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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Gentlemen,

In the Spring 2022 Project Upland Magazine, A.M. Wayment does a fine job recommending and reviewing S.T. Hammonds book, My Friend the Partridge. His assumption that this early writing by Hammond is equal to the best of the best, grouse hunting books is right on the money. In fact S.T. Hammonds book, My Friend the Partridge pre dates, Spiller, Foster, GBE and is written in a style all his own. I have a copy in my Sports Library and because of his article, I took the time to reread the classic once again. If you are a modern Grouse hunter there is much to be learned from Hammonds fine book. Hammond was truly a big time Grouse hunter in his era, and learned from actual experience, before he ever wrote his My Friend the Partridge book. If you like the fine Grouse hunting books from the best Authors, Hammonds book is one you will want to add to your Sports library. I have to admit my book had a little dust on it, some things however never go out of style, it is one of the Great Grouse classics of all time. Not a book of how too, a Classic book about the love one man had in pursuit of his favorite bird, in the early days of Grouse gunning. A.M. Wayment is absolutely correct, in his articles premise, that Hammonds book belongs in the Top 3 Classic Grouse books every written. As he says in his article, That's Top three for me. Trust me it's that good!

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
 

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My memory of ST Hammond is one of long sentences....just checked one of over 100 words.
ST is a flowery wordsmith.....I reckon, a nice example of prose of that period.

He does admit to limb-whacking ruffed grouse.....as I recall, he termed the tree-shooting an irresistable force or some such. :)

The old books are a treat tho....taken in the sprit and of the times.
However, no way Top 3, to me.....just a nice little book that helped prime the pump of those following later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Multi,

In New England in Hammonds era it was not uncommon to ground swat or tree shoot Grouse which were used to supplement food at the dinner table most all the time, many of the other great writers did this and wrote about it also.
As you say Hammond helped prime the pump for many other writers, especially Spiller & GBE. In Hammonds era he was probably the most knowledgable Grouse hunter, who actually put his experience into writing. You may want to limit Hammonds prestige because he wrote only the one book on Partridge hunting, however it was a darn good book, especially for the era that it was written in. IMO there are few writers that equal Spiller and GBE when it comes to writing about Grouse hunting.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

 

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...Multi, You may want to limit Hammonds prestige because he wrote only the one book on Partridge hunting.....
No, one book is fine....a shelf full is hardly a guarantee.

I don't believe hunger was a reason to limb swat in his case....I do believe limb-swatting was, somewhat, the accepted mindset of the times derived from the appearance of an apparently inexhaustible bounty set before folks.
Learning takes both time and decline.
Hammond noted the, at times, unconquerable ability to not resort to trigger....he was simply, too keen.
It happens, there are worse faults in a man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Multi,

Where I was raised ground swatting and tree shooting Grouse are some of the most unsportsman like conducts a man can do. Even in the era where most of these writers grew up, ground swatting and tree shooting were an accepted practice, especially in New England. Here in Pa the non sporting hunters, who needed help with their families table food, ground swatted or shot birds out of trees. In fact in my Grandfathers era, these kind of hunters were openly shunned. Shooting flying had become the sportsman type ethics, especially here in Pa. GBE who grew up in South West Pa and learned this from his father and his fathers hunting companions, then practiced what he had learned, and some people thought him stuck up, to put such things in his writing.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
 

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I don't believe I would shun a hungry man and reckon neither would have GBE.

Mr. Evans was indeed a bit of an elitist in some aspects, based upon his own words. However, with a different young man backstory than many in the Brieries, folks often failing to look deeper than the surface may have missed much in their shallow assumptions.
And after all, few of us would tic every box of the perfect man.
I suspect he bore up under such scrutiny tho and was well satisfied in a Life truly of his own design.
A rare thing in his time in the previous century and rarer still, today.

What people thought of him, to my read, was directed less by "elite" comments and most by his honesty, his thought beyond the accepted norm and his willingness to put in print a direction he saw the Life and fate of the ruffed grouse trending.
All three could easily make bird hunting folks especially, uncomfortable....with a side of jealousy.
I'll take imperfect with honesty, every time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Multi,
All good points, GBE was a product of his Pa up bringing especially when it came to his love of Ryman dogs and his hunting ethics. Pa Grouse hunters owe GBE a great deal for bring our upland shooting life to the sport reading public. GBE was a much better writer than he was a Grouse shot, for most of his life. A lot of his poor shooting was because he never had a gun that fit him properly, till much later in his Grouse hunting life. His good friend the Doc actually tried to guide GBE on proper gun fit after GBE had an exceptionally poor day shooting Pheasants at the Docs hunt club. Some bird hunters with poor ethics labeled GBE and elitist, which was absolutely untrue. He was simply a product of his Pa up bringing. However many people were jealous of him and he became very hard nosed to many of these people, because of the way they treated him. GBE's biggest asset was his incredible wife Kay, who nobody in the sporting world would ever bad mouth. Kay was a treasure in every way. A 1st class lady that my mother and my grandmother thought very highly of, Kay fed the table left overs to her prize Ryman/Old Hemlock dogs from her china dishes after dinner most evenings. A custom Kay picked up from her visits to my grandparents home, when they were invited for dinner. My wife still continues this custom even today, in our own home, on the same Lenox China dishes.

On another note, our Ryman/Old Hemlock puppy (Maggie Mae) we just lost over the Memorial weekend, is going to be replaced by the breeder. We are most grateful to the WyssFireSideSetter Kennel in WI, for this professionalism.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
Pine Creek Ryman Maggie Mae, asleep on our game room couch, in my memory forever.
 

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... GBE was a much better writer than he was a Grouse shot, for most of his life. A lot of his poor shooting was because he never had a gun that fit him properly, till much later in his Grouse hunting life. ....
I suspect it was problematic, for a goodly number of years, to ruffed grouse hunt and hit with a 7 3/4# or so, 28" M-F scattergun...years which saw the best of his dogs, the grouse and of GBE himself.
But, he danced with his chosen partner rather than switch up nilly-willy to each newer and prettier lass that entered the room.
There is yet another Evans lesson there perhaps.
Indeed tho, age would no doubt have allowed another gun to appeal, as did some eventual choke work, had Norris not been Santa.
Being too fixed seems as unwise as being fickle.

I would never say "poor shooting" to describe the man, as being there and finding success enough to be satisfied is...good shooting, to me.
We all have ways to measure ourselves, David.....the problem arises, again to me, when measures become comparisons, brag or ways to rank.
Leave that stuff to the clay shooters.
 

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I would never say "poor shooting" to describe the man, as being there and finding success enough to be satisfied is...good shooting, to me.
We all have ways to measure ourselves, David.....the problem arises, again to me, when measures become comparisons, brag or ways to rank.
Leave that stuff to the clay shooters.
QFE.

I appreciate that thought. My dog and I didn’t fill the bag but once last year, but we sure had a great time getting a rooster or a grouse here and there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Gentlemen,

Filling the bag limit has nothing to due with whether a sportsman is a poor Grouse shot or not, I give GBE a lot of credit for the Grouse hunting he did, with guns that really did not fit him. He did become a better Grouse shot later in life, with a gun that finally fit him correctly. This was not meant as a comparison in any way, just a fact that happened to a great Grouse hunter. George Ryman on the other hand was one of the best Grouse gunners who ever lived. These 2 men really did not see eye to eye on many things, including the breeding of Ryman Setter Grouse dogs. Both men were really fantastic sportsman from different eras, I felt honored to be friends with George Ryman, and although GBE sold my Ryman Blue Heather female Grouse dog to Walt Lesser, for him to start his kennel with, we remained friendly all the rest of GBE's life. No man is perfect by any means, it took me a while to forgive him, Kay made sure everything worked out, she was one of my favorite people, and I treasured her friendship greatly. In fact GBE offered me one of his old Hemlock pups out of Blue Heather as a way of making things right. Kay told me later I should have taken the pup, it was a beauty and became a very talented Grouse dog. I willingly admit I made a mistake in not doing so.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

There is nothing like the magic of a Ryman Setter Grouse Dog, especially as puppies.


Pine Creek Ryman Daisy, the ultimate Ryman Grouse Dog, receiving thanks for providing a couple Grouse for dinner, from the lady who owns the Grouse Covert where they were taken.
 

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Evans worked on the fit of the Fox so I suspect that relative to sawdust on the floor, it and the Purdey both saw his attentions.....can't quite buy poor fit to the degree you intend, for most of the shooting Life of the Fox, David.

The parameters other than wood tho would have indeed made the Brit a bit easier to bring to bear....however, Evans deciding to set the front bead on a ramp might have made the Purdey heirs more than a little woozy.
Having seen the result, it is an interesting personalization.:)

Stories, it appears, abound re men, women and dogs.
Some, for example, say the true Ryman never made it beyond Lewisburg and the Mrs.......while others sought to make marketing hay from a name and genetics long gone, as best they could.
The truth is probably impossible to know.....hardly important either, since good setters of various dual backgrounds and breedings are out and about for those who love dem dogs.
At this point, Ryman is really just a name that elicits a feeling and is a history that brokered but one upland tradition.

Have fun and make the days count this autumn with your new pup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Multi,
No doubt the Ryman blood line and its genetics have been watered down by some breeders not really understanding how George Ryman developed and used his blood line. Nobody was as talented as George Ryman when it came to out closing his main family line. However there are some kennels that still have the true Ryman Setter Genetics/blood line. Walt Lesser started his fine kennel in WVa with Ryman's Blue Heather, one of the best Ryman female dogs ever born, and she threw great puppies for both GBE at Old Hemlock and Walt Lesser. WyssFireSideSetters also has some incredible Ryman dogs, some of their dogs also come from GBE's Old Hemlock breeding of Ryman's Blue Heather. There are a couple other kennels also, like October Setters who were lucky enough to acquire a female and male dog right from Ryman's main family breed line. The genetics in these dogs is so strong, the it repeats itself, when using the correct Ryman Setter dogs. Unfortunately there are many breeders selling large/soft Ryman style dogs that were bred by Georges wife and her new husband, after Georges passing. These dogs are her idea and are not what George intended for part of his breed line. These dogs are nice house dogs with great soft personality and very little hunting drive. When choosing a Ryman Setter dog in these modern times, a purchaser has to know a lot about the breed line he is purchasing from, and IMO the dogs must be Grouse hunt tested, prior to any breeding so that the puppies being produced are proven throw backs, to the original Ryman Setter genetics. Both Walt Lesser and Mike at Fire Side Setters have done a remarkable job keeping the original Ryman Genetics alive. Choose wisely when purchasing a Ryman Setter Grouse Dog.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

Even with the correct knowledge and planning, a fluke can happen. Pine Creek Ryman Maggie Mae asleep at my feet forever. Maggie gave me a reason to heal up, after my open heart surgery, loosing my constant companion has devastated me personally. Mike is giving me a new Ryman puppy some time this fall, nothing however will ever replace my beautiful Maggie Mae.
 

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For reading pleasure I will take Spiller. I especially like his comments on dogs.

I enjoyed My Health Is Better In November— Havilah Babcock. Quail hunting stories.

George Bird Evans really gets into it and requires some discipline to get the most out of his writings. GBE did a fine job editing The Best of Nash Buckingham—one of my favorites.

I don’t know anything about Ryman setters, but my first bird dogs were English Setters. They can be beautiful dogs.

George Bird Evans traveling with Kay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Chucka,

Thanks for posting some of Kays old videos, always good to hear George and Kays voices. Real nice somebody posted the videos on YouTube. I wonder if they got permission. I was lucky enough to have Kay give me copies of a lot of their hunting videos, including the one they did for WVU and the Museum. I enjoyed sitting and watching the videos you posted thanks much.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
 

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Chucka,

Thanks for posting some of Kays old videos, always good to hear George and Kays voices. Real nice somebody posted the videos on YouTube. I wonder if they got permission. I was lucky enough to have Kay give me copies of a lot of their hunting videos, including the one they did for WVU and the Museum. I enjoyed sitting and watching the videos you posted thanks much.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
You are most welcome. I thought I was posting one that I watched a long time ago which included a discussion of shotguns between GBE and Dr. Norris. If I remember correctly Dr. Norris gave him a shotgun? Don’t hold me to that as it has been a long time since I have seen that. When I get time I may try to find that video as I would like to watch it again. I love watching those dogs and remembering what grouse hunting was like then.
 

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Might be a bit on the side of topic, but every time I see the name grouse I'm getting engaged. I've grown up at the countryside in Norway Scandinavia, and I was only 6years when I first started to join my father hunting grouse in our highlands aorund us. Very very many fine memories... At the age of 13 I shot my first grouse, and I remember the whole situation as it was yesterday althoug it's 35 years ago this very atumn. :) Yesterday my 15year old son got he's hunting exam, and I'm really looking forward to bring him along to take part of this magical event that grousehunting are.
Mountain Highland Slope Wood Bedrock
Sky Mountain Plant Hat Tree
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Cloud Sky Mountain Blue Tent
Sky Cloud Atmosphere Slope Mountain
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For reading pleasure I will take Spiller. I especially like his comments on dogs.

I enjoyed My Health Is Better In November— Havilah Babcock. Quail hunting stories.

George Bird Evans really gets into it and requires some discipline to get the most out of his writings. GBE did a fine job editing The Best of Nash Buckingham—one of my favorites.

I don’t know anything about Ryman setters, but my first bird dogs were English Setters. They can be beautiful dogs.

George Bird Evans traveling with Kay.
I especially enjoyed the first part of the video concerning pheasant hunting in NJ. I grew up not far from that part of NJ. The 1950s were the golden years of pheasant hunting in NJ. I was too young to hunt then. I started to hunt in the 60s. There were still a lot of wild pheasants then and into the 70s, but then the population started downhill. Now there are only a couple very small pockets of wild birds left in NJ. Also probably that countryside GBE was hunting is now all housing developments, corporate office complexes and shopping centers which sadly has happened to much of the previous great pheasant habitat in NJ.
 
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