The first time a grouse hunter harvests a bird, he finds out how much he needs a hunting vest. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush but a bird in the hand also makes it impossible to shoot on the next flush. A vest with a game pouch is the only solution to carrying small game while continuing to hunt.
Tying a bird or a rabbit to one’s belt is poor solution. It snags on underbrush, makes pants bloody, and slaps the leg annoyingly. If the knot loosens or the cord breaks, the prize is lost. Small game can be jammed into the pocket of a coat but it won’t cool out in there and makes road kill look good when you empty your pocket hours later. The hunting vest is the best way to go bar none.
There is no perfect solution to the vexing problem of the wicked grouse that will only flush when a shotgun has been emptied at its departing companions. The hunting vest with loops for spare shells or big patch pockets is the fastest system for getting the next shell in hand and into the gun. Hopefully this will be before the sleeper bird flushes but more often it will be a millisecond after it gets out of range. Still, it’s worth a try.
Many grouse have been missed with the shot whizzing by their tails because the hunter was wearing a bulky or tight fitting coat, which slowed down his swing. The hunting vest, frees up the arms and torso for the sudden mobility needed when swinging the muzzle to a feathered rocket. Worse yet is when the gun stock gets hung up, when being shouldered, in a baggy coat or sweater.
A blaze orange vest helps even more by allowing companions to see each other instantly and know whether they have a safe shot in the chaotic millisecond when a grouse flushes. The hunter who wears one is well invested.