PINE RIVER, MINN.
“There,” Ted Lundrigan said, freezing in his tracks as he spotted his old German shorthair, Butch, locked on point just down the trail.
Instantly two ruffed grouse exploded in the thick woods, offering barely a glimpse of whirring feathers, but a third bird banked back toward Lundrigan and his son, Max. Each shouldered and swung his shotgun instinctively, and the elder Lundrigan squeezed the trigger once.
“Nice shot!” Max shouted as the bird tumbled to the forest floor.
“First bird of the year,” said Dad, admiring the young grouse in his hand.
• • •
Ted Lundrigan takes his grouse hunting seriously.
So he was irritated when, during a hunt a few years ago, a friend — “he’s what we call a keep-in-touch guy” — kept texting and checking messages on his cellphone with one hand while toting his shotgun in the other.
“A grouse flushes, he drops the phone, snaps a shot and hits the grouse,” Lundrigan said. “He’s not paying attention to what’s going on around him, and now he’s been rewarded for his behavior.”
It was too much for Lundrigan, 65, an avid ruffed grouse hunter, attorney and author of three hunting books who lives in Pine River, Minn., where he grew up.
“I said, ‘Let me see that phone.’ He handed it to me, I tossed it in the air and shot it,” he said with a chuckle.
“He said, ‘You shot my phone!’
“I said, Yeah, I did. There are no cellphones in the grouse woods.’ ”
The man remains a good friend, “but he won’t hand me his cellphone anymore,” Lundrigan said.
• • •
For 40 years, ruffed grouse hunting has been a passion for Lundrigan. But it wasn’t love at first sight.
“As a boy, I rode around in a Jeep with my dad and brother and we shot grouse by the side of the road — that’s what everyone did. I didn’t really hunt them.”
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