Often enough each October, Maine’s upland-bird hunting offers woodland wanderers a magical experience that may include agreeable temperatures, snapping dry air and cerulean skies splotched with fleecy white clouds. Nature’s touches prove really enticing up north, where lighter development means more open land for hunting grouse and woodcock.

These upland birds often live in tame woods with pioneer plants, an early forest stage before pine, oak and maple overtake shrubs and ground plants, but for now, hunters can see ancient stonewalls and cellar holes around abandoned farms, evidence shouting to anyone listening that farmers didn’t quit the land many decades ago.

In degenerating fields, astute observers notice thickets of alders, poplars and rubus bushes and quaint old orchards — once the pride of a farm family. This all creates perfect cover and forage for grouse, deer, squirrels and even humans, particularly the apples. To a sensitive soul, this fruit offers a testimonial to broken dreams from long ago.

Clear-cuts often reach back longer into rural history than overgrown fields do. After trees matured enough to log for lumber, new shrubs and whip saplings of mostly poplar, birch and maple crowd stumps that foresters had left to rot. But still, remnants of stonewalls, cellar holes, rusted tools and broken pots show us that another generation lived there in the distant past.

I grew up on a state highway with primary forests in every direction, but a half-mile from my home, a narrow gravel road ran south from the main highway before snaking for miles across gently rolling farm fields that had grown into classic upland-bird coverts.

This enchanting country looked like scenes from William Schaldach oil paintings, so alluring that a grown man making a first visit to Maine could pine for this landscape before leaving it — just as if he were a native with a lifelong commitment.

In my preteens and teens, my father and I hunted these bird covers every October and shot grouse, but woodcock held so tightly when predators neared that we seldom spotted them. It took a trained bird dog to push them into the air, and all we owned was a long-legged rabbit hound.

In my early adulthood, I met an avid grouse-and-woodcock hunter from East Pittston, Stan Foye, a school teacher. He knew the Schaldach-like road and told me that it produced excellent woodcock shooting over bird dogs — a lesson. If we look, simple treasures lie under our feet.

In my mid-20s, I bought a chocolate Lab for bird hunting and received a jarring surprise. A hunter with a dog in this perfect bird country could find woodcock galore, world-class hunting for these little 6- to 8-ounce birds.

That year, a scarcity of nutritious winter food followed by a wet June destroyed grouse production. The population hit an all-time low, but woodcock kept the good times rolling for upland shooters.

Two years later, I bought a second bird dog, an orange-Belton setter. Yes, “world-class” was an apt description of central Maine hunting then, and I thought that my upland life would continue into old age.

Foye now spends Octobers around northern Penobscot and southern Aroostook, and recently, he told me that upland hunting in northern Maine was similar to central and mid-coast Maine in the 1970s. He swears that the north country offers a definitive taste of another era. I agree.

This grand old sport happens again for Maine’s upland-bird hunters acquainted with northern Maine — say around Wytopitlock (an Indian word for “place of the alders”) or around Springfield, places that refute Thomas Wolfe’s claim that folks cannot go home again. Upland hunters can.

Veteran grouse and woodcock hunters know the appeal of stepping into a cover for the first time. Folks who have read Corey Ford’s classic, upland-hunting story “The Road to Tinkham Town” wonder if each newly discovered tote road slicing into a thicket is indeed the way to Tinkham Town. Walking it to the end will give them the answer.

In Ford’s delightful short story, he wrote, “The past never changes. You leave it and go on to the present, but it is still there, waiting for you to come back….”

Maine’s upland hunters have all found narrow, abandoned woodland roads that eventually remind them no one can destroy good, solid memories.

And beginning Monday, myriad Mainers will be collecting upland-bird-hunting recollections that last long after development destroys the land — for them anyway.

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