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This morning at work I was talking to my co-worker and we heard a large thud against one of the shuttered windows.  We have a lot of windows at work, which means that it’s not uncommon to have birds flying into them, mostly small song birds.  Today’s thud was too loud for a song bird.  When I looked out, I saw a grouse lying on the ground, gasping and fanning its tail feathers.  I watched the grouse, hoping it would recover from its accident.  Often, if a bird doesn’t hit too hard and we leave it alone, it will sit with feathers puffed, breathing through its mouth, waiting through the shock.

It was soon obvious that the grouse was not going to recover.  Within minutes, it had stopped breathing.  I peeked through the window several times to be sure, each time hoping it would spring back to life.  When it became apparent that Death had indeed taken the grouse, I became an opportunist, thinking that the grouse would make for a good dinner.  I felt only slightly guilty about this because my husband is a hunter and we have salvaged fresh road kill for food before.  I could see where our primitive ancestors may have started out as scavengers, rather than hunters.

I called my husband to see if he wanted the grouse and he informed me of the protocol for dealing with animals that are typically hunted, but die accidentally.  You see, it’s not a simple matter of bringing the animal home.  You have to talk to a conservation officer and get permission because if you are caught transporting “game” without a tag or license, you are in violation of The Law.  Did you know that conservation officers are notoriously difficult to get ahold of?  Between Hubby and me, we’ve made several phone calls and left several messages in order to find a conservation officer and we still haven’t gotten a return phone call from said official.  Until we get permission to bring the grouse home, it will be sitting in a plastic bag in the small refrigerator at work.

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