ooking back, I think the grouse simply got fed up with the ruckus. Tim Winslow’s Brittany spaniel, Tober, had trailed the bird up the hill and across the slope, with me on her heels, shouldering through alder saplings and spruce limbs soggy with snow. “Get to the dog!” my Maine guide hollered, which I was trying to do when I wasn’t pulling myself out of shin-deep mud mucked up with moose tracks. I followed the orange-flecked bird dog through the woods, the sky spitting sleet, my left foot slipping on moss, my right foot tangled in blowdowns, and Winslow now yelling: “On the log! He’s running on the log!” And that’s when the bird had had enough of the shattered peace in this stretch of the 4-million-acre North Maine Woods. It pulled up short at the end of a log, glanced back as I swung the shotgun to my shoulder, and chuckled—I swear—like the Road Runner duping Wile E. Coyote as it launched through dark spruce and late-October birches to give me no shot at all.