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Thursday, February 25, 2010

trail camera photos

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not very happy with each other

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get the h#$l outta here

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cold nose!

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The bucks are dropping their antlers now

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Deer hunting stories

Short passages from a season past:

I spent the entire day wandering the woods scouting for deer sign. In the afternoon I stopped where I was and lay down and napped for a couple hours.
It was so nice to actually have the time, the freedom, to sleep till I wok in the woods. The funny thing is when I wok and stood up and looked around I happened to look where I lay. There the leaves were pressed flat and looked exactly like a deer bed.

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Everyone was lucky the first day of bow season. The day was crisp and clear. One of the only cool days in a run of unseasonably hot weather.It was, as the goes, a picture perfect morning. The sun broke thru the woods in bright shafts like spotlights thru the shadow. About a hundred yards out I caught a flick of a tail and then some minutes later legs, as a deer appeared then disappeared in shadow.

Then an ear twitched, another deer. It was an old doe her two yearlings crossing about seventy five yards in front of me. The left and then came running back spooked. They regrouped about fifty yards out and headed out over the hill only to snort and run back past me. Some minutes later a bow hunter came walking from that direction, giving up after spooking them.
At midday I napped in my truck, the seat tilted back and all the windows down. I heard a small sound and opened my eyes to a button buck feeding not ten feet away. I could have harvested him easily as he several times turned completely away and I had my crossbow lying on the seat beside me. Eventually an older couple looking lost drove down the lane and the spell was broken.
I headed out with high hopes only to discover someone standing in the filed in front of my stand located smoking. The next spot found some guy hunting off the ground. I headed home used to seeing no one, seeing three people in a day hunting was just too much.

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The highlight of my first day going the big woods in Jackson was the chorus of a pack of coyotes which sang repeatedly from predawn thru midmorning. Their eerie cries, lend a special quality of wildness to any hunt.Another mid day nap in the woods. I'm becoming quite fond of these siestas. Not even the hint of deer today as the mercury hit eighty six.The next
day I spotted a raccoonmidmorning, odd since I usually spy these nocturnal animals only right at dark.

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The light was simply incredible this morning. I sat overlooking a small hollow and the woods on the facing side was backlit with that wonderful soft glowing light of morning, here and there pierced with shafts of bright light bursting thru. The little scene was as gorgeous as anything I've seen, even in the mountains. Saw two deer in the distance, good hunt day.Evening came and I managed to shoot a limb instead of the big Doe I was aiming at. She ran one way, the Doe following her froze and the two being her ran the other way. I managed to cock and reload the crossbow without getting busted. I'll never hunt low again. I would have never gotten away with that if I had been ten feet off the ground instead of twenty. Harvested a smallish Doe with a good clean shot, she was down in seconds, felt well about that.I saw wild turkey, coyote, nuthatch, raccoon, chickadee, piliated woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, ten deer, a vulture, blue jay, squirrel, crow, chipmunk, and tufted titmouse. I remember thinking as I climbed down out of tree it would have been a wonderful day a field even without harvesting a deer. Things just seem to all fall into place someday, it’s kind of nice.

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Hunting again. The weather was perfect a bit over sixty during the day. Cool at night. Leaves just starting to turn. Simply the kind of weather that makes you glad to be alive.
The highlight of the trip was probably getting to share a campfire with my father again. We really hadn't gotten a chance to do that the last few years. It's getting to the point in both our lives where that is important. Although it’s never spoken you can't help but think of all the campfires we've shared and now if each is almost the last.

I didn't really see a lot of game. I did watch four does for about half an hour. They were about sixty yards away and had no idea anyone was around.The deer showed a pecking order of sorts. When one Doe would get too close to another she would kick out with her front leg. Or just rise up and threaten to do so and send the other scurrying back a few feet.


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Tonight as I was driving along I became aware of the sky putting on a show. A dark front had created a black wall halfway across the sky blocking out the stars. Above this wall the moon shown so brightly that looking at its crescent with my dark adjusted pupils almost hurt. Above that a planet shown brightly. Below the wall everything was black. But what struck me was the edge, the dividing line between the dark wall and the starry sky. It had shown as bright as the moon all along its length from horizon to horizon. A bright line cutting the night sky in half. I find that in fall and winter I seem drawn to the night sky. I love to steal away to some dark place, bundled up in too much clothes where you can see the band of the Milky Way stretching across the night.For years, on hunting trips, I've watched the late night sky before it brightens at dawn for a falling star finding one I've always taken as a sign of good luck on hunt. A sign also that all is still well out there in spite of us. That the natural world has survived another year. I find myself every year leaning on the truck hood in the predawn maintaining at least this ritual watch.


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Today I saw a red tail on a wire in a cold rain. From a distance I felt sorry for what I imagined to be a soggy cold miserable bird.
As I got closer, I found the great hawk to be alert and staring fiercely out over a small field. At this closer distance the hawk reminded me of some warrior Indian, proud and unafraid. What struck me was tat the Hawk no longer seemed "stuck out in the rain", but was simply a part of its world. It didn't suffer for being out in the rain. For the hawk what else was there?


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It's now the second day of a three day hunt in the first week of November. I'm stretched out by the fire, its still, an amazing fifty degrees and superb camping weather. I've seen one real nice buck. A ten pointer with only about a sixteen inch spread but a very massive heavy rack. He fed up to within about twenty yards of me but no shot presented itself.Tonight a deer came in and dark. I think to my grunt call. It walked up directly behind the tree and stood around for half an hour, again no shot.

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Today a midday Roger and I drove over to his buddy’s cabin. Wow, big porch with tree trunks as columns, overlooking a field sloping down to big woods golden with falling leaves. The place is simply gorgeous. My uncle Roger killed a nice buck here three days ago.
So far, this trip I've seen a possum, deer, vulture, squirrel, chipmunk,
Gold crowned Kinglet, crow, woodcock, downy woodpecker, blue jay, nuthatch, and three shooting stars. Lots of color still in the woods, with the warm weather most leaves have yet to fall.This morning was a fine hunt. A large fox squirrel came within ten feet, round as a butterball in his winter coat. Big as a cat as the saying goes. For a large measure of the morning the woods was alive with small birds.
A kinglet landed within five feet of me, a tiny ball of feathers. A nuthatch found something and spent five minutes on a limb beating open his treasure. Chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers filled the trees.
A doe snuck up to ten yards or so but happened upon where, in the darkness, I had overshot the tree coming in and spooked away at my scent. Sometime later two old gobblers, silent and spooky, stole over the ridge while leaves fell like rain.It was a very good hunt.

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On this evening the woods was so loud because of the fallen leaves that a squirrel sounded like an elk. I heard turkeys call from the ridge top and a buck grunt three times in succession like he was chasing a Doe. There were lots of squirrels, gray and fox, plus the usual assortment of winter flocking birds, chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatches.
Late, almost at dark, a large bodied deer, walking steadily like bucks, sometime do in the rut, crossed about seventy yards from me. The funny thing is he walked right under the tree I usually hunt out of on this ridge.

I was in the stand this morning and a grouse flew into a tree about fifty fees away. He was about thirty five feet up and sat for ten minutes or so surveying the woods. Then he half flew, half hopped to a nearby branch and seemed to be feeding. On what I couldn't tell but wild grape I imagine, there’s lots of it here.
Then he hopped to another branch and slowly turned round and round and round. He stopped for a second then repeated, just turning round and round. Looking out thru the woods before flying off.

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Today the wind howled in the deer woods. I thought about getting down and moving my stand. It was located in a saddle on a ridge and the wind was pounding me.
Lots of bird life in the woods today. A couple brown crepers spent the better part of an hour combing the crevices in the bark of surrounding trees, once spending ten minutes or so going over a small tree about ten feet from me. Small birds I think were kinglets and titmice flit thru the treetops.
About forty five minutes before dark the wind laid and the woods came alive with scurrying chipmunks and squirrels. The I heard some underbrush snap and a deer stepped into view.It was an extremely large doe feeding up the hill towards me. When she got within about twenty five yards she could see me against the skyline as she was directly downhill.She would put her head down as to the feed then jerk it upwards trying to catch me moving. She then turned sideways like she was getting ready to leave and I made a good shot and she went down under a hundred yards from the tree, a good humane kill. It took Rober and me about an hour to track her by flashlight. When we found her I was again struck by her size she was fully the size of most shooter bucks. Roger said he guessed her about one seventy, an old mature doe.
I was pleased with her and personally regard her as fine a trophy as a lot of the bucks I have taken. We had a nice fire, no rain or bad weather and a fine deer. Good hunt.
This trip I saw a Red fox, gray squirrels, crow, vulture, woodcock, grouse, brown creeper, wren, piliated woodpecker, tufted titmouse, kinglet, blue jay, sparrows and white-tailed deer, no fox squirrels, though I say several from the same tree a week ago.
I seemed less restless and hunted better this week than last. Maybe that's way the forest Gods saw fit to reward me. I think time spent in the woods just walking helped my deer hunting just by calming me down.

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How different the woods seem on a winter evening. The orange sun low in the sky peeking thru the ominous winter clouds.
The squirrels come out at dusk to rummage for a few minutes among the fallen leaves. They seem to adopt some sort of bunker mentality in weather like this. Just hunkered down waiting the weather out.The woods floor still has the newer look of fallen leaves and not the pressed and soggy look of late winter and I half expect some buck to walk out of the shadows at twilight but one never comes.

Wild turkeys and does in the snow

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Friday, February 19, 2010

snow does

Some whitetail does in foot deep snow

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Googly

The googly is my favorite fly for smallmouth bass in the rivers near my home. The googly has the double advantage of being deadly on smallies and simple to tie.

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Here's my recipe for tying the googly-

First you tie in a tail of fox or squirrel and a peice of tinsel.


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then you wrap the tinsel forward till it covers about 60% of the hook shank and tie it in.

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Next tie in wings from a saddle,I like grizzly but in truth use whatever I have left over from tying dries.

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Then you take some deer hair and loop the thread over it twice. As you pull the thread taut you release the hair with your fingers letting it flare and spin around the hook shank.

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Repeat tying in bunches of deer hair till you fill up the hook shank completely.

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Tye off the thread and trim the deer hair.

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epoxy on your eyes and your done.

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