An annual pilgrimage is commonplace. To a grouse moor, it is less so. Each year I leave a small town in the heart of America to travel to Yorkshire. So dedicated am I that I begin to prepare in September for my journey the following August.
Itâ€™s pretty clear that devotion has become addiction. There are many things, the list to remain secret, which Iâ€™d abandon before that annual trip. So, one asks, if youâ€™re that dedicated, what have you learned?Â The lessons are two.
First, and without denigration to any other species, the red grouse is the most magnificent game bird to fly. Few who have spent time on the moors will debate the point. There are an insufficient number of adjectives and adverbs in the English language to define flight as you will see it from a grouse butt.
Second, shoot early. The greatest shots do. Most of hesitate, wait for a better shot, measure the lead, fear missing, fail to focus on a single bird and so on. There is a litany of causes which lead to the biggest mistake: not shooting soon enough. We get two shots into a covey in front. The skilled grouse shot takes four. Even I can figure out who is going to shoot more birds.
In 1982, Clint Eastwood starred as a pilot in a movie called â€œFirefoxâ€. It was the story of Russian scientists who developed a flight helmet which absorbed the thoughts of the pilot who wore it and caused the systems of the airplane to work from those thoughts. Think about taking off, and the plane takes off. Think of firing guns, and they fire. Mitchell Gant, as our hero was known, stole a helmet and a Russian aircraft to bring home to the good guys. Pursued by the enemy, Gant thought of shooting them down before they could get to him. His thoughts fired his rockets, the enemy aircraft were destroyed before they could fire, and safely home he flew.
So, before you go grouse shooting the next time, stop in to the shop at William Powell to power one of their electronically equipped shooting caps. It will set you back a bit, but your performance will improve substantially. Follow Clintâ€™s advice. ShootÂ â€˜em as soon as the thought comes to your mind.