A couple of months later found me high on a ridge along the borderline separating Chelan and Okanogan counties; an area loaded with what turned out to be remarkably stupid blue grouse. They don’t call these big hooters “fool hens” for nothing.

I had tossed the cased 20-gauge behind my truck seat next to the Beretta and my ’06 rifle. This was opening weekend of the deer season and it was new country, so I spent most of the afternoon cruising the Forest Service roads looking for a camping spot. Pulling off to follow an old beater road a short distance, out ahead of me appeared this rather hefty grouse.

Here’s how dumb these birds can be. Instead of taking flight, this goober kept trotting down the dusty track while I got out of the truck, pulled out the 20-gauge, stuck in a couple of factory No. 6s and started following him. Here, I said to myself, is dinner!

By the time this bonehead figured out something was amiss it was too late. One shot later and he was field dressed and bagged inside of the cooler, and I went about my business.