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My encounter with North Woods Law and the talking partridge


My encounter with North Woods Law and the talking partridge

When you watch North Woods Law filmed in New Hampshire, believe what you see. It is quite real, and these Game Wardens are called upon to do everything. Living in the North Country, my wife, Linda, and I encounter them quite often, and one meeting was quite bizarre.

We were hunting for partridge on a logging road a few years ago and a guy in a pickup truck stopped and told us there was a partridge just off the road and quite close to us. We followed him, and he pointed it out, sitting in a clearing about 20 yards off the road.

He wondered why I wasn't shooting it because they were in season - I was licensed - and we were in a legal shooting location. I hesitated because I knew a camp was a distance beyond the bird. That's when it happened.

Partridge that flew through my porch screen. Released unharmed.

The three of us heard a disembodied voice from the woods - "Don't shoot the bird!" Out of the woods walk two Game Wardens who had been hidden behind some low brush. The bird was a stuffed ruffed grouse (partridge), and they had set it out to catch hunters in trucks shooting birds from the vehicle.

They obviously didn't want their decoy messed up by my shotgun blast. We all got a good laugh out of it. These guys are under-manned, patrol a huge area, and are called on to perform many duties. This was just one of them.

The number of wardens covering the State of New Hampshire is far too small - their territories are far too large - and with the surge in the number of all-terrain vehicles in the northern part of the state, their focus on protecting the natural resources of the woodlands has lessened.

Instead of patrolling for fish and game violators, this hard-working group may be responding to an irate citizen with an ATV tearing up the land - a lost or injured, unprepared hiker - or searching for the body of a careless kayaker. It isn't fair to the Wardens or the law-abiding individuals that live or spend time in the northern woodlands.

I walked the same logging road several days ago and found a lot of grouse feathers strewn by the side of the road - probable evidence of an out-of-season partridge kill by a lawbreaker. The lawless may have taken advantage of the current Game Warden situation, and I am sure it is happening in other Northeast states. We may all pay a price for it.


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