Never Say Never

I did something today that I said I'd never do. I accompanied my husband on a hunt. It was a first for Milton and me.

Hunter's been gun-training Milton for the past few weeks by firing blanks in the house just before giving him a big bowl of food. As soon as little Milton started dancing when he saw the shotgun come out, we knew he was ready for his first hunt.

Hunter decided to start us both with something simple: Spruce Grouse a.k.a. the tundra chicken.

We drove up the street and found a flock of them flying beside the road. We watched them land, parked the truck and made our way through the tundra to where they were perched.

It was an easy hunt. All over in a matter of minutes. As I stood at the top of a hill silently apologizing to the birds in my husband's cross-hairs, Milton danced. These birds don't exactly fly away when one of them is being, um, brought home. They stay perfectly still. That made Hunter's job of, bringing them home, pretty easy as far as I was concerned. It was later explained to me that the correct term for offing an animal is to "bring it home" rather than "kill it."

Ten minutes into our new adventure, we had dinner and Milton had a new toy: a grouse wing tied to a small, bristly scrub brush. Apparently this makes dogs want to fetch birds and not chew on them. You won't find that at Petco.

Tonight, my husband is making grilled Spruce Grouse with a lovely wine sauce. His express warning: "Chew softly, you might break a tooth on a piece of shot and that's just no fun to have fixed." Great advice from my dentist husband.

My friend Hoot explaned to me last night that there's room for all God's creatures...right next to the mashed potatoes.