"What's your deal?" I asked in the perfectly logical way a human
being talks to a dog.
"There's one out there," answered Scamp.
Well, I suppose the word "answered" isn't quite right. Perhaps
"indicated" is a more accurate descriptor. Because Scamp didn't
actually answer me with words. I mean, c'mon, he's a dog and is not
capable of vocal dialog.
How he indicated his answer was by flicking his eyes
ever-so-quickly in the direction of the outdoors just outside my
bedroom window. Anyone else would just see a dog looking around. But
I knew better.
"There's WHAT out there?" I asked.
"A grouse," he answered.
Now, how did Scamp specify a grouse as being the "one" thing that
was "out there?" Well, that's easy. He whined. Not just any whine,
mind you. Not an "I have to pee" whine or a "my water bowl is empty,
Dummy" sort of whine. It was definitely a grouse whine. It comes
from deep in the dog's chest and sort of rattles his windpipe when
it comes out. It starts low and breaks into a high pitch right at
the end. Owners of grouse dogs know what I'm talking about.
"Where is he?" I asked.
"He's in that little stand of poplars just below the shed, but
not as far as where the sumacs start growing," Scamp said quite
clearly by vibrating his bobbed tail while turning exactly 2.25
rotations counterclockwise on the bedroom carpet.
"How do you know he's there?" I asked.
"Saw him out the window," Scamp answered by, well, just by
looking out the window.
"I need coffee," I insisted.
Scamp allowed this. He knows how important coffee is in my life.
So off to the kitchen he went, with his nails tap dancing their
cadence down the hall to where the coffee had already self-brewed.
Gosh, I love those programmable timers on coffee machines.
I followed after the dog, although not so spryly, and poured
myself a cup. Taking that first welcomed sip, I strolled to the
window that overlooks the stand of poplar trees below the cabin and
looked out. I looked for a grouse. I saw nothing. "I see nothing," I
[to top of second column]
Scamp stood up with his forepaws on the sill and looked out the
window too. The same whine came from deep in his chest. He could see
it apparently, with his crazy dog vision. "I don't believe you," I
said. The look I got back from the dog involved an expletive that I
can't relay here. Foul-mouthed dog.
While I enjoyed my cup of
coffee, and another half-cup besides, along with some buttered toast
and a banana, that dog would not shut up about that "supposed"
grouse. To the window... whine... to my chair... whine... back to
the window... a look and another expletive... and so on. Finally, I
had had enough.
"Fine," I said. "If it'll make you shut up, I'll go. Are you
"I was born ready," Scamp boasted. I wasn't about to argue with
I went to the closet to get my little Browning 20, and that silly
springer just about tripped me five times on my way. Under my feet
constantly. "Do you mind?" I asked. Scamp apologized.
I chambered one round and slid a second in the magazine. "If you
can't kill a grouse with two shells, then you shouldn't be hunting,"
I muttered under my breath.
Then Scamp had the nerve to say, "Then maybe you shouldn't be
hunting. Because I've seen you shoot at least..."
"Enough!" I said. Lousy, smart-aleck dog.
We went outside together and started toward the poplars. Scamp
hesitated and looked back at me. "Are you ready?" he asked. I
nodded, and he went in...
[By BABE WINKELMAN]
Babe Winkelman is a nationally known
outdoorsman. For more than 25 years he has taught people to fish and
hunt. Watch his award-winning "Good Fishing" and "Outdoor Secrets"
television shows on Versus, Fox Sports, Texas Channel and many local
www.winkelman.com for air times where you live and check out
Babe Winkelman on Facebook.