yuletide Gift

News Releases Home Page
Search the News ReleasesU.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Home

Joshua Winchell (202) 219-7499
In your search for a last-minute stocking stuffer, look to the Federal Duck Stamp as a unique, no compromise gift that truly encompasses the Christmas spirit. And, you can get them at the Post Office when you go to mail your other gifts.
Here are 10 reasons why the Federal Duck Stamp is the perfect holiday gift. A Duck Stamp is:
· Food and Shelter for the Needy - The lands purchased with Federal Duck Stamp revenue provide the necessary habitat for ducks, geese and other wildlife. While partridges and turtledoves might not necessarily frequent wetlands secured with your Duck Stamp purchase, it's nice to know they could do so in a pinch.
· An Investment for the Next Generation - If you wish to help ensure a place for our nation?s children to watch birds, hunt, hike and spend quality time outdoors, giving duck stamps is a wise investment.
· A Ticket to Adventure - The stamp provides its owner free admission to any National Wildlife Refuge open to the public that normally charges an entrance fee. The stamp is also required for waterfowl hunting.
· Inexpensive - The $15 gift category is littered with trivial, throw-away contrivances. The Duck Stamp rises above them all.
· Collectible - Stamp collecting is an exciting "Hobby of the Future" according to many "philatelists" (stamp enthusiasts).
· Money Not Wasted - You can take pride in the fact that 98 cents of every dollar of the Duck Stamp program revenue goes directly to purchasing wetland habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
· Easy to Buy - You can pick them up at your local post office, through the mail, even online. See below for details.
· Easy to Carry - Fruitcakes, while resilient, cannot be carried in your back pocket. The Duck Stamp is eminently portable.
· Easy to Wrap - If you buy enough of them, you can even plaster the self-adhesive version all over a gift box for a quick and unique festive wrap.
· Joy - The joy of doing good for people and the outdoor world they love. The joy of spreading holiday music - the honk of geese, the trill of blackbirds, the whisper of wind through the marsh-grass.
Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as "Ducks Stamps," are pictorial stamps produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and sold by the U.S. Postal Service. They are not valid for postage. Originally created in 1934 as the federal licenses required for hunting migratory waterfowl, Federal Duck Stamps have a much larger purpose today. Federal Duck Stamps are a vital tool for wetland conservation.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. Visit
Buy Federal Duck Stamps from the following vendors:
- Select Post Office Locations: Call your local post office to check Duck Stamp availability. - Duck Stamps can also be purchased at most major sporting goods stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses. - Amplex Corporation (the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distributor) Phone: 1-800-852-4897 Online: - United States Postal Service Phone: 1-800 STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724) Online:
For information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Welcome, Safari Jim

Good to have you as a contributor. I look forward to your pitching in.

Black and tan dogs rule,

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A recipe for coot.

You never know what you'll find. I thought I'd locate a coot recipe for Luke, but encountered this exchange instead on the Avery bulletin board. Picture perfect! Now who's going to play "jamesmc?" How about "WaterfowlMan06?" I'd say Tidball is a shoe in for "JayGunn," if that's his real name...

Author Topic: Coot recipe. jamesmc, posted November 17, 2005 08:30 PM
If you ever want to try coot, here is a GREAT recipe. Fillet the coot breast and marinade in your favorite sauce. Pre-heat your oven to 350. Place your marinaded coot breast onto a hickory slab and place into the oven. Cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and take the coot off the hickory board. THROW AWAY THE COOT AND EAT THE HICKORY BOARD!!!
Posts: 89 From: Madisonville Ky. WaterfowlMan06, posted November 17, 2005 09:06 PM
kinda a dumb question but whats hickory board?
Aim Small (+) Miss Small

Posts: 53 From: Marion Iowa. jamesmc, posted November 18, 2005 09:00 PM
Just a board cut from a hickory tree.
Posts: 89 From: Madisonville Ky.WaterfowlMan06, posted November 20, 2005 03:25 PM
so you eat wood? yummy?
Aim Small (+) Miss Small

Posts: 53 From: Marion Iowa. jamesmc, posted November 27, 2005 09:42 PM
It was a joke. coot tastes like crap from what I am told. I was meaning that the hickory board would be better tasting than the coot.
Posts: 89 From: Madisonville Ky. Dan, posted November 28, 2005 04:11 AM
I'll give my friend the recipe. Him and some of his friends shot 935 this sunday.
Posts: 24 From: Denmark. Gascrewgunn, posted November 29, 2005 09:25 PM
Easy boys...the lowly coot takes a little getting use to but if...and I said if...they are killed aff a place that has plenty of good grass for them to eat they ain't all that bad-kind of tasty in fact. Filet the coot and do the same thing to it you do ducks on the grill and eat it hot and you honestly can't tell the difference...if it wasn't killed in a mudhole!
Jay Gunn , Gaston Custom Calls, Avery Pro-Staff

Luck is where preparation and opportunity meet...

For Sale: Pointing Lab, $25.

For those of you who know the great Path Walker (aka Andy Weik), you may be surprised to see that he's "branching out" from his passion for breeding and training (is that what you call it?) English Setters. Here is a remarkable 4 bird point by Baxter, Andy's wife's dog. Note that the grouse (foreground, almost in line with Baxter's "pointer") are holding perfectly. The small fir was inserted using fancy, digital trickery to make this photo suitable to young viewers. (Kleinman archives, c. 2003).

Another ancient hunting photo from the archives

Evidence that life exists after baldness sets in.
The philospher who has oh so much time on his hands and his family. Undated.

What the Tantillo kids would prefer for Christmas

Jim's daughter shows great taste in hunting dogs
(c. 1999)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Second Season is Upon Us!

Well lads, the late duck season has begun, and already Tidball is piling up the carcasses on his side porch. Here he is paddling in from Lake Cayuga late today with his limit! Keith, we'll be expecting daily reports.

What Did Santa Bring You?

Santa was very good to us this year. He brought the kids a dehydrator and jerky maker, and Mommy got a new Bradley electric smoker that she really really likes. We christened the smoker with some smoked pork tenderloin last night after its initial seasoning--turned out terrric. Here we come, venison summer sausage!

Santa was kind to me as well: I got a copy of Charles Fergus's A Hunter's Book of Days and a new game cookbook, The Game Cookbook by Clarissa Dickson Wright and Johnny Scott. Grousers will enjoy the cookbook as it is illustrated throughout with classic sporting art and historic photos--truly my kind of cookbook.

We had a great Christmas, hope yours was happy as well!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Good luck tonight!

It only comes once a year, and the season is only one day long. Be safe out there.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Official Maine Dept. of Fish and Game Coot Stew

This originally came from the 1978 Maine Div. of Fish and Game Maine Recipes Cookbook. Now it's reprinted (as Judy Marsh's Coot Stew) in the Duck and Goose Cookbook by A.D. Livingston (Stackpole 1997). I like to call it, the

Official Maine Dept. of Fish and Game Coot Stew

"several" coots
1 quart water
1 quart tomatoes
1/4 lb. butter
5 egg-size onions
5 carrots, chopped
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons wine
2 to 4 beef bouillon cubes
bay leaf
1 heaping tsp. marjoram
salt and pepper

Put all ingredients except coots, butter, and flour in pot. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer. As pot heats up breast coots, cutting meat into bite-sized pieces. Shake coot pieces in bag with flour; then brown them in sautee pan in butter. Add coot to pot. Add water to sautee pan to make gravy. Pour gravy into pot. Cover pot, reduce heat to very low simmer, and cook for two hours.
Note: any meat can be substituted for the coot. Try any sea ducks--trim all fat, and marinade in water and baking soda.

More from Luke...

Please post Coot recipes...I'm not kidding.

Merry Christmas to the Ducker Hunters...


There comes a time in a dog's life when it graduates from puppy to adult. Sometimes its a true spectacle, othertimes it's, well, ok. Here's Cody's rite of passage.

The pictures were taken in 2000 at one of Cornell's Mount Pleasant irrigation ponds.

Kelly, Kendall, Clayton and Pete
Merry Christmas from the Kleinman Family

Pete's Woody

...Another pic from the archives. This one goes back to the days when the Beretta was still held in high esteem.

Happy Holidays from the Five Smart Guys and Mr. Mike

The five smart guys and Mr. Mike have been pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response to our blog in its first week of existence. Now it's time for us to give something back to the web community. From all of us to all of you, "Happy Holidays." May your grouse be tame, may your bucks be big, and may your POAS fly strong.

Moreover, may your decoys float, may your robo batteries last, and may your woodcock drop into your coverts during the legal season.

May your pointers point, your retrievers retrieve, and may your spaniels, er, uh, span.

Have a great holiday.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This is this. This ain't somethin' else. This is this!

Christopher Walken for President 2008!

Check it out at

"Our great country is in a terrible downward spiral. We're outsourcing jobs, bankrupting social security, and losing lives at war. We need to focus on what's important-- paying attention to our children, our citizens, our future. We need to think about improving our failing educational system, making better use of our resources, and helping to promote a stable, safe, and tolerant global society. It's time to be smart about our politics. It's time to get America back on track."

The Official Homepage of the Walken 2008 Campaign

Let's Have Some Fun: You Provide the Caption

Hey lads,
Let's experiment with what I'd like to call, an "interactive feature." :-) I provide the photo, and you all provide a caption and/or description of what's going on.

I'll start:

(1) "This is a picture of Keith trying to stay tuned up in between the first and second duck seasons."

Where's Weik Been? or, Where's Weik's Bin?

I know what Weik is up to . . . now that huntin' and fishin' season is over, he's got his head in the skull bin preparing specimens for science. After all, we all know "Everyone should have a skull bin."

Ah, an oldie but a goodie. Weik, if you're alive out there, nod yer head.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Winter Grouse

Well lads, as promised I hit the woods this afternoon. Temp was about 26 deg F, 10-15 mph wind out of the west southwest, and I wore my L.L. Bean air force sweater (the tattered one) under my Browning oil cloth bird coat. Light snow fell throughout the afternoon's hunt.

Kate and I reached the woods by about 3:30 pm. It's a covert you've all been to at one time or another. One of the "old familiars" . . . .

Katie and I started in north along a wood road, then turned west when she caught the wind into the woods. I followed her as she made her way through hawthorn, brambles, and snowed under goldenrod. It was tough slogging for someone who hasn't chased grouse in over a month, with snow up to my knees in places, and before long I had worked up a pretty good sweat following along behind her.

We made our way through one hawthorny patch after another, basically working south into the wind. Pretty soon she turned and worked a good stretch uphill and westward. At the top of the hill, out of breath, I paused, as she continued to nose around under the brambles. Wrrrrrrrr. A grouse flushed from a pine right in front of me. I never saw it, and I called to Kate to follow it up.

We never located that bird, and we continued working south through the covert until we reached a long swale that divides the covert in half. We made our way down along the edge of the swale, across another wood road, and continued down hill into the wind. This is a largish patch that has yielded birds in previous years, and it was now getting close to the grouse bewitching hour, when all grouse who know their business are out stoking theirs furnaces for that long winter's night ahead.

Katie reached a spot where there is a wet low area filled with cattails and alders, and I worked around the edge of it on the high ground. As she worked through the alders, I came around a bend in the deer trail I was on, and wrrrrrr, a grouse got up out of a bush not ten feet from me. But it seemed to be struggling to get up and out of the bush! Damn. I fumbled for the front trigger and managed to get a shot off while the bird was still only about fifteen feet away--and clearly I missed. DAMN. I sat there for what seemed an eternity, fumbling in my gloved fingers for the second trigger. Precious nanoseconds were ticking away, and the bird was completely in range and out in the open the whole time. Finally I had it: BANG, with the second trigger. At the sound of the second shot, a second bird flew left to right across my field of vision and followed the first bird into the hardwoods, as if to add insult to injury. I had missed the second shot as well.

Damn. "That was an awfully nice look at a grouse," thought I. Might not see another one like that for awhile. At the sound of the shots, Katie came over to see what was up, and she froze at the bush where the first grouse had flushed from. I walked in on her point on the outside chance there was another bird in the vicinity, but there wasn't; and then we spent some time following up the two birds in the hardwoods, but to no avail.

Undaunted, we continued on. I made sure to take my right glove off, however, so that if I got another opportunity to shoot, I wouldn't muff it quite so badly.

It was getting close to 4:30, so we turned around and began working our way northward and out of the covert, basically against the wind. It's been my experience that when working against the wind, it takes a bit longer for Katie to figure out where a bird might be, so I gave her plenty of room. Slowly we worked uphill and then crossed another gully into a small patch that in the past has generally held birds--although it doesn't hold birds every year, and it didn't last year.

As soon as we crossed the gully, Katie froze. I worked my way upwind around her, and nothing. She relocated, and worked frantically in the hawthorn along the edge of the gully. I plunged into the patch she was working, and again she froze. WRRRRRRRRRR. A grouse got up from just ahead of me and took off straightaway. I fired twice at its departing rump and missed it cleanly with both shots. Damn. I reloaded as Katie now proceeded cautiously uphill along the edge of the gully. I walked off to the side of her parallel to the gully, and again she froze, trying to figure out where the bird was or had been. I walked cautiously in front of her, and wrrrrrrrr. This bird was closer to me than the other one had been, and wrrrrrrrrrrr, a second bird went up nearly simultaneously to my left from just in front of Katie! BANG, and . . . BANG. I shot at the first bird going straightaway with the right barrel, then turned and shot at the second bird which offered, miraculously, a beautiful left to right shot as it flew behind its partner.

I wasn't sure if I hit either. Hurriedly I reloaded, and Kate relocated, then froze again. WrrrrrrrrrWrrrrrrrrr. Two more birds got up from in front of her from down in the gully. BANG! I took one more shot at the nearer of the two before they both disappeared behind some tall pines.

Wow. Five birds in about a minute's time, four of them within thirty seconds. I took a couple of steps in the direction of the first two birds I shot at, and lo and behold . . . I heard that gratifying flutter of wings on the ground. Katie heard it too, and came over just as I spotted the bird on the ground. From where it lie I judged that it was the second of the first pair that flushed together. Katie caught it on the ground, and I had my first Hector grouse of the year!

Hurriedly I pocketed the bird, and then we followed up the closer shot I had taken on the bird in the second pair from the gully, but with no luck. With darkness closing in, we then went into the hardwoods to followup where those first birds had retreated. Dimly in the back of my mind was the thought that if we found a second dead bird it quite possibly would represent the first double of my life--but sadly it was not meant to be. Katie worked the area for a good ten more minutes, and nothing.

But I was still happy. Seven birds flushed in an hour and a half of hunting, five of which had clearly been worked and pointed by Katie, and I had killed one. Those last five birds had all been within about a forty yard circle of each other, and it was the hottest couple of minutes I had seen in one of my home coverts in a couple of years.

And, despite what the spaniel-loving nattering nabobs of negativity say, to wit,
Nice big running setter, pinning the bird good because there's no gunner in sight. If a grouse flies in the woods, or even does a drunken walk as previously posted, and there is no gunner there to shoot it, is it still dinner?
This afternoon I had five completely shootable birds go up before my mighty setter's points. :-)

Grouse. It's what's for dinner.

Think I'll Take a Walk

well boys, I'm thinking I may take the wispy haired pokey dot dogge out for a spin this afternoon. Keep up the good work.

What They're Eating at Tantillo's

Moosewood's Big-Ass Buck Lasagna

That's right, this is the venison lasagna they serve at the Moosewood--or would serve, that is, if the Moosewood served meat.

1 lb. ground venison
4-5 cups spagetti sauce (about one and a half 28 oz. jars of the commercial stuff--I like my lasagna saucy! just like my wom. . . er, lasagna)
extra oregano, red pepper flakes, pepper, if you need to jazz up your Ragu
1 lb. package lasagna
4 cups (2 lbs) ricotta cheese
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzaarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
4 eggs
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Brown the venison from your big-ass buck in a large saucepan; add sauce and extra spices and simmer 10 minutes. Cook pasta per directions on package. In large mixing bowl combine cheeses, egg, parsley, salt, and pepper for filling. Pour 1/2 cup meat sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 lasagna pan. Arrange 4 pieces of pasta lengthwise over sauce, overlap the edges. Spread approx. 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the pasta and cover with approx. 1 cup of meat sauce. Repeat layers of pasta, cheese, and sauce twice. Top with layer of pasta and remaining meat sauce; sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese if desired. Cover with aluminum foil; bake at 350 deg. F about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. (I like my lasagna hot and bubbly! just like my wom. . . er, lasagna.) Remove foil and bake 10 or so minutes longer until lightly browned. Allow to stand 10 minutes before cutting. 10-12 servings.

"So that's my take on THAT picture"

Exactly! This painting, otoh, just thrums with the energy of the cockers as they flush the woodcock. Hmmm, thass what I'm talking about.

Giving credit where it's due, some of my friends have setters which flush just as merrily, but usually farther away.

Another long lost photo from Pete's Black Lake hunt

Hey lads,
Last night I spent a considerable amount of time padding about the dusty archives in my robe and slippers, piecing together a photographic record of our group's various exploits. You can look forward to seeing more of my discoveries in the weeks to come.

This photo is of Pete, Keith, Mike O, and Little Billy returning from their duck opener up at Black Lake. Keith's boat has broken down, so our heroes have had to borrow the S.S. Ankle Deep. As you can see from the photo, everyone got his limit except Pete. heh heh

The owner of the skiff and his young son seem to be taking it all in, while Pete and Keith are both striking in their white fedoras--Keith especially.

later boys.

Accepted, Finally

At last, my first post.
Did I tell you boys that I
shot a grouse last week?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

All too typical response from pointy dogger

Did the birds fly after the pointy dogger missed them on the ground and shot his wispy, or did they fly and surprise pointy dogger into shooting his wispy? As we have wondered in ethical circles, "Does it matter to the dog?"

BTW, would Keith approve of pointy dogger's attire for dog shooting?

Tragic Pleasure, Tragic Wisdom

Last one for now: Winslow Homer's Right and Left.

From the National Gallery of Art :

Homer painted less frequently in the last decade of his life. The paintings he did produce, deepened by intimations of mortality, include some of the most complex pictures of his career.

Right and Left, one of Homer's last paintings, is at once a sporting picture and a tragic reflection on life and death. The title refers to the act of shooting the ducks successivelly with separate barrels of a shotgun. The red flash and billowing gray smoke barely visible at the middle left indicate that a hunter has just fired at the pair of goldeneye ducks. The picture captures the moment but leaves important questions unresolved. Has the rifle hit its mark? If so, does the downward plunge of the bird on the right indicate that it has been hit, or is it diving to escape? The duck on the left seems frozen, but that stasis does not necessarily reveal its physical condition. And consider the precarious position in which Homer has placed the viewer, observing the scene while apparently hovering in mid-air, at one with the threatened creatures—and directly in the path of the oncoming shotgun blast. With its ambiguous message, unconventional point of view, and diverse sources of inspiration ranging from Japanese art to popular hunting imagery, this painting summarizes the creative complexity of Homer's late style.

Although Winslow Homer avoided any discussion of the meaning of his art, the progression of his creative life attests to the presence of a rigorous, principled mind. Continuously refining his artistic efforts, Homer created work that was not only powerful in aesthetic terms but also movingly profound. Acclaimed at his death for his extraordinary achievements, Homer remains today among the most respected and admired figures in the history of American art.

There you have it . . . .

And while we're on hunting art . . .

How about Winslow Homer? I've got a couple in mind, here's Hound and Hunter. From the description at the Artchive :
His Adirondack paintings have the astringent completeness of the Michigan woods in early Hemingway. Perhaps no painting has ever conveyed a hunter's anxiety better than Hound and Hunter, with its flustered boy in the dinghy trying to get a rope on a shot stag's antlers before its corpse sinks, lurching to and fro in a cave of forest darkness and disturbed silver ripples.
Off topic question: Would a deer's corpse sink? I thought I remember Heberlein telling us about the deer that dropped in the Iron River--it floated, no?

While we're looking at sporting dog art . . .

Here's one for Keith, and with a Cornell connection for all the rest of you "smart guys"--Louis Agassiz Fuertes's painting of a Chessy with some ducks thrown in for the bloodthirsty among you.

Biog info from the New York State Museum at :
Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927), was born and worked most of his life in Ithaca, NY. By the time he was eight he was already deeply interested in observing and drawing birds. An important part of his inspiration came from the work of John James Audubon whose Birds of America he pored over at the Ithaca Public Library. By the time he graduated from Cornell University, he had already begun publishing his illustrations. His first commission was from Elliott Coues of the Smithsonian Institution, leading ornithologist of the day. This quickly launched him into a very active career. He became the first person to make a successful living exclusively as bird artist. Just as Audubon influenced every bird painter since the early 1800s by "drawing from life", Fuertes added to the tradition by presenting birds not only accurately, but also capturing their natural and behavioral characteristics. The extent of his influence is summed up by Roger Tory Peterson, the most famous and influential bird artist of more recent times. "We can accurately say that there is a "Fuertes School" of bird painting even to this day, more than four decades after his death. Nearly all American bird artists have been influenced to some extent by the bird portraiture of Fuertes".
It's kind of fun thinking that this portrait was painted right on good ole' Lake Cayuga. And needless to say, I'm sure we can all agree on the vast superiority of the Chessy over other retrieving breeds in such big water situations . . . .

Side note: I believe that Fuertes painted a large number of different dog breeds as illustrations for a book about dogs. If I figure that out later I'll post the book title and publishing info.

Yeah, well . . . can your dogge do this?

I searched high and low on the internet for a velvet painting of a cocker spaniel. These collector's items must not have a very long shelf life.

Anyway, I don't care what ANYONE says about how joyful and triumphant it is to hunt over a Merry Cocker. Even the run-of-the-mill setter can basically work a bird as shown above. Then it's all up to the nut behind the buttplate. :-) and no strings attached.

Aesthetic Preference, or Painters as Lazy as Hunters?

There is no lack of "art" depicting some poor bird being pointed just moments before the dog's owner whacks it - the bird - on the ground (Parkers were made with so much "drop" in the stock for this very purpose. Trust me). The bird is motionless, and so is the dog, allegedly.

This scene copies well onto canvas or, for that matter, an ancient cave wall in Germany. Setter owners in particular, known for their aesthetic flabbiness, eagerly accept the glut of such art - frequently available under gaily colored pennants in "close out" sales on street corners near gas stations - as "proof" that their aesthetic preference is superior. This static serenity, however, is the antithesis of the challenge of hitting moving targets; i. e., "wingshooting," as in a bird "on the wing."

It's sad that sporting artists don't really understand this vital aspect of their work. The attached photo of a cocker spaniel at least puts the bird in the air; but both dog and bird are frozen in a 1/1000 second shutter speed photo - cheap eye candy to connoisseurs of both hunting and art such as the typical spaniel owner.

What is needed is renewed investigation of Duchamp's approach in Nude Descending a Staircase. Show us the merry motion, and leave the pot shotting to the aesthetically challenged.

Searching for magic treasure

Like other careworn and busy academics (Rich), I too have spent the last few days reading through countless mind-numbingly repetitive essays on the topic of . . . ethics. If you're a rural sociologist, your mileage may vary.

One of the unique things about this year's crop of crap, er, I mean "undergraduate writing" is that I had students read one of my own papers for a change. First time ever. And I'm not proud of it. :-)

But lo and behold, when, upon the T.A.'s insistence, I asked them to explain "tragic wisdom" on the final exam, students actually came up with some good responses! and that actually demonstrated to me that they learned something! Imagine that.

Anyway, longstanding members of the grouse gab group may recall my inflicting the "search for tragic pleasure" paper on them several years ago--students this semester actually seemed to get something out of it.

How smart can I be, living in DeeCee?

Aldo rolls in grave.
Mallards on Reflecting Pool
Are not quite sporting.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Zen of Mossy Oak

Cabin Boy sporting
chaos killing kimono
Zen of Mossy Oak

Black Lake 2004

Photo: Peter Kleinman

Find the cocker spaniel in this picture . . .

It just can't be done.

Which just goes to show you, Mr. Mike, that, even though your chick may get the pup, this hunter is definitely going to get the bird.

And as everyone knows . . . a bird in the hand is worth two in bush.

That's Just Flat Out Wrong

If you say so, Jim.
This chick digs a guy with an
English Cocker pup.

The One, True, Correct Way to Hunt Grouse

forget labradors
setters with choke bored noses
are the way to go

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Hint from Heloise . . .

Never, ever attempt to hit a road grouse directly with your vehicle.

Instead, quietly pull ahead of the bird and park on the side of the road. Exit the vehicle and carefully obeying state and local laws, you should attempt to sluice the bird in the air or on the ground in a legal manner.

This driver's hunt was ruined because he failed to engage in "fair chase."

re: Stedfast Shooting

Vicar almost had
a five bird limit once but
missed one on a branch

Stedfast Shooting

Sure the Vicar missed.
When has he ever shot one
Not in a pear tree?

Whose dogge this is I think I know . . .

Stopping By Woods On a Grousy Evening

Whose dogge this is I think I know.
His owner lives in Buffalo;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his dogge run to and fro.
My little Kate must think it queer
To hunt without a setter near
Between the woods and marshy brake
The grousiest evening of the year.
She gives her wispy head a shake
To ask if there is some mistake
The only other sound's the beep
Of Sonic collar that does not slake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have grouse and cock to reap,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The Vicar of State College

There was a young grouser named Richie
Whose trigger finger on point was so itchy
He walked in on a bird
A great boom could be heard
And when he missed he was ever so bitchy

Hey, I Hunt

Jim, you ignorant
slut. Who died and left you boss?
Thanks for the invite.

Double Black

Double Black is where
there is gold at the end of
the hunters rainbow.

The morning after . . .

Well, I created this blog last night per Tidball's request, and after waking up this morning and drinking my coffee, I find that the world has not changed much so far as a result. As far as I can tell, the blog has yet to expand my sphere of influence on all matters pertaining to everything. Oh well. We'll give it time.

The five smart guys who hunt may be wondering just who the "five guys" are, and who of us has been left out. Mr. Mike suggested the title of the blog, so I'm just following his lead. Good going, Miguel. The fact that there are more than five of us just adds to the mystery of the thing as I see it. Kind of like Russian roulette--which one of us is the empty chamber today? heh heh

Friday, December 16, 2005

The highlight of the day . . .

Well, I'd have to say the most fun I had today was reading the marriage counseling advice offered by duck hunters at

woman trouble in regards to hunting

Need some advice from fellow hunters:
My girlfriend of 4 years is just starting to ride my ass hard in regards to hunting. I only see her on weekends and that is also my only chance to hunt. She will be moving up with me soon, but I wonder what might happen next year? Any experiences with women as far as griping on their hunter men? Do I just adjust to make her happy or look for another one? She isn't totally against it, she just doesn't understand my love for it (or the outdoors in general) and wants me to find a happy medium between being with her and being in the woods. She has been pretty good about it until a slight breakdown this year. You guys know what an obsession hunting can be, and I am totally in love with it and with her.

Jim here: the responses have to be seen to be believed!

Keith, I hope you're satisfied

blogging? a new thing
now sign the other guys up
let's see if it works