“Be Worthy of Your Game”

George and Kay Evans left many thousands of pages of writings, describing in vivid detail their lives and adventures together. On this page, we feature some of their most memorable quotes about life at Old Hemlock.





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Favorites from our Friends

These passages and quotes are favorites of friends of the Old Hemlock Foundation:

From Steve Marshall:

“There is time, and you must take it,to lay your hand on your dog’s head as you walk past him lying on the floor or on his settle, time to talk with him, to remember with him, time to please him, time you can’t buy back once he’s gone.”

Source: October Fever


From Tom Bowman:

“If a man’s life is not long enough, a dog’s is even shorter and anything you can do to make that fuller is worthwhile.”

“Much of the pleasure of shooting is what accompanies it and sharing it all with a good friend.”

“And if gunning over an intelligent handsome setter enriches my sport, certainly a hearthful of them on a winter evening or speckled faces peering out of our station wagon are things to value.”

“I want there to be woodcock forever flying over in October, and solitude, and Hunter’s Moons.  But most, I want there always to be Grouse- of all wild things, the wildest- in these endless mountains we call home.”

Source: Upland Shooting Life


From Steve Hitsman:

“Ruffed grouse dogs are bred, not born, and once born they are developed, not made.”

Source: An Affair with Grouse, “Sonnets to Six Grouse Dogs”


From LeJay Graffious:

“Be worthy of your game”

“If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one.  This is a strange statement coming from a man whose life is dedicated to shooting and gun dogs.  For me, there is almost no moment more sublime than when I pull the trigger and see a grouse fall.  Yet, as the bird is retrieved I feel a sense of remorse for taking a courageous life.  About the time I passed fifty I noticed this conflict becoming more pronounced…

“How then, can you love a bird and kill it and still feel decent?  I think the answer is, to be worthy of your game.  Which boils down to a gentleman’s agreement between you and the bird, never forgetting that it is the bird that has everything to lose.  It consists of things you feel and do, not because someone is looking or because the law says you may or must not, but because you feel that this is the honorable way to do it.”

Source: The Upland Shooting Life

“I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better.  They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death.  Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying.”

Source: Troubles with Bird Dogs