"WHAT IS IT THAT CONFERS THE NOBLEST DELIGHT? What is that which swells a man's breast with great pride above which any other experience can bring him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding in the human eye has not been seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea, to a discovery of great thought-an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plough had gone over before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find a way to make the lightnings carry your messages. To be the first-that is the idea...." There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away. No one has stepped twice into the same river. But did anyone ever step twice into the same book?

The Innocents Abroad (1869)

About our Name...
The king of upland game birds, the ruffed grouse, wears the scientific name Bonasa umbellus.
     Bonasa means "like a bison," and refers to the bird's drumming mating call sounding like a thundering herd of buffalo. Umbellus describes the umbrella-like Elizabethan ruff of black feathers around the bird's neck....

John D. Taylor • Denny Burkhart Illustrations

From the Introduction


The major inspiration for this book was a desire to tread along a much older trail—that of Dr. Charles C. Norris’s Eastern Upland Shooting, first published in 1946to update things, to bring a sense of past, present and future altogether and share with readers the status of upland bird gunning in the 21st century in the states east of the Mississippi River. After all, while the lure of the West was, is, and always will be strong in American culture; it is the East where most of us live, work and spend our time, particularly our sporting time. Adventures out West call us, but remain out of reach for a great many gunners. What is in reach are the grouse and woodcock coverts; dove, quail and pheasant fields; the turkey woods closer to home.




Distinguishing the boundaries between what is East and what is the West in North America is not an adventure for the Type-A personality. Great patience is required for sifting through evidence of this being East and that being West. A million niggling questions howl like coyotes in the middle of the night at the adventurer seeking answers: What are the boundaries? Where are they? Certainly, geographical divisions exist—rivers, mountains, some sort of land feature where a foot one side means you’re standing in the East; a foot on the other, you’re in the West. If no clear geographical boundaries arise, perhaps the boundaries are cultural, say pickup truck cowboys vs. Mercedes tweedy dudes? What about vegetation—sagebrush vs. forest; or maybe critters, like buffalo vs. white-tailed deer, or prairie chickens vs. woodcock. Or maybe it’s in demographics, people densities, the West is supposed to be “wilder” than the East.

If not there, history has to have some answer…look at settlement patterns, how areas came to be, old to new. And politics, that old right coast, left coast stuff…California, the land of the fruits and the nuts!

Maybe it’s all a matter of nuance, of definition, of who says this is East and that is West.

In reality, East and West have nebulous boundaries. Both are defined by all of these things—and more.

For example, the geographical boundaries between East and West frequently depend on interpretation: A Georgian, for example, might well insist that Missouri is “out West,” while his Tennessee neighbor believes the “real West” doesn’t begin until you’ve crossed the Missouri River. Cross Big Muddy up on the northern plains, heading west on I-90 in central South Dakota, and the river seems a valid division: The eastern bank is a land of flat cornfields, soybeans and pheasants. The western bank is the Great Plains, a former shallow sea bottom, a landscape of sage green undulations rolling into the horizon. This land looks like buffalo country, it sprawls infinitely. It looks West. Yet down at the southern terminus of Big Muddy, where the river bends, cutting The Show-Me State in half, the land west of the river is not all that different from the land east of the river: Olean, Missouri, infamous home of the annual early-June Testicle Festival—where the Jaycees and local residents, as well as perplexed onlookers, come to enjoy good old-fashioned beef andpork cojone cooking—is not all that different from Brookfield, Missouri, which lies between General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing’s Linneus, Missouri home, and Walt Disney’s Marceline, Missouri home. Western Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, and certainly much of east Texas look more like East, with forests and crop fields and green grass, than the dry, brown grasslands of the West. Big Muddy here doesn’t meet the standards of an East-West boundary. (1)

So what about flora and fauna? There are no wild bison in western Pennsylvania’s coal towns, or Buffalo, New York. So how did Buffalo get its name? Honestly. Three, some say four, subspecies of bison (a.k.a. buffalo) once roamed North America: 1.) the plains buffalo’s (bison bison bison), whose range extended all the way to the western Appalachians; 2.) the woods buffalo (b. b.  athabaca), a northern race whose remnants still reside in Canada; 3.) the Eastern buffalo, (b. b.  pennsylvanicus), which roamed the Appalachians and some points east of the mountains. The eastern race inhabited Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia but were extinct by 1815. One account credits the last buffalo in the East being killed in 1799.

Whitetails would seem to be the quintessential deer of the East. Yet they aren’t, especially during the last century, when whitetail populations—with the help of man—have pushed further west. About 30 sub-species of whitetails currently inhabit North America between the edge of the Arctic Circle and where South and Central America meet. Historically, whitetails were not a big feature of the West, particularly in the Great Basin and in the deserts of the Southwest. They were present but not common on the prairies, thanks to periodic large-scale fires. Today, however, whitetails, like starlings, are everywhere, even regarded as a threat to native mule deer because the whitetails can push muleys out of their traditional habitat. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the hand of man is always quick to “help.”

Surely an Eastern bird like woodcock, or western birds like prairie chickens could help to define East vs. West? Not so. Before John Deere’s sodbuster plow broke Illinois’ rich tallgrass prairie loam in 1837, prairie chickens, like buffalo, extended across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, even western Pennsylvania. Although the birds tolerated a 60/40 percent mix of crops to native grassland habitat, as more land fell under the plow, the fate of prairie chickens was clinched. Also, the prairie chickens’ cousin, the heath hen, another pinnated grouse, filled a habitat niche on coastal plains along the Atlantic seaboard from Virginia through New England.

Woodcock breeding territory does fall mostly east of the Mississippi, yet Mississippi valley becasse heading to Louisiana wintering grounds have been found quite far west of the big river. Is a Kansas woodcock an eastern bird? The boundary grows fuzzier.

Okay, what about flora? The prairie is regarded as a Western land feature, while temperate forests are an Eastern thing, right? This all depends on whether Ohio, Illinois and Indiana are eastern or western states, because the tallgrass prairie was a prominent natural land feature in these states, as was a transition zone, a mixture of forest and prairie, between the Eastern forests, including the vast flatland oak-hickory forests west of the Appalachians in northern Illinois and Indiana and central and eastern Ohio.

Sagebrush (Artemisia) could well be deemed a truly western plant, limited as it is to the dry Plains and Great Basin. Yet the gray, hairy-leaved perennial Dusty miller (Artemesia stellariana), which, like all artemesia, including sagebrush, originally hails from Asia’s steppes, has colonized East Coast beaches. Again, nature abhors a vacuum. (2)

If messy nature cannot define East and West, can man be more precise?

History certainly can’t. Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier “safety valve” thesis—it says that without a western frontier to escape to, to conquer, to explore, the people of North America would have developed more like Europeans, than they did, as if the “ugly American” isn’t bad enough.

Turner’s frontier has mutable boundaries. In the early 1600s, the East is the Atlantic seaboard’s Roanoke Island, Virginia. It moves to Jamestown, and the coastal plain; then the piedmont and east flank of the Appalachians, during the Colonial period and Daniel Boone’s day; then the west flank; then the old Northwest Territories (the Lake states); followed by the prairies and the Rocky Mountains though the 19th century’s tumult of Manifest Destiny and its resultant subjugation of the lands, peoples and resources between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Without knowing it, map makers followed Turner’s lead, changing what represented the East as growing beyond the Appalachians in the early 1800s, to the Mississippi by mid-century, and beyond that by the late 1800s. (3)

Demographics show settlement patterns coming from both East and West coasts, not from just the East. A quick look at a modern map of North America shows just how this is so: The heaviest densities of human beings occur along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, followed by the shores of the Great Lakes. The midlands of the nation remain fairly empty. This bi-coastal development began with the first Spanish settlements in California during the 17th century, and exploded with the Gold Rush of 1849.

What of “accepted” definitions of East and West? Certainly someone has decided this is East, that West. In my Oxford American Dictionary, “East,” lying between “easel” and “Easter,” is “the eastern part” of the United States as well as that part of the world lying east of Europe—Asia and the former communist nations of the Soviet Union.

If East represents what is not West, how about West? Again my dictionary is vague. “West” slinks between “werewolf” or “-wolves,” and “westbound.” West, the dictionary says, is that point on the horizon “where the sun sets”; that part of the United States lying west of “the originally settled areas;” land west of the Mississippi, the western part of something, as well as Europe and United States in contrast to “oriental” countries. (4)

All these contradictions put the adventurer seeking East between a rock and a hard place.

Six degrees of separation…six key connections, six  people, separate Elizabeth, Queen of England from the homeless man wandering New York City. The Lakhota (Sioux) have a concept that predates this by a couple thousand years, mitakuye oyasin, literally “all my relatives.” A more useful definition is all things are connected. And that is a theme that connects various aspects of this book.

So let us make our own definition of East—yet remain connected to the rest of the world. Our East includes the states east of the Mississippi River, as well as Minnesota, which straddles the Mississippi. We’ll touch a bit on the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, New Foundland, and Prince Edward Island, as well.




A number of gunning writers have discussed their home places—in the Appalachians, in the South, in New England—but no one since Dr. Norris has looked at the East as a whole. It is long past time to do so again.

I call the East home —sometimes reluctantly. I was born and raised here, I am a product of its quiet, rural, birdy places, its forests, fields and farms; as well as its cities and suburbs, its bulging mass of people, its throbbing industrialization. The East has been my home for all but a season of my life. I know its beauty and its ugly warts.

I am a reluctant Easterner because to identify one’s self with the East often has its disadvantages, especially when headed West. For example, during my post-college cowboy/mountain man period in the summer of 1982, when I worked for a big game outfitter in northwestern Montana, being an Eastern “dude” was a definite handicap. Especially when the client relying on you to lead him from a trout fishing lake back to camp discovers that the ride to the lake was the first time you’d been over that trail, and he asks you about grizzly bears. It is also a handicap when you’re trying to gun western quail or grouse and people assume you couldn’t understand anything about the struggle over grazing rights or the Dust Bowl’s impact on the prairie; or when they labor under the supposition that you and your big, pretty setter are incapable of handling the physical rigors of the Wild West. Many Westerners seem to assume Easterners—especially quail and ruffed grouse gunners—are effete, tweedy, pipe-smoking sports who spend their time perching on stone walls, an old double draped across their lap, dog at their feet, glorying only in the past. Encountering this attitude, the nasty part of me would love to trot the hard-bitten types up and down some Appalachian Mountain grouse coverts I know, then see who wants to sit on a stone wall. My better half merely smiles and shows them I can more than keep up.

Yes, elements about a great many Eastern gunners, including myself, are rather tweedy. To be honest, I like these things. They are part of what makes gunning the Eastern uplands special, they add a unique sense of continuum to the timeless flow of gunning—a sense of maintaining traditions, if you like. I won’t, for example, trade my classic side-by-side for any plastic-stocked autoloader, no matter what the cost. My dogs will always be big, handsome creatures of substantial minds, stout hearts, classic DeCoverly lines and well-feathered, silky legs and tails. And I expect to wear my version of a necktie—a neckerchief with a slide—while gunning because I like to. Never mind that it’s quite practical, helps keep the twigs, grit and field fluff out of my shirts.

So, I am an Easterner.

My home is about 60 miles due west of what was Dr. Norris’s “Main Line” Philadelphia estate, now moldering in the consumptive shadow of megalopolis—that immense, connected collection of urbanization that spans the Atlantic coastline and piedmont from Boston, Massachusetts to Norfolk, Virginia. (The folks between Atlanta, Georgia and Miami, Florida may soon apply for admission, thus completing a very formidable wall of humanity along the Eastern seaboard.) However, for the time being, however, 320-year-old Philadelphia remains the midpoint of megalopolis.

William Penn, Philadelphia’s founder, took stock in the power of naming, christening the crown jewel of his densely-forested colony, “the city of Brotherly Love,” an amalgam of Greek. Penn regarded his colony—proffered as payment for a debt by England’s Charles II—as a “holy experiment,” and as governor and proprietor ensured that his pacifist Quaker ideals were respected in his colony by the crown. As a result, Pennsylvania had more religious freedom than most other colonies, as well as a liberal government.

By 1776, Philadelphia was the second largest English-speaking city in the world, second only to London. New York eventually surpassed Philadelphia in population (in 1800), and as New York assumed a role as the nation’s cultural, commercial and industrial center, Philadelphia’s fortunes slowly declined throughout the 19th century. Five yellow-fever epidemics between 1793 and 1820, which killed thousands but led to the construction of the nation’s first city water system, didn’t help. Yet Philadelphia enjoyed some amazing growth throughout the 19th century. Many cultural and educational innovations took place here. It also became a versatile manufacturing center, famous for high quality ships, hats, carpets, saws, locomotives and textiles. City industrial workers lived a good life, because the majority lived in homes they owned, usually within walking distance of their employer’s mill or factory. The city even hosted the World Exposition in 1876.

In 1894, a 37-foot bronze statue of Penn, sculpted by Philadelphia artist Alexander Milne Calder and cast at nearby Tacony Iron and Works, was bolted to a perch atop Philadelphia’s City Hall Tower. It was considered one of the wonders of the modern world, and by gentleman’s agreement, for a time, no one built anything higher than the bronzed Penn, so as not to obstruct the founder’s metallic view of his colony, his city. (5)




We—Nancy, her children Will and Katy, and the dogs and I—own two semi-wild acres along the bluff that overlooks the Susquehanna River, near Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is our oasis in the midst of megalopolis.

Bald eagles, once DDT victims, ride the river’s thermals above our home on occasion. One day, I saw three adult birds, white heads and tails gleaming in the sun, circling over the house. We’ve got nesting Baltimore orioles, Carolina wrens, pee-wees and indigo buntings nearby. Last winter, we counted no less than 14 cardinals in a single bushy tree near the feeder we can see from the office window.

Bobwhites call from nearby farm fields each spring —probably escaped from a frustrated gun dog trainer, because Pennsylvania hasn’t had decent bobwhite populations for more than 30 years. Our wildlife agency’s wisdom wrote quail off, claiming our winters are too cold, despite quail surviving Midwestern blizzards.

I also hear pheasants crow on warm spring mornings up over the hill, beyond the development of gargantuan, keep-up-with-the-Joneses houses on equally huge lots. Pennsylvania’s pheasants were once the gem of Eastern gunning, with million-bird harvests common in the mid-1970s, comparable to a good year in Iowa. Lancaster and York counties were the epicenter of pheasant gunning, out-of-state licenses common on the opener. In this region, pheasant openers were once as big as the pumpkin army deer opener is statewide.

Hearing a pheasant stirs something inside me because they were once my birds, the birds of my heart—before I discovered ruffed grouse, and before the wildness of York County’s farmland was yanked out by the roots. Today, all that remains of Pennsylvania’s once copious pheasant fields are the game farm birds our wildlife agency releases for gunners who want to remember. Compared to wild pheasants—the natural (albeit imported) products of the land—it’s a poor excuse for gunning. But it is what we have.

Deer live their lives in the corridor of woods that cover our river hills. One particularly large buck likes to show himself each deer season, just to keep Ray, our flintlock-shooting neighbor down over the hill, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle repairman, interested. The river’s hills were too steep to plow, too poorly soiled to grow much. Yet Washington Boro, the village just downriver from Columbia, is regionally famous for its tomatoes—something in the soil, the way sun and river create a micro climate here, I’ve been told.

Waterfowl—diving ducks, an assortment of puddlers, as well as Canada geese—nest on the river. Early on foggy spring days, our setters often surprise paired mallards from the swimming pool’s oval. In winter, squadrons of Canada and snow geese and tundra swans dominate the open water below the islands, the whoosh of wings carrying them over the house on their flights from the river to nearby fields and back. We owe the discovery of our oasis to snow geese: Four Valentine’s Days ago, we spotted a flock from the York County shore, crossed the river to see where the birds landed. On the way back, we noticed the “For Sale” sign at the bottom of the long, imposing gravel drive, and signed our lives away that spring.

Locals believe the river hills attract people who march to the beat of a different drummer. It is a back-handed compliment to be deemed a “river rat.” Yet I enjoy it. Most people who live inland, away from the river, deem river rats to be less significantly involved in “the right” social circles than those who inhabit cookie cutter developments or some upscale city townhouse apartment. But I’ve found river rats to be kind and good people, friendly, willing to lend a hand wherever they can, and especially good to their neighbors. Assemble the good traits from a cross between hillbillies and hippies, and you might approach a river rat.

We moved here three summers ago, acquiescence to schooling for children more than a desire to be a part of Lancaster County. (Don’t tell anyone in Lancaster County, but I, one of those York County hillbillies, slipped across the border one dark night when the guardians of the three bridges spanning the river between the counties weren’t looking. I don’t think they’ve discovered this mistake yet, so I’m keeping a low profile.)

Despite the tourist promotions about the bucolic Lancaster County lifestyle and how the land is mostly farmland, connected to the Pennsylvania Dutch, a collection of 19th century Anabaptist Mennonite, Amish and other German religious sects—we’ve had difficulty feeling towards the rest of Lancaster County the way we do about our oasis. Lancaster County has far more warts than beautiful features.

While it’s neat to see Amish buggies pulled by high-stepping horses set against green farm fields, and know that Lancaster’s farmland is some of the richest in the world, the world surrounding us is far too typical of megalopolis to be loved by anyone who has a strong appreciation of wild things.

Lancaster County is becoming increasingly urbanized, yet many, particularly the tourist promotion people, fail to recognize this. It has more far more strip malls, convenience stores, highways, stacked interchanges, housing developments and shopping outlets, than it does Amish farmers and bucolic countryside. Even the farms, intensively cultivated from roadside to roadside, lack character. Hayfields are cut four, sometimes five times a year. Corn and bean fields contain only sterile rows of crops, never “weedy” bird cover. One biologist, commenting on the lack of farmland wildlife habitat, stated that a crow flying over Lancaster County would have a hard time spotting enough food and cover to support a field mouse. Despite a few anomalies, like the pheasants and bobwhites I hear in the river hills, the only birds Lancaster County can really support are migratory birds like doves and waterfowl, that use the sterile fields as feeding grounds. Looking at the economics, you can’t blame farmers. They are aging, their families—in many cases, three and four generations off the farm, most with higher education and working city jobs—have broken the land lineage. So when a developer dangles the cash carrot in front of a plow jockey, usually more money than he has ever seen, it’s hard to pass this by. Still, Lancaster County farmers grow more housing developments and shopping malls than corn or dairy cattle lately. Even the Amish have begun catering to the economic power of tourism instead of living their 19th century agrarian lifestyle. Each new mass of people that follow a new development require more land, more water, more sewer lines, more recreation facilities (most, especially their children, don’t know about the outdoors), more shopping places, more roads, more of everything. Each day their numbers clog highways like platelets jamming an artery. It is a slow, lingering death, where once bucolic Lancaster County is being absorbed by Philadelphia’s suburbs, becoming one with megalopolis. Few seem up to the losing battle of keeping it at a distance.

A short canoe paddle downriver from my home are islands, part of the Susquehanna Flats—a famous waterfowl gunning spot a century ago. Each autumn, its reputation is rekindled, opening day bearing a resemblance to a Civil War re-enactment until the ducks get wise.

Nearly 20 years ago now, wildlife artist Denny Burkhart (his work graces these pages) introduced me to gunning the Susquehanna flats. I remember many exceptional river days with Denny, mallards slip-sliding into the decoys, wings cupped, orange legs reaching, our lungs blown out from calling the birds away from other decoy spreads with those Olt Big River calls. Waterfowling—especially now that I had a canoe—was one reason I wanted to live here.

For over a century, what was basically unlimited public access to the Susquehanna was a part of river life. Carry your canoe 10 yards across a pair of little-used railroad tracks, climb down the embankment, drop the decoys in and off you go. Many river dwellers maintained small boat docks and stairs leading to them across the right of way. In another example of good-things-gone-bad under megalopolis, for the last three summers the river is now largely off-limits from the Lancaster County side—if you want to remain a law-abiding citizen.

In the name of public safety, Norfolk Southern Railroad began seriously enforcing right-of-way private property rights on their Lancaster County track along the Susquehanna (nearly 50 miles of track). Essentially, they closed all but three widely-spaced public access points to the river in Lancaster County. Norfolk Southern also requested that any stairs and boat docks be removed, or these would be torn down.

The company employs what we river rats affectionately term “railroad dicks” (railroad police) to patrol the roads along the tracks in white horse-head logo-marked company SUVs. The rail cops will prosecute trespassers, even if a fellow merely steps across the rail line to reach the river.

This, the company claimed, came about as a result of a teenager who died after falling from a rope swing and striking his head on a rock in the river. The tree was on railroad property. (Can you say liability lawsuit?) Others met similar ignominious ends over the years, but nothing was done to protect us river rats from our unfortunate selves until three summers ago—which happened to be when we moved into our oasis. This time, however, the railroad was going to get tough. Considering that in 2003 casualty claims cost the railroad $51 million, while other expenses were much higher—rents of $107 million, diesel fuel bills totaling $104 million, etc. Did they have something else in mind? No one knows, yet. (6)

I love the history associated with our oasis. Our house is an 1895 farmhouse, which once belonged to the uncle of a neighbor. Years before we found it, I became fascinated with Conejohela, one of the last strongholds of the Susquehannocks, a race of native people encountered by Capt. John Smith on his initial adventure up the Chesapeake Bay and into the mouth of the Susquehanna. Smith described the Susquehannocks as a tall, fierce people, covered in bear and deer skins, whose voices sounded like they came from the bottom of a barrel. Connejohela was a palisaded settlement, erected for protection against Iroquois depredations, from whom the Susquehannocks are believed to have separated about A.D.1000. Conejohela was located along the river somewhere near our oasis, but from there the descriptions vary. Some say it was on the York County side of the Susquehanna, between Wrightsville and East Prospect. Some say it was on the Lancaster County side, near Columbia and Washington Boro. Archeologists searched for the distinct ring formed from the remaining palisades, but never found them, and it was always something of a mystery.

One morning paddling downriver with a group of 18th century re-enactors, we stopped to visit the petroglyphs carved on Indian Rock, at what was the mouth of Conestoga Creek before Safe Harbor Dam was built in the early 1900s. The 25-mile float, which included bypassing three of four lower-Susquehanna dams, was to celebrate the spirit of the 1700s, French & Indian days, as much as possible. We began at Shelley Island, in the ominous shadows of Three-Mile Island’s infamous cooling towers; and ended at a two-day 18th century encampment, held at Indian Steps Museum. The museum was erected in 1912 by an eccentric, yet far-sighted York attorney, John Vandersloot, to celebrate his fascination with native people and their influence on the area. Standing on Indian Rock, the half-way point of the journey, I felt like I had traveled back in time as we moved downriver. I admired their signs, a bird man and other creatures. Suddenly, it occurred to me that the exact location of Conejohela really didn’t matter, because I was in the midst of this ancient influence whenever I was on the river. To be so close to this energy, so close to markings modern man can’t decipher, yet they held meaning for an ancient people, was to connect with Conejohela, with the Suquehannocks, with Vandersloot, with a continuum of time and energy. In many respects, I had found an inner Conejohela.

Our home, our oasis, lies between any number of worlds accessible via that time continuum.

East is the blue-blooded Main Line world of Dr. Norris. Like Norris, I grew up with an appreciation of Pennsylvania’s once-abundant pheasant population, and experienced some Keystone quail gunning, literally within steps of the Mason-Dixon line. West is George Bird Evans’ West Virginia world of ruffed grouse, woodcock and Old Hemlock setters. Like Evans, I came to know and develop a sincere passion for ruffed grouse, woodcock and belton setters. I journey frequently to this world each autumn—to some places Evans actually hunted (with a mutual friend)—although it usually takes a few hours travel away from the piedmont reality to enter this world. North lies William Harnden Foster’s New England grouse shooting, and Col. Harold Sheldon’s tranquility. These rich, maple red and birch yellow worlds I have visited, enjoying more grouse, woodcock and waterfowl gunning. South is relatively new ground, a place I’m honored to say that I’ve recently explored a good portion of, a rich collections of Havilah Babcock and Nash Buckingham’s bobwhite world, Archibald Rutledge’s and Tom Kelly’s turkey world, as well as other dimensions of southern quail, grouse, woodcock, doves and turkeys.

We’ll explore all these worlds in this book, both physically and metaphysically, as well as some others perhaps you are not aware of. I hope that in this journey, you’ll discover that gunning the Eastern uplands is really a journey of both within and out, a journey of mind and body, traveling both forward and backward in time. And this is, I believe what makes it unique….Let’s go.




Table of Contents






Book I:

Dr. Norris, His Book & His World

Chapter 1 - The Quest For Sadie’s Man...

Chapter 2 -The Man & His Book.

Chapter 3 -Discovering Fairhill


Book II:

The Land

Chapter 1 - Quartet: Gun - Dog - Land - Time

Chapter 2- Regions

• The Coastal Plains...

• The Piedmont...

• The Appalachians...

• The Till Plains & Central Plateau...

• The Great Northwoods...

• The Rice Prairies & Mississippi Valley...

• The Eastern Prairie...


Book III:

The Dogs

Chapter 1 - Going To The Dogs

Chapter 2 - The Classic Eastern Gun Dog

Chapter 3 - The Modern Eastern Gun Dog

Chapter 4 - Darkness & Light

Book IV:

The Guns

Chapter 1- Karma...

Chapter 2 - A Quest For The Ultimate Shotgun...


Book V:

The Birds


Chapter 1 - Ritual.....

Chapter 2- Doves

Chapter 3 - Quail

Chapter 4 - Pheasants

Chapter 5 - Ruffed Grouse

Chapter 6 - Woodcock

Chapter 7 - Turkeys




Conservation Organizations