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Posts Tagged ‘Squirrel hunting’

And I will try to prove that out this year.

Duck hunting has always been an endeavor that everyone thinks you need to get up hours before dawn to do. Well, in most cases that is right, but a few of us know that you don’t HAVE to be out on the marsh early. Good hunting can be had later in the day, after 99% of duck hunters have headed home to watch their football games. I’ll hit the woods and streams, thank you!

I will admit, though, that “later-in-the-day” duck hunting is slower than morning hunts, mostly. It’s perfect for this duck hunter, as I like to do other things while I’m out wandering. I have to make time to experience the trees and waters. Have a seat now and then and meditate a bit. I usually end up meditating more than hunting. But I believe this communing, which is more important to me, is what helps me be successful. I wish I could teach you how to commune with the outdoors, but that is done by every person differently, as it should be. It’s personal.

Trapper watching a fox squirrel on the muddy bank across the creek

Sunday, Trapper and I slipped into a spot along a creek that still has a log next to an elm tree I set there last year. Floods didn’t wash it away, thankfully.

This entry into the woods happened after the noon of the day, and I wasn’t expecting any action soon. Usually by then, ducks have found their refuge and will rest as much as they can before getting active again closer to sunset. But, like I said, I’m a communer. I sit and listen, and watch. And ask.

Bores my kids thoroughly. And Trapper.

But I need to make the time to watch and feel the clouds thicken to a darker shade of gray, threatening rain. See the gusts of wind touch the glassy surface of the slow stream, rippling with the skies reflection. Listen to birch and maple leaves and acorns tumble down the treetops to land on the ground, or plop into the water. I need to see the small carp that leaps from the water and splashes down with a slap, and the painted turtle that pops his head out of the water, slowly floating by, keeping an eye on Trapper and me.

And if I have done things right, and it pleases the spirits, I may be gifted with a duck or two flying by or floating in. This day, a flock of six wood ducks streaked across the stream above the treetops, leaving me with no chance of even trying to raise my gun. On alert, I listen for the sound of their wings and their return, or a splashdown in the backwaters behind us. Nothing.

We pack it in at about 6 p.m. and start walking out to the open marsh, hoping for a shot out there before heading home. I decide to check on a small pond about 100 yards to the east of the creek on our way out. And there they are. The six woodies that flew over us an hour before, most likely. Two drakes had their heads held high, looking out for trouble while the others were lazing about. Using tree trunks and high grass, my stalk was successful. I made my presence known and they got up, the drakes one behind the other and they both fell with my first shot. A hen in front of them acted like she had taken shot in her backside, so I followed through on her, spilling her on my third and final shot.

I looked at the time. 6:10 p.m. Got my limit of wood ducks in the last hour of legal shooting. It can be done. You don’t HAVE to get out there early.

We took the fox squirrel while walking into our spot along the creek, about 5 hours earlier

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Ummm, I don’t have a whole lot to say,  I guess, but please enjoy the photos I took this weekend. First up – pics from Saturday afternoons walk with my youngest at Sweet Marsh. Had to see how high the water is for this weekends duck hunting.

I wonder if there is a nice buck calling this place home. I've run across some nice tracks a couple of times in this area.

Love the deep blues and greens of fall in the marsh. See the maples in the treeline turning?

Lowest I've seen the water in the 35 years I have been shooting wood ducks back here.

Believe it or not, that blue in the sky is not "photo shopped."

It was quite a stretch for my puny camera, but these are sandhill cranes. This marsh has a breeding pair or two.

Butterfly trying to suck up the very last bits of nectar from this thistle's fading blooms.

AND – I took my boys squirrel hunting Sunday. I could get into quite a spiel I guess with my feelings about this. But I’m pretty sure you have an idea whats happening in my chest and brainbox.

He could have had a couple more, but he was a little axious. Happens.

Dryad saddle - edible in the spring when young and fresh.

One of my most favorite places on earth - a spring flowing out of a woodland hillside.

Drank some brew, also –

Not as good as last years, but still good. More Octoberfest to come now that my cold is almost gone!

Peace and take care –

Your friend –

Casey

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A Night Walk and A New Squirrel Pocket.

I don't know why I put my camera through this, but can you make out the deer?

It has been a long week, my friends, and thought that I might get some reprieve from life’s responsibilities by going for a little night walk, letting the light of the nearly full Thunder Moon and the faint luminesce of the Milky Way impart their gifts into me through the pores of my skin – if it could make it past the Deep Woods Off, that is. And I truly hope it did. I really cannot wait for the end of mosquito season, even with the knowledge that the little bloodsuckers need their time to do whatever it is they are supposed to do. They seem very out of control this year.

Critters have been scrathing at the top of this bolete.

But before I was enveloped in darkness, surrounded by the sounds of a summer night – the chirping of various things; crickets, cicadas and tree frogs – a walk under the trees was made along game trails, hoping to find mushrooms I have never found before – chantrelles and king boletes. There was no luck to be had on that front (the mushroom pictured was not a king bolete in my opinion – the stem was not bulbous), yet there is time before late fall sets in. So there is still a chance of finding a specimen or two. That is if I have a mind to concentrate on mushrooms instead of the hunting seasons fast approaching. The soon-to-be Hunting Moon brings with it squirrel season, and an early duck season. Then the deer bow season starts, followed by the rest of the duck season. Then trapping starts. In between all of this, the brown trout will be spawning, giving me a good shot at netting a larger one – my personal best only being 16-17 inches long! One of my favorite critters that Nature has devised.

I guess my pack will be stuffed to capacity real soon!

This wasn't the only clump of shagbark hickories on this hillside.

In the fading daylight, I found a real nice pocket for squirrel hunting, most of the squirrels I saw were greys. This hillside has a generous share of hickory, oak, and locust. Just a ton of mast. And some very playful chickadees! Squeaking and flitting from oak twig to oak twig, raining small acorns down on this intruder. Thank goodness their territory didn’t include the stands of shagbark hickories I found! This hillside is very easy to get to, and should be a great spot to walk my kids into during the darkness just before dawn. This makes five good pockets I can use for putting squirrels in the freezer. I should start stocking up on barbeque sauce.

A critter crossroads.

Also, though it’s too soon to tell, I may have found a decent stand for this late muzzleloader deer season. That is if I can come by a rifle this year like I did last, thanks to a very good friend. It is kind of hard to describe this spot. It seems to be a crossroads of well worn paths that come and go between features that deer visit. A field to the north, a stream to the east, a stand of cedars to bed under to the south, and mast trees all round. Looks good to me anyway, but I’ll have to keep tabs on it as the year progresses. And who’s to say I will make it out come deer season? I cannot make that promise to myself or to you. But I do have the squirrels and ducks and trout covered, so there, at least, is the making of an awesome fall already.

Until I can write again (which will be soon – I have most of next week off and plan on going trout fishing at least once) –

Take care –

Casey

P.S. The pics I have been taking lately have not turned out well, but I did get a good BEER shot this past Monday. And it is highly recommended by this beer drinker. Also, Oktoberfest will be here soon, and Sam Adams made a high quality one last year. So I’m recommending that already, too.

A guzzler, I assure you.

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