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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Gentlemen,

Learning from childhood the ethics and traditions of Grouse & Woodcock hunting we were taught to understand game management in Gods forest. The respect for Gods gifts to us as back woods mountain people was understood from an early age, we never shot more than we could eat for the meals that day, we never over hunted a Grouse or Woodcock covert, no matter how many birds our dogs found. We never shot birds rousting in trees or running on the ground. My Grandfather insisted on the dogs setting up each and every bird that was gunned.

Seldom even today do I shoot at a wild flush, for I know he is watching from above. His rules of fair chase were never violated in our family, he had learned them from his Father and Grandfather, who he respected greatly. While others hunted in different ways our family traditions never changed. GBE did a good job of introducing our upland shooting life to much of America thru his well written books, some called him stuck up, my Grandfather taught us GBE only scratch the surface of our traditional way of life. We were taught to always conserve and guard Gods gifts, never to take more than 2 birds from any Grouse covert, the same with Woodcock. My Grandfather taught that it's not how many birds you gun that is important, it's how you gun the birds that matters, always leaving the Covert intact to reproduce. He had a great deal of respect for the men and ladies in the RGS, my father joined in the early 60's himself. and I followed shortly after.

Our family is very big on developing our own Grouse and Woodcock coverts, we were taught to respect other hunters coverts and stay out of them. Today we actually have unethical people selling Grouse covert locations to Grouse hunters, that say they have no time, to develop their own covert locations. This in itself tells you a lot about the ethics of some of our modern Grouse hunters, and even more about the ethics of those selling such coveted information. Selling GPS locations is not just unethical, it borders on criminal too our family tradition. Sport hunting is an honorable way to harvest birds and game, each person should develop his own coverts, it is a major part of conservation to take the time to develop covert locations and never over hunt them.

In our family tradition we have always hunted with a companion dog or dogs, in reality the dog work is 80% of the reason we bird hunt. Taking the time to train a good dog, or have the dog train you, as the case maybe is a major part of Grouse & Woodcock hunting. Learning that the dog is the hunter and you the human are just alone to pull the trigger when needed, is definitely a learned experience. Some Grouse hunters never develop far enough to understand this part of Grouse & Woodcock hunting. Fair chase is another big part of our family tradition, if you miss a shot on a Grouse and the dog resets the bird, you only get to shoot at that follow up find, if you miss the bird in the follow up flush, the bird gets his freedom, we hunt in a different direction. Leaving the bird who has earned his freedom alone. If you have never seen a beautiful Ryman Setter Orange or Blue Belton dog drift his way down a snow covered hill side, and lock up on Grouse point, you have missed what Grouse hunting is really all about. We have owned many different breeds of gun dogs in our family, each to his own liking. My brother loves GSP dogs and has had a few incredible ones. I have owned/trained lots of different breeds of gun dogs, and keep coming back to Ryman Setters, Gordon Setters and Small Munsterlanders, each hunts in their own special way, as a companion Grouse dog, an experience each bird hunter should live to have experienced.

In our family tradition it is unethical to hunt with a gun holding more than 2 shells, even if the gun is engineered to hold more than 2 shells. My Grandfather and Father were big on SXS double guns, I am the same way, my brother because of his eye problems loves his O/U double guns, especially his Browning 28 gauge guns. Having inherited most of our families L.C. Smith double guns, I use them all, for different kinds of bird hunting each season.
We definitely do a lot of teasing about which guns should be used, all in good fun. Safety is a big part of our hunting tradition, no alcohol until after the guns are cleaned and put away, I still enforce my Fathers rules at Grouse Camp even today. There is much to learn about ethical Grouse & Woodcock hunting, these are only part of what we teach, to our family it all matters greatly.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

Pine Creek Ryman Daisy admiring one of her many many Grouse taken in the Pa mountains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Gentlemen,

My traditional Grouse hunting values and Multi's are not that far apart, however the Ruffed Grouse is not a meek weak bird, if that was the case these beautiful wild birds would have completely perished from the earth long ago.
His view of simply moving a Grouse in the winter months endangering the Grouse is simply not true, a Grouse seldom moves more than a mile away from where it was born, unless the habitat food base changes in some drastic manner.

Many people thought GBE was a stuck up sportsman and elites if you will, because he wrote about our Pa traditional upland way of life. When GBE was young he was mostly a Quail hunter, in the Uniontown area of Pa. It took him a while to understand our Pa upland shooting life, his father GBE Sr, and his Fathers Grouse hunting friends, instilled in GBE the love of Grouse hunting, especially with GBE Sr's Ryman Setter dogs. I often wonder what GBE would have thought about selling his Grouse Covert information. You can bet he would have been unhappy with the unethical businesses doing it. My narrow definition of traditional Grouse hunting did not originate with me, or just my family, it in fact was a way of life here in our Pa mountains, long before I was born. Most of our traditional way of life has to due with respect for Gods gifts to us mountain people, in our family there was a right and wrong way of doing things. I do realize if a sportsman grew up in a different environment, their views on life and hunting maybe completely different than mine. I know I am a throw back to my Grandfathers way of life, even with my modern education and training, I was very very lucky to have been raised in the manner that afford me the life style I have.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

Memories to last a life time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Multi,
I have to admit I am not fond of big hunting clubs that lease large amounts of property to keep people from hunting, especially local sportsman. Its one of the reasons Potter County has a law that helps keep land open to hunting.
If the land owner leases his land and the land is posted, the land owner must pay city school taxes on every acre of his posted land. We had some NY people lease large tracts of forest land a few years back, and tried to have the Clean & Green act declared unconstitutional, they lost at the Pa Supreme Court level, and had to pay a fortune in local taxes to the school districts were the land was located. Still it does not eliminate the problem completely, and we have more club leased land now than we ever had before. I do not mind if these clubs post the land they lease legally, I do mind when they encroach on the State Forest or State Game lands next to their leased property. I reported an incident where these club people had expanded their lease on to SGL and were telling people they could not hunt. The PGC land management crew came out and marked the bounty by GPS, clear up over the mountain and the club was very unhappy with the resulting boundaries. Mostly these clubs lease the land for Deer hunting, however they do not want other hunters moving the Deer off the leased land, by doing other hunting. What they try to do is keep people from hunting any where near the leased land, by intimidating the local hunters. Most Potter County native born people do not intimidate very readily, and most know the SGL & SFL lands pretty well. This leads to some dangerous situations in the woods, that I try very hard to avoid.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
UglyDog,

Good knowledgable post, GG & Bill Palmer were two of the most knowledgeable Grouse biologists in history.
I have to admit the cost of our hunting licenses here in Pa were a bit more than yours out west. We always purchased a license and hunted legally. Thru the years we helped with the RGS/PGC Grouse studies here in Pa. Because Grouse were so plentiful here in Pa from my Great-grandfathers era up until the late 70's our way of life revolved around Grouse & Woodcock hunting, along with Fly Fishing for trout in the summer time, we never really viewed this as wasted time. The game and birds we hunted were added to our weekly food base along with the fish we caught, and it saved a great deal of food cost money. Although habitat loss is the biggest problem with our Grouse population, our flying predator problem is a close 2nd. I do believe if we could put flying predators on the same par as other game birds, our Grouse population here in Pa would increase greatly in about 5 years, especially if the habitat was also managed correctly.

I enjoyed your post.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

Turkey on my brothers back deck here in Pa.
 
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