Ninth Annual James Groseclose Memorial Pheasant Hunt

Last Saturday, we held the Ninth Annual James Groseclose Memorial Pheasant Hunt out at the Cooke Canyon Hunt Club. Jim went to his Happy Hunting Grounds during his beloved Sweet 16 just about this time in March, 2010 – right after passing two flight physical exams.

Decades ago, a very wise teacher observed that a man or woman would be as big as the number of things to which he or she attended with interest. Jim Groseclose was a very big person. He flew fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft in Vietnam, and spent eighteen months as a POW there. He became one of the few Army officers to complete Navy SEAL training. He never said much about it, but occasionally admitted having used his skills and training in private industry and in some of our government’s special needs. A certified diving instructor, he worked for a time with Jacques Cousteau’s divers on the Calypso in Mexico.

Jim was a troubleshooter, working on problems along the U.S. border with Mexico, as well as being one of Boeing’s structural engineers chasing aircraft problems to one or another locale across the globe. At the time of his passing, he had been instructing in the Flight Tech/Aviation Program at Central Washington University. Students would speak of him as unflappable, with high standards (explained very clearly and with compassion), and the best teacher they ever had.

He was a master – NRA certified – firearms instructor, always available to help people learn to safely handle handguns, shotguns or rifles. He spent time at Camp Perry and competed in most every major shooting event in the country.

Through everything and every place, he loved and trained his dogs and horses – and hunted and fished. Whenever you were around the guy, there was a sense of impending adventure.

I first met Jim Groseclose at the monthly Rodeo City Radio Club (RCRC) breakfasts. He, along with Jim Davis, were squandering remaining odd moments of their lives chasing birds with Groseclose’s amazing Labrador retrievers, and fishing. At some point in a HAM radio conversation, I received an invitation to join them. We became the James Gang.

Two weeks before Jim’s sudden death, he (J1), Jim Davis (J2) and I (J3) organized a James Gang Pheasant Adventure on some of the Cooke Canyon Hunt Club ground. We enjoyed a perfect armed walk through good pheasant cover, with his beloved Labs. Being part of that James Gang, chasing pheasants, ducks, quail and chukars with two great Labs and two true gentlemen added a richness to my life I had been missing since my days with Freebe the Wonder Dog.

After J1 left us, Jim Davis and I agreed that, as long as one of us was able, there would be a Jim Groseclose Memorial Pheasant Hunt during the NCAA Tournament at Cooke Canyon. Hunters and dogs have morphed a bit, but J2 and I have carried on.

Thus, last Saturday we assembled for our Ninth Annual. Homey Bill Boyum and his German shorthair Maisy, were again along to play. This year black Lab Blaze brought her armed Homey, Paul Jewell, and Jim Davis, J2, came armed with his camera to properly record the day. None of us had been busting cover for some months, but Bill, Maisy, Paul, Blaze and I settled into a hunting rhythm in time to find our birds. There is something magical – almost breathtaking – about watching a dog work the cover and the breeze, finding bird after bird as she was born to do. Maisy was near-perfection, Blaze performed a minor “Find the bird, Blaze!” miracle or two, and those of us carrying scatterguns did our part, as well.

The Ninth Annual James Groseclose Memorial Pheasant Hunt was a success, in the ways we set out for it to be. After bird cleaning, and thanking Alice and Doug for the great conditions they maintain at their Cooke Canyon Hunt Club, we acknowledged our leader, J1, and called it a day.

Given J1’s love of flying, his steadfast conviction to experience, training and intuition – and his unflappable nature, I thought this might be a good place to share the last of this year’s writing contest entries: Dwight “Lee” Bates’ “The Engine Quit.”

“In 2005 I flew in a Piper Tri Pacer light airplane back to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the biggest air show in the US. As we landed I said, “I smell gas.” So the next day we put in a new gas tank sump valve and thought that we fixed it.

“After 5 days we took off to return home to Ellensburg. I still smelled gas as we approached the Albert Lee Minnesota Airport. The engine suddenly quit. The pilot flying it tried everything to restart the engine. I yelled, “Switch the tanks to get the engine restarted.” The pilot switched the tanks and just above the ground the engine restarted. The pilot asked me how I knew to do that and I said, “Training. And the gas tank is still leaking,” but the pilot did not agree with me. So I said, “Let us fill the tanks tonight when we land, and measure the fuel before we take off in the morning.” This we did and found the level had dropped in one tank and you could smell gas. It had leaked overnight. So we looked for the leak and found an upholstery screw stuck in the gas line. As it rusted away it had started leaking.

“So in the mechanics shop I found some rubber hose and clamp I used the seal the leak. We had no further trouble but what a scare!”

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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