DULUTH, Minn. -- Somewhere in a tangle of chest-high cover, Meine locked up in a statuesque point. The Deutsch Drahthaar, a pointer owned by Meadow Kouffeld, was telling her that a pheasant was right under her scruffy muzzle.
"We have a point here," hollered Kouffeld, an instructor in the Ruffed Grouse Society's "Women's Intro to Wingshooting" class.
On a muggy Saturday in September, Kouffeld, of Grand Rapids, had three women from the class afield with her at the Old Vermilion Trail Hunting Preserve just north of Duluth. This pheasant hunt was the culminating event for the summer-long course taken by 24 women in the Duluth area.
"Move up closer," Kouffeld hollered.
Three hunters -- Jennifer Madole, Mary Moline and Kathleen Neustel -- moved up nearer Kouffeld. A showy rooster exploded from the cover just beyond Meine's nose and rose into the sky. Moline, 58, the hunter closest to the action, raised her shotgun as the rooster leveled out.
This was her moment. This was why she had taken this class -- to learn to shoot at birds on the wing, to become a hunter. She touched off her 20-gauge over/under. The rooster folded in flight and dropped to the ground. Nobody was more surprised than Moline herself.
"Oh ... my gosh!" Moline said.
Meine raced out to pluck the bird from the dense grass and returned it to Kouffeld, who presented it to Moline.
"Oh ... my gosh!" Moline said again.
It was as if she couldn't believe it herself.