A bronze banded ruffed grouse tail.
This ruffed grouses' tail displays one of the rarer color phases. The picture may not strike the viewer in the face with a hard left. However, it affords me to show the appreciative another thing on this earth that is pretty.
It also shows the log which it had chosen for it's drumming site. Crusty grouse hunters will see the proof. The drumming log is a spot where a male ruffed grouse flaps it's wings to attract mates. No bathrooms in crowded airports, just a nice secluded stand of aspen trees.
Stupe and I had just taken one (that's granola for "kill") and as I was gutting it (that's sportsman for "taking care of wild game") this bird drummed.
Stupe makes three long loops around where I heard the drumming and halfway through the fourth, zones to the center of said loops, points, and flushes the bird and after I get a precious wingshot, makes a good retrieve. Wingshots are always precious. Like Big Fish takes on a dry, the moments deform part of your brain and you can easily recall every single one.
My pop put guns in our hands when we were real young. By the time I was twelve and my younger brother ten, we learned just what a .357 magnum could do to a person who was on the safe end of the barrel and what it did to a sprite can that wasn't. Around that time there were shotguns too, and "don't you ever fuck around with these, either". But he still entrusted us to them, took us for long walks and car rides and showed us what the ruffeds were all about. Still I wonder why we never wore helmets through this.
This led to that and I met the DA. DA the dog person, who's dad, Richard, raised and trained gun dogs for years. On a fine September Saturday afternoon he asked me how my bird hunting has been. I told him I had killed four so far that season. He invited me to go with him the next morning and guaranteed I'd see twenty birds. I saw twenty two and was barely keen enough to notice which scenes his dog acted in. Will you spell s-o-l-d for me, people? Shortly after the Da and I had two dogs of our own. She conveyed the idea of dog ownership. I held my ground of little resistance. One of them turned out to be just about the best out of the box bird dog a Labrador can be. Richard sees this and says to me,
"You better hunt that dog because you'll never have one that good again in your life".
So we hunt, the season is short. And only Kings hunt birds and fish salmon.